(Note: the large headings are from the book. The underlined sub-headings are ones that I've added for clarity, since a few parts of the book are harder to follow.)
In the Beginning
Aziraphale, an angel, and Crawly/Crowley, a serpent-slash-demon, are discussing the recent expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden. Aziraphale has given them (Adam and Eve) a flaming sword, and Crowley is wondering whether he did the right thing with the whole Apple thing.
Eleven Years Ago
Baby A, Baby B and the Antichrist
Hastur and Ligur
, two demons, are waiting for Crowley
to give him instructions. He's told to head to a convent hospital for the Convent of the Chattering Order
along with a newborn baby, the Antichrist
The Chattering Order of St. Beryl are a group of satanist nuns. At their hospital, two women are giving birth -- Deirdre Young (Baby A
) and Harriet Dowling (Baby B
). The nuns have been previously instructed to secretly swap out Baby B with the Antichrist, so the Dowlings can raise the Antichrist (Baby X
However, due to a mix-up (one of the nurses ends up in the wrong room and then another nurse swaps the wrong baby), the Antichrist (Baby X) is given to the Youngs to be raised as their baby. The name him Adam
The Young's Baby (Baby A) is raised by the Dowlings, and is named Warlock
Finally, the Dowling's baby (Baby B) is given up for adoption.
A few days later, the purpose fulfilled, Hastur and Ligur burn the convent to the ground.
Aziraphale and Crowley
Aziraphale is an angel and is technically supposed to be Crowley's enemy. But Aziraphale and Crowley have both been living on earth since the beginning of times and are basically friends.
They have a tacit agreement of non-interference in each other's activities. Aziraphale is supposed to do good and Crowley does evil, but they do it in a way that essentially cancels each others' activities out but they can report the good/evil stuff their doing to their higher-ups. Sometimes they work together or on each others' behalf for convenience.
Aziraphle and Crowley are concerned about the impact that the birth of the antichrist will have. They agree to jointly oversee its upbringing to steer it away from bringing about the apocalypse.
Anathema Device, Agnes Nutter and Newton Pulsifer
is a girl who learned to read by reading The Book (The Nice and Accurate Prophesies of Agnes Nutter, Witch)
. Anathema is Agnes's descendant and has the gift of prophesy as well.
There's only one prophetic work in all of human existence that consists of entirely accurate predictions, culminating in a prophesy about Armageddon (The Book
). It was published by Bilton and Scaggs in September 1655 and written by Agnes Nutter
. It didn't sell, and no one knows what happened to the copies. Only one copy remains.
is a kid who likes electronics, but isn't great with them.
The Four Horsemen
The book then introduces four characters (later identified as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse), all of whom wreak havok wherever they go.
has auburn hair, is good at machinery and is in the process of inciting civil war. "Dr." Raven Sable
has black hair, and is an author who writes diet books to encourage starvation. White/Blanc/Snowy/Chalky
is pale, was present at Chernobyl, and is busy causing an oil spill.
Finally, the fourth entity is Another
, who is always working.
Crowley and Aziraphale both (incorrectly) think Warlock is the antichrist. They shows up at the Dowling's, disguised as a nanny and gardener. Crowley teaches Warlock to be evil. Aziraphale tells Warlock not to listen to nanny and to love all living things. The later leave and reappear as two tutors.
By the time he's ten, Crowley is concerned because Warlock is too normal and doesn't seem to have any powers. On his 11th birthday, Hell will be sending over a Hellhound to guard Warlock.
On Warlock's 11th birthday, the dog doesn't show and Crowley and Aziraphale realize something is wrong and that there must have been a mix-up.
The hellhound appears, but for its real master, Adam (Antichrist). By naming it, Adam will imbue the hellhound with it's identity and its function. When Adam names it simply "Dog
", the hellhound transforms into a normal dog, it has a sudden desire to wag its tail.
The Book and The Convent Hospital Records
Crowley and Aziraphale decide to try to find the hospital records and head to the convent (not knowing it burnt down). On the way, they hit Anathema Device with their car. They help her home, but in the process Anathema realizes she has lost The Book.
Sister Mary has turned the remnants of the convent into the Tadfield Manor Conference and Training Center
. On arrival, Crowley and Aziraphale walk into a paintball team training game that the center is having. Crowley turns the paintball guns into a real guns, which wreaks havok. They find Mary and try to ask her for records, but there aren't any.
As they drive off, Crowley and Aziraphale find The Book
in the backseat of the car. Aziraphale, who collects books and especially prophetic books, recognizes it as the only copy of The Nice and Accurate Prophesies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
and starts to read.
Carmine "Red" Zuigiber / Scarlett Gets a Package
Scarlett is now a journalist going by the name Red Zuigiber
, writing for the National World Weekly. She curiously manages to arrive at war zones just before
war breaks out. She receives a package containing a sword and proceeds to massacre everyone in the room.
Anathema Meets Adam
Pepper, Brian, Wensleydale
are Adam's friends, known collectively as "Them
" around their town of Tadfield. Adam is their de-facto leader. There is someone knew in town, living at Jasmine Cottage, who is rumored to be a witch.
Adam heads over to Jasmine Cottage and finds Anathema crying. She says she's lost her book. Adam offers to help her find it. Anathema teaches him a little about the occult and the environment. After she tells him about her concern over nuclear power stations, he subconsciously causes a nuclear reactor to turn into a single lemondrop.
Meanwhile Adam reads some of her magazines and learns about stuff like UFOs, Tibet, Bigfoot, The Lost City of Atlantis, etc. (The next day, somewhere far way, a ship captain discovers the Lost City of Atlantis. )
Raven Sable Gets a Package
Sable is busy with a business to create and sell CHOW (food with no nutritional content that could never make you get fat), SNACKS (junk food), and MEALS (food with no nutritional content that makes you get fat and eventually die of malnutrition).
He gets delivered a package, containing a pair of small brass scales. With that, he books a flight to London.
All Roads Lead to Lower Tadfield
Anathema is studying her ley lines and realizes they converge on Lower Tadfield.
Meanwhile, Aziraphale, after reading The Book, calls the Youngs in Lower Tadfield.
Newton Pulsifer answers an advert in the paper to help fight the forces of darkness. It's actually a group of witchhunters. He's recruited by a man named Shadwell
as a Witchfinder Private. Their "job" is to look for witches and other weird phenomena. He hears about a town with oddly perfect weather -- Lower Tadfield -- and heads out to check it out.
Chalky Gets a Package, Death Gets a Message
A deliveryman delivers a package to someone named Chalky. It's a crown of diamonds. When "Chalky" touches it, it turns black.
Finally, the last package is not a package at all, but a message. The deliveryman gets hit by a car. As he dies, he delivers the message to Death. The message is "Come and See
The Death of Agnes Nutter
When Agnes Nutter was burned at the stake, she left behind a box and a book. The book was the copy of her book which her publisher had given her, with instructions to send it to her son, John Device.
The Witchfinder that torched her was named Thou-Shalt-Not-Commit-Adultery Pulsifer.
Newton Pulsifer Meets Anathema Device
In present day, Newton is headed toward Tadfield, but comes across a UFO. The aliens say hi, and then leave. Soon, he comes across a Tibetan man crossing the road. He swerves and ends up in a car accident in front of Adam's house. Adam sees Newt and takes him to Anathema's house for help.
Anathema has foreseen his arrival and has medical supplies ready. Anathema tells Newt that she's a witch and their meeting and his accident was all prophesied by Agnes.
Anathema explains to him how Agnes's prophesies are a little hard to decipher since often they don't have enough context to help you understand it until it's already past. She also explains that most of the prophesies relate to her family and their well-being -- Agnes wrote it as her way of taking care of them.
Anathema also mentions that the end of the world is scheduled from a few hours from now. Anathema and Newt sleep together.
A Storm is Brewing
Adam and his friends have been talking about saving the whales and the forests and ozone and whatnot. Adam starts to realize that he knows he has the power to fix all of it.
Adam then starts to contemplate that everyone is ruining the world and maybe it would be better to start all over. A storm begins brewing. His mood turns dark as he thinks about remaking the world.
In a city far away, a forest emerges from out of a place where a city once was. Elsewhere, a Kraken emerges from the water.
Aziraphale Reports to Heaven
After reading The Book, Aziraphale opens a portal to Heaven. He tells them where Adam is so they can prevent the apocalypse (ultimate battle between Heaven and Hell). Heaven is uninterested. They are confident that they will win the battle. They (Metatron
) tell Aziraphale that it's time for him to return to Heaven.
(in charge of the Witchfinder Army) then bursts into his shop looking for Newton. In the ensuing encounter, Aziraphale knocks over a candle and accidentally steps into the portal. Aziraphale disappears.
Crowley, Shadwell and the Four Horsemen Converge on Tadfield
Meanwhile, Crowley is in trouble since Hell has realized Warlock is not the Antichrist. He narrowly escapes Hastur and Ligur, and goes to Aziraphale's shop which has been ablaze from the candle. He finds The Book. In it, Aziraphale has left a note. He reads it and heads to Tadfield.
Aziraphale is now body-less and can only make contact through spiritual mediums. He uses Madam Tracy
(a fortune teller) to explain to Shadwell what is going on. Soon, Shadwell and Tracy/Aziraphale are headed to Tadfield as well.
), Black (Famine
), White (Pollution
) and Death
all reunite at a cafe. They are dressed as bikers and all have Hell's Angel's jackets on. The other bikers decide to join them. They motorcycle towards Tadfield.
Face-off at The Lower Tadfield Airbase
Around Tadfield, the storm is full-blown. The horsemen get to the airbase and mess with the equipment and weapons systems.
Adam Young heads with his friends to the Lower Tadfield Airbase as well. Before they get there, Adam stops and realizes that they will need a sword, a crown, and some scales.
Adam and his friends come across the Four Horsemen at the base. The Four Horsemen tell him that it is done and that they will bring about the apocalypse. Adam tells them that's not what he wants. The Horsemen insist he must lead them, but Adam refuses. As instructed, Adam's friends get out their own "sword" (made of sticks), "crown" (made of grass) and "scales" (made of string and twigs).
Adam explains that these Horsemen are not real, they are more like nightmares. As his friends wield their weapons, War, Famine and Pollution disappear. Once they are gone, Death leaves as well.
Meanwhile, Newt and Anathema try to shut off the equipment that the horsemen turned on. Newt notes that everything he tries to fix, breaks. So, he tries to repair it instead and it works. The machinery shuts down.
Heaven and Hell
Adam comes across Shadwell and Madam Tracy/Aziraphale. He separates Aziraphale and returns him to his body. Metatron
(voice of Heaven) shows up and Beelzebub
(representative of Hell) as well. Both Metatron and Beelzebub want the war to happen. They tell Adam that it is his destiny to start the war.
Adam thinks about his gang of friends and their rival gang (the Johnsonites
). He thinks his gang is better but ultimately even if they got rid of the Johnsonites, it would just be a matter of time before they found another enemy or turned on each other.
Adam ultimate decides he doesn't care what "is written" or what his destiny is supposed to be. He also doesn't want to rule the world, as he doesn't see a point in trying to clean up everyone's messes. Adam ultimately decides to wipe people's memories of the whole affair.
Afterwards, Aziraphale and Crowley wonder if this wasn't part of His (God's) plan all along.
Further Nice and Accurate Prophesies
Anathema has spent her whole life deciphering Agnes's prophesies and now has no more to decipher. She is sleeping and Newt is making breakfast for them when a deliveryman shows up.
There's a box that is finally being delivered (after 300 years), as instructed. It contains a book, The Further Nice and Accurate Prophesies of Agnes Nutter, Witch. Before Anathema opens it, Newt stops her, asking if she really wants to spend her whole life deciphering prophesies.
Meanwhile, Aziraphale and Crowley have resumed the status quo.
Adam is grounded for the day for running off the night before without permission. The book ends with him chasing Dog and stealing some apples from a neighbor.
See Good Omens