The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore
Written as a spoof of Othello and The Merchant of Venice (with some Edgar Allen Poe thrown in), The Serpent of Venice follows Pocket, the fool, after his fair Queen Cordelia has died. Originally thought to have died of natural causes, Pocket soon learns that his Queen was murdered by merchant Antonio, senator Brabantio, and naval office Iago. Yes, you should recognize those names! As the three leave Pocket for dead, the fool is rescued by a dragon of the water. Washing up near the Jewish lender Shylock, Pocket wants his revenge and finds it through twists in the stories of Othello and The Merchant of Venice.
Spoofs are not easy to pull off. They require a lot of planning and thought so they don't fall flat. Moore did a brilliant job with this one. Some liberties were taken to bring the characters of the two plays together but in the end it strengthened the story. Even better, all of the characters got their just desserts, unlike what you get from Shakespeare! I read Othello in university and would often wonder what would happen if a few things had happened differently. The Serpent gives you a satisfying alternative.
Pocket, the fool or court jester, is a character that Moore uses to help bring the two plays together. He's crude, raunchy, and freakin' hilarious! Pocket makes his first appearance in Moore's Fool, which I have not yet read, but I found that this didn't make any difference to me. You can pick this book up as a stand alone. That being said, I will definitely be going back to read Fool and hope that there's another in the series to follow after this.
This book is exactly what I've come to expect from Moore though: humour, whit, and satire. I definitely recommend it!
Thank you to TLC Book Tours for letting me be a part of this tour.
First Line: "They waited at the dock, the three Venetians, for the fool to arrive."