Book Cover
Title Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
Series ---
Author Seth Grahame-Smith
Cover Art Scott Nobles
Publisher Grand Central Publishing - 2011
First Printing 2010
Category Horror
Warnings None

Main Characters

Abraham Lincoln, Henry Sturges

Main Elements Vampires

Indiana, 1818. In a one-room cabin, nine-year old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his mother's bedside.

"My baby boy..." she whispers before dying. Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother's fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire. Gifted with his legendary height, strength and skill with an ax, young Lincoln sets out on a path of vengence that will lead him all the way to the White House.

While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving the Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for almost two hundred years - until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln. Now, using the journal as guide, Seth reconstructs the true life story of America's greatest president. For the first time ever, he reveals the hidden history behind the Civil War - and uncovers the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of the nation.

When I first saw the book in the store I kind of rolled my eyes. While I like the idea of modifying old classics to sneak in some supernatural aspect, I guess I'd just seen so many lately that it was getting sort of ridiculous. But then they made a movie about it, and while I didn't see it, again rolling my eyes, I was sort of intrigued. I mean it must be sort of good right?

When I saw it for sale, I grabbed it. After all, just a handful of dollars and a few hours of my time was worth the attempt. Could always give it away if it were that bad.

But it wasn't bad. In fact I found myself really enjoying it! Now I know very little about Lincoln, but I'm Canadian so that's allowed :o) Therefore I can't comment on how well Grahame-Smith weaved his vampires into the actual historical account, but I found it to be quite convincing for the most (but not whole) part, and given there were enough days of Lincoln's life that weren't documented that for all we know he really was running about with an ax decapitating the odd vampire or two.

And I found myself being really drawn to the man himself, flawed though he was with a short temper and bouts of depression. Henry as well, even though he was far from a saintly character. As often pointed out, Henry had as much human blood on his hands as the rest of them. I think that's a flaw in the human reader's psyche that works equally well in Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles. The vampires are evil, feeding on humans often without much thought, and yet we're drawn to them. I guess that is proof vampires don't exist, because if they did, we'd gladly hand ourselves over to them.

I also found it to be quite plausible that the slave trade in the south was very beneficial to vampires. Hungry? Don't hunt your dinner, just go and buy it. And no one is going to care what happened to the body. A very neat system in fact. And if you wanted to overthrow the vampires? Well, outlawing slavery would be a step to undermining their control.

Grahame-Smith also writes well, so it was actually a pleasure to read his prose.

I guess there isn't too much more to say, this isn't classic literature, but it was fun. And of course you know how it ends. But it's really about how one gets from here to there, and looking at the facts of the past from a different angle. The photographic documentation added to the "authenticity" of the book. While I don't think I've been convinced the civil war was really about vampires, I do know in fact it was never really about slavery.

Besides, you might be surprised to find out who dealt with vampires, and who might have been a vampire himself.

Grahame-Smith was the one to start this whole alternate history fad, with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (which I do intend to read at some point) so perhaps that was one reason why this book was in fact good. He was the leader of the trend, not just someone trying to cash in by leaping onto the bandwagon. If you are a fan of vampire fiction, I would actually recommend you give this one a try.

Posted: October 2012


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