Review: The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore

April 28, 2014 3 stars, Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway 35 ★★★

Review: The Serpent of Venice by Christopher MooreThe Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore
Published by William Morrow on April 22, 2014
Genres: Adult SFF, Comedy, Gothic
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: Blog Tour, Publisher
Buy on Amazon

*This book was provided by the Blog Tour, Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.

New York Times bestselling author Christopher Moore channels William Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe in this satiric Venetian gothic that brings back the Pocket of Dog Snogging, the eponymous hero of Fool, along with his sidekick, Drool, and pet monkey, Jeff

Venice, a long time ago. Three prominent Venetians await their most loathsome and foul dinner guest, the erstwhile envoy of Britain and France, and widower of the murdered Queen Cordelia: 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.


The Serpent of Venice was an absolute hoot. While I have always loved Shakespeare’s sonnets, I never did have the same love for his written plays. Don’t shoot me, I enjoy them immensely – but reading them can be a taxing experience. Now those plays seen live or on screen? Fabulous darling. So when I saw Christopher Moore was going to do his own Shakespearean rendition of a mashup of Othello and The Merchant of Venice I was fully unprepared but thought it would be fun to give it a whirl.

Moore takes Shakespeare and turns him on his head, spanks him with a bit of balderdash and sends him off crying to his mumsy. All of that is of course a treat to watch. I have to admit I’ve never read The Merchant of Venice so some of the nuances there might have been lost on me, but in no way hampered my enjoyment of the book. I hear some of the characters in this book were also featured in his previous book FOOL, but I’ve only read his Bloodsucking Fiends, Love Story books, so I wouldn’t know. Luckily, I didn’t feel like I was missing any information even though I didn’t read the ‘first’ book. However there must be something said about the writing style in which this is written. Sometimes I felt like I was being left out of a joke that I was expected to understand. Maybe that is just me, or the inspired content, or maybe I don’t have as naughty of a mind. Who knows, sometimes it worked for me and occasionally it didn’t. I do love comedy and satire though and this gave me plenty of that. I had to smirk at his use of Shakespeare’s Chorus.

So what is it about – no why ever would I freaking tell you that? Read the plays? No? – then read the book. But there’s a ghost – because “there’s always a bloody ghost.” Oh and let’s not forget the serpent itself and sex. From what I hear if you’re a Moore fan than the titillating sex is to be expected. All in all, The Serpent of Venice will be a riotous read for the right reader.


This book was courtesy of the Publisher, William Morrow and TLC Book Tours. Be sure to enter the giveaway below!

TLC book tours

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stalk the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Stalk me!

Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
Stalk me!

Latest posts by Tabitha (Pabkins) (see all)

35 Responses to “Review: The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore”

  1. Nathan (@reviewbarn)

    Moore is perhaps the funniest writer around when it comes to a raunchier brand of lit. While at times his plotting suffers I never really notice because I am laughing so hard. I even let my dad read all my Moore books and Mom says he howled every night while reading them. Even better? Fool may have been his funniest.

    Yes, I want to read this one. Did you read Fool?
    Nathan (@reviewbarn) recently posted…Fantasy Review (DNF): ‘Oblivion’s Forge’ by Simon WilliamsMy Profile

  2. Melliane

    oh that’s so nice! Another gropic novel! I really need to buy more of them, it’s always so nice to change. It’s been a while since I’ve read one.

  3. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    Huh. You know, I have several Moore books sitting around that I’ve gotten for various reasons over the years, and I have not read a single one of them (shocker, right?). But now I am HIGHLY curious about this one. I LOVE Shakespeare’s plays (SORRY, but I do). I absolutely adore his command of the English language–can’t find a word that suits his purposes? Makes one up (like a BOSS). So I’d either really love this, or absolutely detest it, LOL. *makes note to try sample chapters*
    Jessica @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel HawkinsMy Profile

    • Tabitha (Pabkins)

      Seriously I do the same thing. I buy books in droves and then sometimes they will go unread on my shelf for years and years. I bought at least four more of his books after I read Blood Sucking Fiends and Love Bites and then never read them because I wasn’t in the mood.

      Then this one hit me for blog tour but I think I wasn’t as in the mood as I thought. But he is a barrel of laughs.

      So just know you have to be in the mood for silly humor.
      Tabitha (Pabkins) recently posted…Sharon Lynn Fisher dishes on the Sci-Fi Fantasy of BioPunk & GiveawayMy Profile

  4. Charleen

    I definitely prefer watching Shakespeare to reading it. Retellings are another story, and both can be great, but it’s just that language! I can’t do it! Reading it, I’m trying so hard to just understand what’s going on that I completely miss all the little things. But with actors actually bringing it to life instead of words on a page… it’s totally different, and I’m always surprised how little time it takes me to acclimate to the language.
    Charleen recently posted…Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-Thon Wrap UpMy Profile

  5. Joy (Joyousreads)

    I’ve never read any of Christopher Moore’s books – which is an injustice, I know. Maybe when my reading maturity improves, I’ll be able to hike up my skirt and finally take a dip. 🙂

    Great review, as usual.
    Joy (Joyousreads) recently posted…Open Road Summer by Emery LordMy Profile

  6. Mogsy

    High school totally ruined any enjoyment of Shakespeare for me, though after I graduated I started appreciating his plays a bit more, especially watching them on stage.

    I don’t think I’ve read any of Moore’s stuff either, he sounds like a fun guy to read. Entered the giveaway, maybe I’ll give this a shot 🙂
    Mogsy recently posted…Book Review: Dämoren by Seth SkorkowskyMy Profile

  7. BookaholicCat

    I agree with you, reading Shakespeare is a draining experience. I read couple of his books for school and it’s not an experience I would like to repeat, but even though I don’t like reading him, I enjoy his plays very much on a stage.
    I have heard great thing about Moore, but didn’t know about this book. I don’t know if I should check this one out or Fool. Decisions, decisions, decisions…
    BookaholicCat recently posted…Cover Revealed: The Witch With No Name by Kim HarrisonMy Profile