The Serpent of Venice

The Serpent of Venice

Book - 2014
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New York Times bestselling author Christopher Moore channels William Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe in this satiric Venetian gothic featuring the irresistibly mischievous Pocket of Dog Snogging, the eponymous hero of Fool

Venice, a really long time ago. Three prominent Venetians await their most loathsome and foul dinner guest, the erstwhile envoy from Britain who also happens to be a favorite of the Doge: the rascal-Fool Pocket.

This trio of cunning plotters; the merchant, Antonio; the senator, Montressor Brabantio; and the naval officer, Iago; have lured Pocket to a dark dungeon, promising a spirited evening with a rare Amontillado sherry and a fetching young noblewoman. Their invitation is, of course, bogus. The wine is drugged; the girl is nowhere in sight. These scoundrels have something far less amusing planned for the man who has consistently foiled their quest for power and wealth. But this Fool is no fool . . . and the story is only beginning.

Once again, Christopher Moore delivers a rousing literary satire, a dramedy mash-up rich with delights, including (but not limited to): foul plots, counterplots, true love, jealousy, murder, betrayal, revenge, codpieces, three mysterious locked boxes, a boatload of gold, a pound of flesh, occasional debauchery, and water (lots of water). Not to mention a cast Shakespeare himself would be proud of: Shylock; Iago; Othello; a bunch of other guys whose names end in o; a trio of comely wenches; Desdemona, Jessica, Portia; the brilliant Fool; his large sidekick, Drool; Jeff, the pet monkey; a lovesick sea serpent; and a ghost (yes, there's always a bloody ghost).

Wickedly witty and outrageously inventive, The Serpent of Venice pays cheeky homage to the Bard and illuminates the absurdity of the human condition as only Christopher Moore can.

Note: The book, too, is a veritable work of art. Rich creamy stock is enhanced by two-color printing, featuring part/chapter titles, running heads, and folios printed in red ink. The text block has blue-stained edges. The book opens to reveal two-page spread endpapers decorated with a sepia-toned antique map of Venice; an antique map of Italy graces the book's front matter, printed in red. The jacket sports a matte finish with embossed author and title type; gold foil embellishes the title and illustration detail.

Publisher: New York : William Morrow, c2014.
ISBN: 9780061779763
Characteristics: 326 pages :,map ;,24 cm.


From the critics

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Aug 24, 2017

Shylock wins! As an atheist, and a friend of Jews, I am more satisfied with Moore's ending of the stories than Shakespeare's, as great as the Bard is! Iago gets what he deserves, as does Antonio, who is a lot less sympathetic than he is in the play! Othello and Desdemona get to live, which makes me very happy! And Pocket gets to take the Christians to task for their blatant hypocrisy!

Mar 02, 2017

Didn't enjoy it. Not my taste in humor, Others may like it, but I really did not.

Sep 24, 2016

The story is a nice mix on the "The Merchant of Venice" and "Othello" both from Shakespeare. The story revolves around Pocket from Moore's "Fool". Which gives a nice element as you read from a character that you might have grown attached to. Although Pocket doesn't spend much of the book with some of the other characters from Fool. It's still enjoyable to see him progress in this story. Although the humor isn't as noteworthy from most of Moore's book, it's still there and I did find myself smiling or chuckling once or twice. Overall the story progresses well as you learn more and more about Pocket's past and how he develops through the story, the humor is still present, and there are still some quirky scenes that Moore puts in frequently throughout the story, somewhat like his other books. I rate this book 4/5.
- @QantiTB of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

Jul 02, 2015

Pure, unadulterated genius from Christopher Moore. I have read them all. Somehow he manages to make the most unlikely story line come together in the most delightful way. He is a true favorite of mine. Moore's bawdy naughtiness is only rivaled by Terry Pratchett's wit and humor. It's nice to be able to read something smart and belly laugh from the joy of it. Well that and the creative cursing!

Nov 10, 2014

An awesome piece of work. I have only the barest knowledge of the Merchant of Venice, and i loved this. It's very rude, mind you, but great. Read "Fool" first to get the full effect and understand all the references.

ECiriello Nov 05, 2014

Loved it! Now I have to go and read Fool!

Aug 24, 2014

Change your relationship with Shakespeare forever. Read this book. You will laugh from the first page to the last.

Aug 17, 2014

Absolutely excellent. This and Fool are some of Moore's top writes!

DanniOcean May 20, 2014

reviewed in the Stratford Gazette, May 2014

May 18, 2014

Didn't enjoy it as much as Fool, but still an enjoyable read. Plot was a bit scattered as Moore can be but you should know what you are getting with him by now.


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Jul 20, 2016

What love is not torment when a man knows not how to love himself? Talk not of drowning, but attaining your heart's desire by action: Put money in thy purse.

Jul 20, 2016

I actually prefer the future when it's more abstract, I think. dark. Yes, I've made friends with the dark. More than friends. I've learned to fuck the dark. We are one.

Jul 20, 2016

When that which makes a warrior hard is met with beauty most offered tender, then he can find love.

Jul 20, 2016

oh that's right, you can't wager, can you? You have nothing. "True," said I. "Yet you see a victory in what is a simple truth for all of us, is it not? We have nothing, we are nothing.

ECiriello Nov 05, 2014

"Fine, as the tailor said to the broke and naked Knight, suit yourself." (p.86)

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PickyReader Nov 12, 2014

PickyReader thinks this title is suitable for 23 years and over

DanniOcean May 20, 2014

DanniOcean thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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DanniOcean May 20, 2014

Sexual Content: quite bawdy

DanniOcean May 20, 2014

Coarse Language: much inventive cussing - hilarious, but could be offensive to some


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DanniOcean May 20, 2014

Author Christopher Moore could not have timed it better - just in time for the Stratford Festival season’s opening, his latest novel The Serpent of Venice mashes up three (or more) of Shakespeare’s most famous and gut-wrenching tragedies – into a most gut-busting hilarious chain of events. It takes a person with a great deal of hutzpah to take Othello, The Merchant of Venice and King Lear, puree them into one (fairly) believable story, make them funny, and give them all much happier endings (the villains come to some very sticky ends). But not only does Moore meld the plots, he also throws in elements from Edgar Allan Poe and not a small smattering of history in the Travels of Marco Polo. Plus there’s a wandering chorus, an amorous and homesick dragon, and a ghost - as Pocket, the title character would say, “There’s always a bloody ghost.” Now, to get the full picture, readers unfamiliar with Moore’s work may want to begin with the first novel to feature Pocket the jester, called Fool – which parodies King Lear in full (there’s a ghost in that one, too). However The Serpent of Venice is a romp for any Shakespeare fan who does not mind Moore’s habitual irreverence for his source material; in that way, he is somewhat like the Bard himself. That is not to say Moore did not do his homework – according to the author notes he was quite careful in his research and used historical events to bind the various plots together. In fact, his attention to detail makes his novels more than just cheeky fluff. However, the details to which he pays attention are those that lie between the lines, the details that may be overlooked in a casual reading of history and the Bard, the details that may make those readers of Shakespeare sit up and go, “well, THAT’S interesting…” By the way, Moore can out-bawdy the Bard, so be prepared for some truly lewd wordplay and inventive uses of the f-bomb. I would dearly love Moore’s novel adapted for the stage, but until an enterprising playwright decides to take that on, we can enjoy the narration of Euan Morton on the audiobook version as well. The Serpent of Venice currently sits at the top of my favourite books list of 2014. Enjoy!

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