Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore

"Onward to find my giant and my monkey!"

In general, I am not a fan of sequels, I say in general for in truth I am able to be swayed.
I happened to love Fool and was keen to revisit the foul tongued little fellow in this new incarnation set in Shakespeare’s Venice with a little Othello and Merchant thrown into the mix, along with a rather scary water beast which is particularly reminiscent of Moore’s other beastie – The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove. This serpent-like water creature is equal parts lusty and gory depending on how the mood hits her.

Enough of ye old beastie, and back to our anti-hero, Pocket – a man of many names who in this adventure escapes being chained up and encased in a wall, pretends to be jewish and works with Shylock to plot his revenge against some rather nasty Venetians including Iago, helped by his association with naval hero, Othello. By now you are certainly getting the jist of how much of Shakespeare’s world is blended up into the mix, and the novel also references Edgar Allen Poe’s short story The Cask of Amontillado – which I had not read and which a Wikipedia search ( oh yes, I know, so very studious –not) finally explains why Pocket is continually called Fortunato ( I just thought he was lucky).

How can I not like a novel that cites the more bawdy Shakespearean quotes, ‘beast with two backs’ – anyone? Yet, this lacks, for me, the laugh out loud humour that I found in some of Moore’s other works such as Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. That being said, it is always a pleasure to escape into Moore’s crazy creations and who could resist the childlike.

Finally, I apologise for the holiday snap of my book - but it was worth the bragging rights!

4 out of 5 saucy serpents prefer fools.

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