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311 pages, Hardcover
First published February 10, 2009
‘The castle’s awash in intrigue, subterfuge, and villainy—they’ll be wanting-comic relief between the flattery and the murders.’Yes, the foulest of fuckery is afoot from the first. Fuckery most foul…and fuckery most fun.
‘Intrigue and villainy?” Drool displayed a gape-toothed grin. Imagine soldiers dumping hogsheads of spittle through the crenellations atop the castle wall—thus is Drool’s grin, as earnest in expression as it is damp in execution—a slurry of good cheer. He loves intrigue and villainy, as they play to his most special ability.
‘Will there be hiding?’
‘There will most certainly be hiding,’ said I, as I shouldered an escaped testicle into his cod.
‘And listening?’ ‘Listening of cavernous proportions—we shall hang on every word as God on Pope’s prayers.’
‘And fuckery? Will there be fuckery, Pocket?’
‘Heinous fuckery most foul, lad. Heinous fuckery most foul.’
‘Aye, that’s the dog’s bollocks, then!’ said Drool, slapping his thigh. ‘Did you hear, Mary? Heinous fuckery afoot. Ain’t that the dog’s bollocks?’ ‘Oh yeah, the dog’s bloody B. it is, love….’
‘Hail, Edmund, you bloody bastard!’ I called over the wall. The yeoman tapped me on the shoulder. ‘Beggin’ your pardon, sirrah, but I’m told that Edmund is sensitive about his bastardy.’ ‘Aye, yeoman,’ said I. ‘No need for prodding and jibe to divine that prick’s tender spot, he wears it on his sleeve.’ I jumped on the wall and waved Jones at the bastard, who was trying to wrench a bow and quiver from a knight who rode beside him. ‘You whoreson scalawag!’ said I. ‘You flesh-turd dropped stinking from the poxy arsehole of a hare-lipped harlot!’The quality and ferocity of insults dispensed by Pocket is extraordinary and would have Don Rickels squirmy and red with blush.
The stage is a more or less mythical thirteenth-century Britain, with vestiges of British culture reaching back to pre-Roman times still loitering about. Britain encompasses what is now modern Great Britain, including England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland, of which Lear is king. Generally, if not otherwise explained, conditions may be considered damp.The comedy is sometimes zany and sometimes piercingly insightful. It is part clever word play and part in your face offensiveness. It is at times erudite and clever and other times (aka mostly) bawdy and blue as a sailor’s bachelor party. To wit:
‘You rascal, Pocket, I’ll not be buggered by you.’ I smacked his bottom again, dust rose from his trousers. ‘No, no, no, not me. Not my cup of tea. But Drool, now he’d shag the night if he wasn’t afraid of the dark. And hung like an ox, that one is. I suspect you’ll extrude stools untapered for a fortnight once Drool’s laid the bugger to ya. Supper’ll dump through you like a cherry pit out a church bell.’What it almost always is is entertaining and I enjoyed myself thoroughly. Coming into this I was a fan of Christopher Moore and I think this is his best work. His earlier Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal still holds a special place for me because I found the balance of wit and respect that Moore showed for his subject matter to be nothing short of magical.
"I need to be spanked."
"A constant, I'd agree, lady, but again we're declaring the sky blue, aren't we?"
"I want to be spanked."
Boffnacity—an expression of shagnatiousness, fit. From the Latin boffusnatious.
WARNING: 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 sort of thing bothers you, then gentle reader pass by, for we endeavor only to entertain, not to offend. That said, if that's the sort of thing you think you might enjoy, then you have happened upon the perfect story!
"So," said Oswald, "you lived through the night?"
"Of course, why wouldn't I?" I asked.
"Well, because I told Cornwall of your rendezvous with Regan and I expected him to slay you."
"Oh, for fuck's sake, Oswald, show a little guile, would you? The state of villainy in this castle is rubbish, what with Edmund being pleasant and you being straightforward. What's next, Cornwall starts feeding orphans while bloody bluebirds fly out of his bum? Now, let's try it again, see if you can at least keep up the pretense of evil. Go."
"So, you lived through the night?" said Oswald.
"Of course, why wouldn't I?" I asked.
"Bloody ghost is foreshadowing, innit?"
"But all the gratuitous shagging and tossing?"
"You're having me on."
"Sorry, no, it's pikeman's surprise for you in the next scene."
"I'm slain then?"
"To the great satisfaction of the audience."
"I'm beginning to wonder," said Kent, sitting down now on an overturned wooden tub. "Who do I serve? Why am I here?"
"You are here, because, in the expanding ethical ambiguity of our situation, you are steadfast in your righteousness. It is to you, our banished friend, that we all turn—a light amid the dark dealings of family and politics. You are the moral backbone on which the rest of us hang our bloody bits. Without you we are merely wiggly masses of desire writhing in our own devious bile."
"Really?" asked the old knight.
"Aye," said I.
"I'm not sure I want to keep company with you lot, then."