The Serpent of Venice
Twisting together threads of Edgar Allan Poe’s THE CASK OF AMONTADILLO with tragic works such as William Shakespeare’s OTHELLO and THE MERCHANT OF VENICE can be a challenging, towering task for any author. Christopher Moore is a wordsmith genius and gut-busting master engineer. He’s not just any author, though, as he braves the courageous winds of literary history to forge anew masterpiece.
THE SERPENT OF VENICE is a pure, ingenious, suspenseful, raunchy, awkward, laugh-out-loud comedy that pulls these stories into a grandiose, full-blast narrative that rips readers from their reality. Without any sense of time --- or regard --- you will find yourself flipping through the pages trying to reach the satisfaction that you dream of attaining at the end of the novel. Well fed shall readers be upon completion.
The Fool, Pocket, returns in THE SERPENT OF VENICE. Invited to taste a famous amontadillo wine and meet the daughter of a senator, Pocket arrives with a hand on the throttle. Awaiting him are a senator, a soldier and a merchant. In a quick turn, Pocket discovers that the wine is poisoned and the girl is not even in the city 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."
The Fool is chained up and sealed in a dark cavern deep below the surface. While awaiting his own death, he experiences something unexplainable. Something in the water is rising up to his chest, striking fear in him. But is it such a threat? And how will he escape his fate?
In what is a piece of literary gold, Moore dissects three famous stories and molds a brand new tale where the fool seeks to avenge the fate befallen him. In a return to one of his greatest characters, the author does not fail to deliver in a big way. Pocket is fully realized and shows quite a new side of his personality. Moore’s voice and narration is flawless, and the delivery of every joke came with laughter. His switch between the first person of the Fool and the third-person narrator made the story whole, helping to engulf readers in the plot on a more intimate level. You really feel as if you could touch the characters you are reading about.
The wordplay of Moore also has a way of making readers awe. Jokes are laced within sentences as well as in the dialogue. Character descriptions are bountiful and really allow readers to see them the way Moore does. More impressive is his use of Shakespeare’s Chorus character. Breaking the fourth wall, Chorus brings about great humor as it can be heard by readers and the characters alike. Pocket, as well as a few other characters, converses with the disembodied voice, drawing the audience in further.
Moore’s plot is outrageous, full and always enticing. The entire story riveted me in such a way that kept me reading late into the night, trying to find a spot where I could stop. Even when I thought I found that place, it was not because I wanted to take a break, or a lull occurred in the story. It was because I couldn't keep my eyes open due to how heavy they were.
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.
Reviewed by Robert Doyle on April 24, 2014