Pocket the Fool is back, and he's seeking revenge on the bastards who killed his Queen Cordelia ... (if you thought these characters from Moore's earlier novel "Fool" would have a happy ending, you haven't read much Shakespeare).
In his second Shakespeare-inspired black comedy mash-up, Christopher Moore combines elements of "Othello" and "The Merchant of Venice," then stirs in a little Edgar Allan Poe and a variety of other recognizable references, characters, and quotes.
It's a twisty tale of intrigue - Iago's out to become a councilman if he has to kill everybody he knows to get there, Pocket's in town under false pretenses. There's a lot of cross-dressing, a court scene where everybody's out to win over the doge, and secret casks that can only be opened by solving a riddle. Plus a big git that's only interested in sex, Marco Polo, and a monkey. You know, typical Christopher Moore.
I loved this book, but it's at times hard to follow: there are a lot of characters, tons of back-stabbing and lying, and way too many things going on at once (you know: exactly like the Shakespeare source material). The more Shakespeare you know, the funnier the book will be. Also, I think a second reading may be beneficial for deeper understanding - which is fine, because these are characters I've enjoyed revisiting and will again.