The Serpent of Venice: A Review

*I received an Advanced Digital Copy of this title through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review*

SerpentThe Serpent of Venice is the sequel to Christopher Moore’s bestselling book, Fool. It continues the story of Pocket, King Lear’s fool from the first novel (hence the title). Pocket is in Venice, and is in a bit of trouble. His beloved Queen Cornelia is dead, and he has made several enemies out of the local war mongering Venetian merchants after encouraging peace (War is good for business, after all).

Paying homage to Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, Othello, with a dash of Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado,” Moore masterly crafts together a unique and entertaining story. There’s violence, gore, bawdy sex, and a ghost (there’s always a bloody ghost). Oh, and there’s also a massive serpent swimming around the canals of Venice eating people who are a threat to Pocket. Said monster also likes to sex up Pocket—which as you can imagine, is a bit awkward (and harkens back to the simpler, somewhat disturbing sex life of Steve, the sea monster from Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, and his weed whacker relations).

There’s a lot going on in this story, and there are a lot of characters. If you’re not already familiar with the source material, you may find yourself getting lost in the sea of names. I also didn’t find this book as funny as Moore’s previous ones. There are still plenty of laugh-out-loud moments,  a few that may make you wet yourself, but not nearly as much. Perhaps it’s because I wasn’t drawn into the story as much (Venice holds no romance for me), but the humor seemed forced at times, not the well-placed, natural, bawdiness that I’ve grown accustomed to reading in Moore’s work.

Overall, it is an amusing romp through classic Shakespeare–bawdy humor and all. It is a great addition for any lover of humor, Venice, or the bard himself.

4/5 Stars

The Serpent of Venice will be released April 22, 2014, but you can already pre-order it from Amazon!

Pre-order The Serpent of Venice from


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