I haven’t read it yet, but Tall Paul and I went to Vroman’s Bookstore a couple of weeks ago to listen to him talk about it.
He didn’t read from it–Christopher Moore never reads at a “reading”–but he had plenty to say about the book and the research that went into it. This is his first work of serious historical fiction; although Moore has wandered in that direction before, with Lamb and Fool, he’s dealt with topics that are short on documented history and has been able to make up a lot of the details around a pre-existing framework. His preparations for writing Sacre Bleu turned up so much information that his “novel about the color blue” morphed into an art-history novel about the French Impressionist movement. Since he couldn’t possibly work everything he’d learned into the novel, he’s put much of his nearly four years of research about painting and painters into an online chapter guide.
What makes Sacre Bleu “serious” historical fiction is the fact that Christopher Moore seriously researched it–Christopher Moore does not write “serious fiction.” The novel is subtitled (in a very bad pun) “A Comedy d’Art,” and I expect a good amount of comedy from it. And having been to one of his author events before, I expected a good amount of comedy at his appearance at Vroman’s too. He did not disappoint.
I was a little disappointed by the last book of Christopher Moore’s that I read, to be honest, but now that I know he wrote the entire thing while researching this one, I’m a bit more understanding. I get the impression (no pun intended) that he was very engrossed with Sacre Bleu, and I hope that I will be too!