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The Serpent of Venice: A Novel Kindle Edition

369 customer reviews

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Length: 352 pages Word Wise: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* What do you get when you stitch Othello, The Merchant of Venice, and “The Cask of Amontillado” together? Well, you get this rollickin’ adventure in which Pocket, the royal fool introduced in Moore’s Fool (2009), is lured to Venice, where he thinks he’ll be having a fun time with the beautiful Portia, but where three men (including a fella named Iago) are actually planning to murder him. To some, the idea of combining two Shakespeare plays and an Edgar Allan Poe short story might be vaguely chilling. To begin with, Moore, author of such delights as Sacre Blue (2012) and The Stupidest Angel (2004), has to move the events of the plays from the late sixteenth century to the thirteenth to keep the chronology in line with the events recounted in Fool, which means “Amontillado” is moved roughly 500 years back in time. And let’s not forget that the plays are tragedies, whereas this book, which also interpolates elements of King Lear, from which Fool was derived, is a farce. The upshot is, if you’re the kind of reader who insists Shakespeare is untouchable, then this novel will probably annoy you on general principles. On the other hand, if you’re a fan of Moore’s brand of history-mangling humor, you’ll dive right in with a big grin on your face. The grins win in the end. --David Pitt

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)

Product Details

  • File Size: 1663 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; Reprint edition (April 22, 2014)
  • Publication Date: April 22, 2014
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DB32QDW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,603 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Christopher Moore is the author of eleven 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, and Fool. He lives in San Francisco.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Jan Heart on March 19, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There is a small handful of modern writers I count as the best in black humor today: Carl Plumer, author of ZOMBIE EVER AFTER, A. Lee Martinez, and (of course) Christopher Moore, who ticks all the right boxes for me.
Each author has his own special traits, but they all share a great individual insight laced with wicked humor.

The Serpent of Venice from Chris Moore has become my favorite book from this author to date. The mix of Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe, whose novels my parents forced me to read (yes, I'm finally grateful they did this) works so well with Moore's clever yet slightly bawdy humor. Unlike popular comic writers of today who seem to focus on what is trendy and topical, Moore goes his own way, using his own unique style and humor to pave his way to yet another winner. A big cheer for Mr. Moore - he's pulled out another gem of a novel from his rich repertoire.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Stacia R. Roesler VINE VOICE on November 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I read absolutely everything that Christopher Moore writes---my favorite of his books is LAMB, although I really really like nearly all of his early ones. Of his last three, I thought Fool was pretty darned good, but I gave Sacre Bleu a three. This one falls in between them, so it gets a four.

The Fool character is terrific, as are his sidekicks, and I'm glad he's reappeared in this book. The dialogue is wonderful and witty. The Othello character is terrific and really comes to life. I found the melding of three Shakespeare plays interesting (if sometimes a bit hard to follow) but the complicated construct of the serpent just really pushes belief and makes the story a bit foolish. (Not that island ghosts and space whales didn't push belief in earlier books....)

In short, a solid effort, but not as thought-provoking as some of his other books. More like an enjoyable larkish romp, and so (for me) in the bottom 25% of his body of work. Which still gains it a four, because he's a great writer and pretty much all of his books are well worth reading (i.e. better by far than most of the tripe available these days). Worth your time to read, but believe those other reviewers when they say this sequel isn't as enjoyable as the first Fool.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There is an undeniable and irresistible lunacy to the literary worlds created by author Christopher Moore. I have read every book he's ever released, so I guess you could call me a rather large fan. As much as I love his kooky portraits of a San Francisco populated by vampires and other supernatural or exotically strange entities, I really enjoy when he steps away to something altogether different. To date, my favorite Moore books have been "Lamb" (an unlikely tale about Jesus) and "Fool" (a rollicking take on the King Lear story). Having skewered Shakespeare quite effectively once, Moore is back with "The Serpents of Venice." Not necessarily a sequel as much as a companion piece, "The Serpents of Venice" reunites Pocket, Drool, and Jeff the Monkey for another adventure. Drool and Jeff don't play much of a role until late in the story, but Pocket is front and center for a tale that combines elements of Edgar Allen Poe's ""The Cask of Amontillado" with characters and plot points of both "The Merchant of Venice" (which you might have guessed from the title) and "Othello." Not a small task, to be sure, but one that Moore executes with much humor.

As the story unfolds, Pocket is still grieving the death of his beloved Queen. As an emissary in Venice, he has befriended the Doge but alienated almost everyone else. If you recall, Pocket is a boisterous little imp filled with profane thoughts and a universally biting commentary who presents his most cutting barbs through the pronouncements of a puppet. A wealthy merchant and his cohorts want to put an end to our good Pocket, and they enact a plot to make him disappear. Without spoiling anything, let's just say that his demise is forestalled when an unlikely ally comes to his rescue.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Deb on May 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover
First: I'm a huge Moore fan - I still believe 'Lamb" was one of the best books I've ever read. Sadly, I couldn't finish this one. I disliked the main character, Pocket. I mean, I really did not like him. I wasn't crazy about 'Fool', but at least I finished it. The cleverness of this novel was its undoing - little to no plot and characters so weak they were transparent. And the sexual innuendos were far too sophomoric - felt as though I was listening in on a high school boys locker room. Wish Moore would lose Pocket and get back to novels like 'Fluke' and 'Sequined Love Nun'.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Reeka aka BoundbyWords on May 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Obvious fact #1: if Shakespeare read anything like this while I was in high school, I would have been a HELL of a lot more inclined to read it. Obvious fact #2: Christopher Moore is a bloody GENIUS (that goes without saying, but I'll say it a million times if I have to).

It will be a GRAND feat to refrain from completely losing my hold on comprehensible words, so bare with me here. I ADORED Fool, every last witty, satirical, smart-mouthed word. I sat curled in highly uncomfortable positions, and laughed until I cried. I loathed, I loved, I pitied, and I sympathized. I had never READ King Lear, but still, nothing flew far over my head. Needless to say, when I found out that Moore was generously providing us simple, lowly, folk with a SEQUEL....a SEQUEL! I was finished. Done. I would have pretty much traded my left lung to get it. Good thing I sometimes have a little money...

The Serpent of Venice picks up on the trail of Fool, but with a completely different set of actors, and this time, within the well-loved worlds of Othello, the obvious, The Merchant of Venice, and a nice dash of Edgar Allen Poe. Now, again, I've only ever read Othello, and unfortunately, seen the modern, cool kid, movie adaptations of it. But I reiterate, nothing I read was so far beyond me. Because it's bloody Chris Moore-he could have wrote a story about the life and times of Jesus Christ, and I would enjoy the heck out of it. (Shameless plug: he DID, you know, write a story about Jesus. It's called Lamb, and you will be a become a better person for reading it, 100% sure). Anyways, point is, you don't NEED to know the source material for his books: it's pretty much impossible NOT to love them.

There's an actual review in here, I promise. Here is comes...
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