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The Serpent of Venice: A Novel Paperback – 26 Mar 2015


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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (26 Mar. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061779776
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061779770
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,820,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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More About the Author

Christopher Moore was born in Ohio and lived there until he was nineteen, when he moved to California. Before publishing his first novel, Practical Demonkeeping, in 1992, he worked as a roofer, a grocery clerk, a hotel night auditor, and insurance broker, a waiter, a photographer, and a rock and roll DJ. Chris divides his time between Hawaii and San Francisco.

Product Description

Review

“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.” (Carl Hiaasen, New York Times bestselling author of a whole bunch of excellent books, including Bad Monkey, Nature Girl, and Sick Puppy on THE SERPENT OF VENICE)

“Fans who enjoyed the rollicking play within a play of Fool or the historical whimsy of Sacré Bleu will find many of the same gifts here . . . from one of America’s most original humorists.” (Kirkus Reviews on THE SERPENT OF VENICE)

“Fans of Fool will be overjoyed to rejoin Pocket and company . . . for their latest adventure, and newcomers will find that Shakespeare isn’t nearly as dry and dusty as they thought, at least not when Moore is at the helm. (Library Journal (starred review) on THE SERPENT OF VENICE)

“Moore’s imaginative storytelling, bawdy prose, puns aplenty . . . succeed in transforming two classical tragedies into outrageously farcical entertainment.” (Publishers Weekly 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) (USA Today 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.” (Louisville Courier Journal 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. (Dallas Morning News 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.” (Tampa Bay 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.” (Seattle Times 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.” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram 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.” (Bookreporter.com on THE SERPENT OF VENICE)

From the Back Cover

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, 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, a ruse. 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 and a cast Shakespeare himself would be proud of: Shylock; Iago; Othello; a dozen or so disposable villains; a cadre of comely wenches; the brilliant Fool; his sidekick, Drool; his monkey, Jeff; a lovesick sea serpent; and a ghost (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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Keen Reader TOP 100 REVIEWER on 6 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback
A gondola makes it ways to the bent-backed senator Brabantio's isolated mansion, where he waits with the brutish soldier Iago and the soft-handed merchant. The guest they await is Pocket, called Fortunato by the Venetian doge, but ambassador for the woman he had loved, Queen Cordelia who now lies dead at the hands of his enemies for their own purposes. Pocket is a Fool, and thinks that they wish him to use his influence with the doge and the Moorish captain Othello to back a crusade - but what they want is revenge. Brabantio seeks to wall Pocket up and leave him to die, but the Fool seems to be difficult to kill.

This is a delightful and witty tale, worthy of any number of great bards and poets of the macabre. I'm sure Shakespeare and Poe wish they had written this book themselves. There's plenty of action, entwined with plenty of humour and laced with some toe-curling language and double entendres as we follow Pocket on his course of revenge and setting things right. Along the way we meet Othello's beloved Desdemona, Shylock and his daughter Jessica, Jeff the monkey, a lovesick sea serpent, a ghost, and many more hapless characters. And if you get confused or lose your place from laughing, there's always a helpful Chorus coming along to update you in ponderous rhyme on what's happening next. Underneath the humour and wordplay there's a seriously detailed and delightful narrative here; of love, revenge, war, shenanigans, stupidity, greed and justice. And it's all jolly good fun.

The story of Pocket before this story (yes, I know I'm reading them out of order) is covered in an earlier book, Fool which I intend to get hold of shortly and read with thoroughly deserved enjoyment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mandy Payne TOP 500 REVIEWER on 22 April 2014
Format: Hardcover
As only Christopher Moore can, I was pulled in completely by another of his cleverly done meaningless stories. This book is pure entertainment and side splitting laugh out loud moments.

If you're already a Moore fan then, as long as you don't come into this one expecting another Lamb, you won't be disappointed. I would say this book is on par with some of his other better stories. Pocket, much like Mint E Fresh, is a character I am happy to see come back. This was definitely a fun, worthwhile read.

As you may have gathered from the product description, this book is a loosely woven tale of a couple of Shakespeare comedies and our old friend Pocket the fool. If you're at least vaguely familiar with Shakespeare, you'll greatly enjoy this book and, much like Sacre Bleu, you'll see the genius in the writing. If you're not, you don't need to take a college course on it -- you will still enjoy this book.

Maybe read the Cliff Notes on the Shakespeare works if you really don't want to feel like you're missing out.

I don't like reviews that read like book reports, so I won't tell you the story. That's for you to read and discover. Suffice it to say that, as far as Moore books go, I would rank this in the 80th percentile.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In this book Christopher Moore has mashed together two Shakespeare plays, The Merchant of Venice and Othello, in order to create a story that is all his own. Do not expect outcomes that fit with anything that Shakespeare envisaged. In passing he also makes reference to several other Shakespeare works and its quite good fun to try to spot them all.

The story is told from the point of view of Pocket, a Fool, who is probably based on the Fool in King Lear as it is made clear that he is supposedly married to one of Lear’s daughters, Cordelia. There is an attempt to kill him because he stands in the way of Iago and other ambitious men, he is rescued in strange circumstances and then sets out to exact revenge on his would be killers. It is difficult to say more without spoilers, so I won’t.

It’s a fun read and up to Moore’s best standards of writing. If you are a fan you won’t be disappointed and if you’re not then this may be enough to convert you. Not to be taken too seriously, just the stiff to read by the pool while on holiday.
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Format: Hardcover
Excellent follow up to FOOL, Christopher Moore has done it again . This is a laugh out loud joy of a book , if your feeling down in the mouth purchase this book and enjoy the ride. the fool Pocket finds himself in Venice amongst a number of Shakespeares characters who plot and scheme their way through page after page of mirth. BUY THIS BOOK!!
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By Lotusgav on 8 Jan. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As the Fool is so this is. Fabulous writing that is bold, original and amusing. In fact original is the most beguiling thing about this story. The fact that it both is and isn't! If you like Shakespeare and a bit of swearing then read on...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Christopher Moore always amuses me. This is no exception. Dare I say irreverently based on Shakespeare the mix of the bards stories and Moore's imaginative twists makes for a laugh a minute read.
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