The Serpent of Venice

( 22 )

Overview

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 ...

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The Serpent of Venice

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Begin with a mix of wild retakes of Othello and Merchant of Venice; spice it with some light horror from Edgar Allan Poe; toss in a mysterious sea creature; and serve it up through the weird vision of Christopher Moore. This standalone sequel to Fool will delight fans of its author and indeed all those who delight in the exuberant macabre.

Publishers Weekly
01/13/2014
Moore’s mash-up of Othello and The Merchant of Venice with Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” is a standout sequel to Fool, his twisted retelling of King Lear from 2009. After a dastardly trio of Venetians (including Iago) plot to bury alive Pocket the fool for thwarting an attempt to cook up a new Crusade from which they’d hoped to profit, he is saved by what he believes is a seriously horny mermaid. He washes up in Venice’s Jewish ghetto and is rescued by Shylock’s lovably abrasive daughter, Jessica. She leaves with Pocket, hoping to elope with a Venetian gentile with whom she is in love, as he attempts to rescue his motley companions with his friend Othello’s help, and to warn the general that a plot’s afoot. Moore’s imaginative storytelling, bawdy prose, puns aplenty, as well as his creation of a violent sea creature intent on helping Fool’s cause, and Jessica’s “piratey” disguise, succeed in transforming two classical tragedies into outrageously farcical entertainment. In conjunction with the historical setting, the humor also allows Moore to skewer greed, hypocrisy, and racism—e.g., Middle Eastern wars for profit, segregation (in this instance, of the Jews)—all of which are still endemic in modern culture. (Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews
2013-11-04
Iago from Shakespeare's Othello, Antonio, the titular merchant of Venice, and Monstressor Brabantio from Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado" walk into a bar…. It's a joke but it's quite a complicated one in the latest historical farce from Moore (Sacre Bleu, 2012, etc.). In this follow-up to Fool (2009), Moore brings back Pocket of Dog Snogging, his prodigious companion, Drool, and pet monkey Jeff for another round of satirizing the Bard of Avon by way of the Marx Brothers. After trouncing King Lear, Moore has decided a mashup is in order, reconciling its multiple inspirations to a mythical Venice circa 1299. Pocket starts his new adventure poorly, having been walled into Poe's fictional prison by Brabantio, where he's reduced to talking to the Chorus (there's always a bloody chorus). "I am not bloody mad, you berk," he exclaims, to which the Chorus replies, "You're shouting at a disembodied voice in the dark." Bid by his queen, Cordelia, to travel to the sunken kingdom of Venice to help the Moor, Othello, and stop a conspiracy forged in greed from prosecuting a crusade, Pocket fumbles his way through a complicated adventure buoyed by Moore's half-cocked Shakespearean dialogue, puerile humor and ceaseless banter. The setting helps the author's cause, lending a rich historical backdrop that includes trade disputes, political intrigue and Shakespearean spectacle. Readers who are steeped in Shakespeare and aren't too sensitive will enjoy outrageous lines like, "Cry havoc, and let slip the trousers of most outrageous bonkilation!" Purists are better advised to stick with safer adaptations, where they're less likely to encounter Marco Polo lollygagging in a Venetian prison, the prodigious use of perennial Moore vulgarities ("Fuckstockings!") or our hero shagging a dragon. It is, as the author himself calls it, an abomination, but fans who enjoyed the rollicking play within a play of Fool or the historical whimsy of Sacre Bleu will find many of the same gifts here. Fool's gold, replete with junk jokes, from one of America's most original humorists.
Carl Hiaasen
“Shakespeare and Poe might be rolling in their graves, but they’re rolling with laughter. Christopher Moore is one of the cleverest, naughtiest writers alive.”
USA Today on THE SERPENT OF VENICE
Moore’s greatest asset is his skill with language. Readers with a certain Monty Python nerdiness will rejoice in its hundreds of insults . . . and jokes. . . . [W]itty and wise . . . Serpent is a bright, quick novel.” (3 out of 4 stars)
Louisville Courier Journal on THE SERPENT OF VENICE
“The dialogue is extremely witty, and . . . you will laugh hard and find yourself hurling bawdy insults throughout the day, even if you don’t say them out lout.”
Dallas Morning News on THE SERPENT OF VENICE
“Moore . . . is an excellent writer, and there are passages of prose—Pocket’s defense of Othello and the entire Pound-of-Flesh trial—that sparkle with Moore’s trademark wit and intelligence. Moore’s strength is his ability to appropriate supporting characters and make them wholly his own creations.
Tampa Bay Times on THE SERPENT OF VENICE
“To get a sense of the tone, imagine the merry pranksters of Monty Python in their heyday taking off on Shakespeare while simultaneously trying to break the record for F-bombs currently held by The Wolf of Wall Street.
Seattle Times on THE SERPENT OF VENICE
“A gleeful and wonderfully strange mash-up. Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, and Othello are its chief ingredients, with Edgar Allan Poe’s short story ‘The Cask of Amontillado’ thrown in. The result? An imaginative, wildly inspired satire.”
Fort Worth Star-Telegram on THE SERPENT OF VENICE
“[Moore] brings back one of his favorite characters, Pocket from 2009’s Fool. . . . Add a weirdly satisfying combo of literary in-jokes and low sex gags to the mix and what comes out of the Christopher Moore meat grinder is unique and sublime.”
Bookreporter.com on THE SERPENT OF VENICE
The Serpent of Venice is a remarkable reimagining of classic literature, churned through historical backgrounds and research and set to a different drum. Tragedy becomes comedy in this side-splitting, hair-raising adventure. . . . A piece of literary gold.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061779763
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/22/2014
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 23,749
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher Moore

Christopher Moore is the author of thirteen previous novels, including Lamb, The Stupidest Angel, Fool, Sacré Bleu, and A Dirty Job. He lives in San Francisco, California.

Biography

A 100-year-old ex-seminarian and a demon set off together on a psychotic road trip...

Christ's wisecracking childhood pal is brought back from the dead to chronicle the Messiah's "missing years"...

A mild-mannered thrift shop owner takes a job harvesting souls for the Grim Reaper...

Whence come these wonderfully weird scenarios? From the fertile imagination of Christopher Moore, a cheerfully demented writer whose absurdist fiction has earned him comparisons to master satirists like Kurt Vonnegut, Terry Pratchett, and Douglas Adams.

Ever since his ingenious debut, 1992's Practical Demonkeeping, Moore has attracted an avid cult following. But, over the years, as his stories have become more multi-dimensional and his characters more morally complex, his fan base has expanded to include legions of enthusiastic general readers and appreciative critics.

Asked where his colorful characters come from, Moore points to his checkered job resume. Before becoming a writer, he worked at various times as a grocery clerk, an insurance broker, a waiter, a roofer, a photographer, and a DJ -- experiences he has mined for a veritable rogue's gallery of unforgettable fictional creations. Moreover, to the delight of hardcore fans, characters from one novel often resurface in another. For example, the lovesick teen vampires introduced in 1995's Bloodsucking Fiends are revived (literally) for the 2007 sequel You Suck -- which also incorporates plot points from 2006's A Dirty Job.

For a writer of satirical fantasy, Moore is a surprisingly scrupulous researcher. In pursuit of realistic details to ground his fiction, he has been known to immerse himself in marine biology, death rituals, Biblical scholarship, and Goth culture. He has been dubbed "the thinking man's Dave Barry" by none other than The Onion, a publication with a particular appreciation of smart humor.

As for story ideas, Moore elaborates on his website: "Usually [they come] from something I read. It could be a single sentence in a magazine article that kicks off a whole book. Ideas are cheap and easy. Telling a good story once you get an idea is hard." Perhaps. But, to judge from his continued presence on the bestseller lists, Chris Moore appears to have mastered the art.

Good To Know

In researching his wild tales, Moore has done everything from taking excursions to the South Pacific to diving with whales. So what is left for the author to tackle? He says he'd like to try riding an elephant.

One of the most memorably weird moments in Moore's body of work is no fictional invention. The scene in Bloodsucking Fiendswhere the late-night crew of a grocery store bowls with frozen turkeys is based on Moore's own experiences bowling with frozen turkeys while working the late shift at a grocery store.

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    1. Hometown:
      Hawaii and San Francisco, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 5, 1958
    2. Place of Birth:
      Toledo, Ohio

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 22 )
Rating Distribution

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(8)

4 Star

(12)

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(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 8, 2014

    I'm a big fan of Christopher Moore. This is one of his best.  It

    I'm a big fan of Christopher Moore.
    This is one of his best.  It mashes together The Merchant of Venice with Othello and a good deal of Moore's twisted genius.
    Of course, there's the requisite monster and throughout is Pocket's sarcasm to make it hilarious in a biting sort of way.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2014

    Very good!

    Going from plot line to plot line, Christopher reimagines Shakespeare in Venice - with the Fool. Not as tight as "Fool," but still a great read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2014

    theh interlaceing of plots drive a person to want more and more

    theh interlaceing of plots drive a person to want more and more of Moores books. I cann't say that they are all easy reading. One or two of his books have left me flat but the ones that I have enjoyed are some of my favorites.

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  • Posted July 8, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Another great vacation read from Christopher Moore.

    This follows Pocket, Drool, Jeff, and Jones from "Fool" onto medieval Venice. Moore then mashes up the characters and plots from "Othello", "The Merchant of Venice", some Edgar Allen Poe, Marco Polo, and a Serpent. Hijinx and hilarity ensue. Witty, snarky, and smart. Can't wait for more from Moore! And vacation to go with it...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2014

    Pocket, the fool from "Fool", returns in this mash-up

    Pocket, the fool from "Fool", returns in this mash-up of Shakespeare's Othello and The Merchant of Venice. It's a typical Christopher Moore book, which is to say highly entertaining, well-plotted, humorous but with moments of genuine pathos, all told in language both witty and profane. Good things happen to the good guys and bad things to the bad guys (eventually), there's a bantering Chorus and, of course, a ghost. Great fun and over all too quickly.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2014

    Sepent of Venice

    It's always fun reading Christopher Moore

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2014

    :)

    :)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 30, 2014

    Delightfully Twisted Mashup

    This mashup of Shakespeare, mainly Merchant and Othello with a little Poe and others thrown in for good measure. Moore takes you on convoluted tale of intrigue and double dealing. Imagine Portia AND Desdemona in the same story. I promise you will laugh out loud and read snippets to the person who asks you: "What's so funny?" FOFLMAO just thinking about it!

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  • Posted May 23, 2014

    A Truly Interesting Mind At Work

    Once again Mr. Moore has craftily combined the Bard's works into a devious and entertaining experience.
    bob j

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  • Posted May 22, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    A Bawdy Good Time!

    I loved Fool and if you take the hilarity of Pocket, Drool, etc. and add a vicious serpent you get an awesomely funny adventure. Shakespeare can be funny by itself but Moore takes it to another level. I have often said that Moore's novels would make great HBO or Comedy Central animated series but the thought of seeing this on stage trumps that. I now look forward to a third, revenge-filled epic involving my favorite literary character, Pocket. Overall, a fantastically hilarious Venician romp!

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  • Posted May 18, 2014

    Christopher Moore is a mad man! Like reading Shakespeare, I foun

    Christopher Moore is a mad man!
    Like reading Shakespeare, I found it took a little while before I got comfortable with the writing style and stopped noticing it. Then I was breezing along with a riotous tale.
    If you know any Shakespeare, you are likely to recognize some familiar people and events. If you don't know Shakespeare (and I hazard to guess he would disavow anything to do with this book) It matters not.
    A fine set up of politics and skulduggery with humor, lust, and knavery a plenty.
    (See that--He's corrupted my writing style!)
    Not for the faint of heart or those bothered by "questionably" language.
    You have been warned.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2014

    Another Great Christopher Moore story.

    Pre-ordered the nook book and waited excitedly for it. Well worth the wait. His stories are so funny it you have the right or should I say a wry sense of humor. I'm happy that he has another loveable serpent like the love lust lizard. I have enjoyed every one of his books. He needs to hurry up and write another for me.

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  • Posted May 16, 2014

    Not disappointed!!!

    This is Christopher Moore at his finest. Fun characters, crazy plot line, and plenty of shagging. Any fan of Moore's work will love this one too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2014

    Obvious not a book for nook

    Formay makes this bok a keeper but in hard cover pagecounter@sparta.

    0 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted July 13, 2014

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    Posted November 10, 2013

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    Posted April 25, 2014

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    Posted April 25, 2014

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    Posted May 13, 2014

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