The Serpent of VeniceBook - 2014
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.
From the critics
QuotesAdd a Quote
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.
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.
When that which makes a warrior hard is met with beauty most offered tender, then he can find love.
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.
"Fine, as the tailor said to the broke and naked Knight, suit yourself." (p.86)
Age SuitabilityAdd Age Suitability
DanniOcean thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over
Sexual Content: quite bawdy
Coarse Language: much inventive cussing - hilarious, but could be offensive to some
SummaryAdd a Summary
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!