For those who don’t recall, Pullman is also the author of the atheistic “His Dark Materials” trilogy (written for children as an anti-Narnia), the first of which (“The Golden Compass”) was made into a movie.
Carl Olson has blogged about some of the plot off the book (even though he hasn’t read it yet):
It just came out on April 1st, which was both “April Fool’s Day” and Holy Thursday (i.e. the start of the Sacred Triduum, the high point of the Christian Year). I can’t imagine that not being a deliberate choice for a release date.
Basically, it’s a novel about how Mary had twins: the humble, good, somewhat dim-witted “Jesus”, and the cunning, not-so-good “Christ”. “Christ” conspires to have “Jesus” killed so he can start a new religion.
Before we get too worked up about it, note that it is currently ranked #44,903 in books on Amazon.com. Even the “old news” Da Vinci Code is ranked considerably higher (#7,733). And Scott Hahn’s The Lamb’s Supper beats them both (#3,865 :)). Thus, the book does not seem destined to make many waves at this point.
It seems like Pullman is trying to pull a Dan Brown and cash in with a “provocative” work that “reimagines” Christianity. I doubt he will succeed. His children’s books weren’t nearly as successful as their counterparts (Narnia and Harry Potter). He just doesn’t have the audience. Which is good news for us. But, I like to be aware of these things just in case I encounter it.