Pope Dun the Incredible revives the recipe for the picaresque novel. Take a charming rogue of low estate; flavor with a menagerie of bizarre companions; put this comic hero in a dozen absurd situations; establish him as pope. Then serve as an outsize farce that makes the scandals of priests and their fondness for altar boys, to say nothing of cardinals and their fondness for confidentiality, look like copy for a slow-news day.
This novel flays just about everything in the contemporary world that begs to be flayed – politics, the media, and of course religion. The comic hero is a mix of Shakespeare’s Sir John Falstaff and an ultra porn king. Benny Good’s misadventures lead him from a humble origin as an Amish foundling through stints as a novice evangelist, overland trucker, and radio talk show host, then achieving the office that includes the perk of being addressed as Most Holy Father. Beyond that, who knows?