Release Date: February 20, 2009
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Satire | Historical
A man of infinite jest, Pocket has been Lear's cherished fool for years, from the time the king's grown daughters—selfish, scheming Goneril, sadistic (but erotic-fantasy-grade-hot) Regan, and sweet, loyal Cordelia—were mere girls. So naturally Pocket is at his brainless, elderly liege's side when Lear—at the insidious urging of Edmund, the bastard (in every way imaginable) son of the Earl of Gloucester—demands that his kids swear their undying love and devotion before a collection of assembled guests. Of course Goneril and Regan are only too happy to brownnose Dad. But Cordelia believes that her father's request is kind of . . . well . . . stupid, and her blunt honesty ends up costing her her rightful share of the kingdom and earns her a banishment to boot.
Well, now the bangers and mash have really hit the fan. The whole damn country's about to go to hell in a handbasket because of a stubborn old fart's wounded pride. And the only person who can possibly make things right . . . is Pocket, a small and slight clown with a biting sense of humor. He's already managed to sidestep catastrophe (and the vengeful blades of many an offended nobleman) on numerous occasions, using his razor-sharp mind, rapier wit . . . and the equally well-honed daggers he keeps conveniently hidden behind his back. Now he's going to have to do some very fancy maneuvering—cast some spells, incite a few assassinations, start a war or two (the usual stuff)—to get Cordelia back into Daddy Lear's good graces, to derail the fiendish power plays of Cordelia's twisted sisters, to rescue his gigantic, gigantically dim, and always randy friend and apprentice fool, Drool, from repeated beatings . . . and to shag every lusciously shaggable wench who's amenable to shagging along the way.
Pocket may be a fool . . . but he's definitely not an idiot.
"This is a bawdy tale. Herein you will find gratuitous shagging, murder, spanking, maiming, treason, and heretofore unexplored heights of vulgarity and profanity, as well as nontraditional grammar, split infinitives, and the odd wank . . . If that's the sort of thing you think you might enjoy, then you have happened upon the perfect story!"
Verily speaks Christopher Moore, much beloved scrivener and peerless literary jester, who hath writteneth much that is of grand wit and belly-busting mirth, including such laurelled bestsellers of the Times of Olde Newe Yorke as Lamb, A Dirty Job, and You Suck (no offense). Now he takes on no less than the legendary Bard himself (with the utmost humility and respect) in a twisted and insanely funny tale of a moronic monarch and his deceitful daughters—a rousing story of plots, subplots, counterplots, betrayals, war, revenge, bared bosoms, unbridled lust . . . and a ghost (there's always a bloody ghost), as seen through the eyes of a man wearing a codpiece and bells on his head.
FOOL is told in King's Lear fool, Pocket. He's crass, clever, a horn dog, and very sarcastic. The humor distracted me from the plot line because I was chuckling, giggle snorting, and at times laughing out loud so much so that I had to reread parts just to stay on track. Yet despite the humor, FOOL have its dark parts, murder, conspiracies, rape, suicide and the like is abundant. It's Shakespeare after all and the old coot isn't one for light comedy.
Even if I find FOOL hilarious, I'm sure CMoore's humor may be an acquired taste for some, he said as much in the Author's Note, and that's okay. FOOL, as well as CMoore's other novels, is a great break from the usual. The author carved his own niche in this genre to the point where his work is distinct and recognizable. If you're curious but aren't sure as to whether you want to try him out, follow him on Twitter (@TheAuthorGuy) to get a taste of his comic genius and take it from there.
Meanwhile, I'm going to hunt the library for the sequel, The Serpent of Venice, yup, based on yet another Shakespeare play, The Merchant of Venice, with a dash of Edgar Allan Poe. I'm sure it's going to be a trip!