Review: The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore

About the book, The Serpent of Venice

The Serpent of Venice

• Hardcover: 336 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (April 22, 2014)

Venice, a long time ago. Three prominent Venetians await their most loathsome and foul dinner guest, the erstwhile envoy from the Queen of Britain: 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 an evening of sprits and debauchery with a rare Amontillado sherry and Brabantio’s beautiful daughter, Portia.

But their invitation is, of course, bogus. The wine is drugged. The girl isn’t even in the city limits. Desperate to rid themselves once and for all of the man who has consistently foiled their grand quest for power and wealth, they have lured him to his death. (How can such a small man, be such a huge obstacle?). But this Fool is no fool . . . and he’s got more than a few tricks (and hand gestures) up his sleeve.

Greed, revenge, deception, lust, and a giant (but lovable) sea monster combine to create another hilarious and bawdy tale from modern comic genius, Christopher Moore.

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About the author, Christopher MooreChristopher Moore

Christopher Moore is the author of twelve previous novels: Practical Demonkeeping, Coyote Blue, Bloodsucking Fiends, Island of the Sequined Love Nun, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, Lamb, Fluke, The Stupidest Angel, A Dirty Job, You Suck, Fool , and Bite Me.

He lives in San Francisco, California.

Connect with Christopher

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My Thoughts

I’ve been a fan of Christopher Moore’s books forever. In fact, when I grow up, as a writer, I want to be Christopher Moore (albeit, a version of him with breasts and technicolor hair) so when I was offered the chance to read an ARC of his latest novel, The Serpent of Venice I told the publicist I’d give one of my dogs for the opportunity. Fortunately, that wasn’t actually necessary, and the ARC arrived shortly after, only to sit on my table, mocking me, until my TBR stack was caught up.

It was worth the wait.

This book combines Moore’s take on Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice with his usual comic view of the world, and adds in elements of other literary classics as well (care to try the Amontillado, anyone?). It’s also a sequel to his previous novel Fool, which, I confess, I have not read.

The characters are a blend of the familiar Shakespeare figures and Moore’s own creativity, and while the story has a slightly slow beginning, it ends up being a rollicking roller-coaster gondola ride through the streets and waterways of Venice, with enough real moments balanced by laugh-out-loud preposterous situations to keep everything flowing well but still ensure the reader is capable of drawing breath.

While knowledge of Shakespeare (and Poe…) isn’t essential to the enjoyment of The Serpent of Venice familiarity with the original play certainly didn’t hurt. Similarly, while I didn’t feel like I’d missed much by not having read Fool, I’m sure it would have increased my understanding of some of the nuances in the novel.

Goes well with A plate of spaghetti with marinara sauce and a glass of red wine.

TLC Book Tours

This review is part of a virtual book tour hosted by TLC Book Tours. For more information, and the complete list of tour stops, click here.

Tuesday Teaser: The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove.

On Teaser Tuesdays readers are asked to:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between 7 and 12 lines.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given.

As much as I’d rather be looking at different options for redecorating my kitchen, weighing the virtues of Kohler vs. Grohe, and such, I can’t afford to do more than fantasize right now, which is why I’m in another reading mood. (Note to COMMANDER PANTS: Look for the review of your book later this week. Really.) One of my favorite authors is Christopher Moore, and I’m about to start a novel of his that I bought last summer – or the summer before – and never got around to reading.

So here’s my teaser, from The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, by Christopher Moore, page 102:

To distract herself from the dragon next door, Molly had put on her sweats and started to clean her trailer. She got as far as filling three black trash bags with junk food jetsam and was getting ready to vacuum up the collection of sow bug corpses that dotted her carpet when she made the mistake of Windexing the television. Outland Steel: Kendra’s Revenge was playing on the VCR and when the droplets of Windex hit the screen, they magnified the phospphorescent dots, making the picture look like an impressionist painting: Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Le Grande Warrior Babe, perhaps.

Review: Fluke, by Christopher Moore

by Christopher Moore
Get it from >>

Nothing makes you want to lose belly fat like a Christopher Moore novel about whales and swimming and Hawaii. This is both because his writing makes you want to be the one diving into the water, and because you will laugh so hard that any jiggling bits you may have will eventually become painful.

Fluke like many of Moore’s novels, is an adventure comedy. This one is about whale biology, and the main character is Nate Quinn, who turns around one day to see a whale with “Bite Me” painted on it’s tail. Or so he claims. Strangely, the frame of film with the proof is missing when the film is eventually developed, and he is greeted by a vandalized home and office upon he returns from his voyage.

As with all of Moore’s offerings, to elaborate would be to spoil the plot. Just know that Moore has managed to combine the study of humpback whales with enough laughter, sexual innuendo, and preposterous misadventure, and to do so in such a way that the reader can almost feel the ocean spray.

Read this novel poolside, or better yet, take it to the beach.

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore

First of all, the depth of research required to pull off a novel like this, filling in the blanks between the birth of Christ and the point at which we pick up his story again, when he’s in his thirties, is incredible, and even if many of the scenarios in this novel are preposterous, Christopher Moore deserves kudos just for that.

Second, this is parody at its best, and while, yes, it’s controversial, the best comedy comes from darkness and controversy. Parody serves a purpose, it makes us examine the truths we hold close, but non-threateningly.

Third, this novel is hilarious. Completely hilarious. Biff is the perfect foil for the world’s only perfect person, and the notions expressed – What if Jesus studied Buddhism? What if he knew kung-fu? – are delightful to ponder.

As the author points out, it’s fiction, and if reading fiction causes you to doubt your faith, it’s your faith that should be examined, not the novel that caused your doubts.

Read LAMB.
Laugh a lot.