Publication Date: March 2, 2010
Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith is biography based on Abraham Lincoln’s private diary that has been kept hidden for years. From his mother’s death as a result of vampires, we follow Lincoln on his private quest to battle the worst evils, those known to man as well as those kept secrets.
In May of 2010, I stopped at the little independent bookstore to buy the new John Sandford book. Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter was not in stock, so I ordered it and then browsed the store wanting to purchase something that day to support local business. I had heard vast praise for Seth Grahame-Smith’s books and had recently read a review in EW of the novel so decided to pick it up. I started it that night and was so enthralled with the story that I’d read it completely by morning.
If you’re not a person who reads biographies, you might not enjoy this book. It’s written in the dry “just the facts, ma’am” way that biographies are. The premise is that we know where Lincoln was at certain points in his life, but his newly discovered secret journal tells us what he was actually doing. While the tone of the narrative doesn’t read like action, Lincoln’s own words, from his journal, roll off of the page.
If blood and gore is not your style, this novel is not for you. We see vampires using slaves to satisfy their bloodlust. Abe allows his anger to cloud his judgment and is manipulated by a master vampire. Grahame-Smith paints so creditable a picture that when finishing the book I thought quite a lot about the plausibility of the plotline. The Civil War is actually a war waged between vampires? I think back to my own research into the eighth Michigan Infantry. The things the men wrote home to their families. Could it have happened? Ridiculous, I know, but isn’t it great when a book that is so clearly fictional leaves you thinking in that way? Leave the light on and lock the door extra tight?
As icing on the cake, the novel contains “photographic evidence” of the claims. Like the many ghost photos we see on the net, the vampires are highlighted in crowds and varied places for us. One of the pictures is a haunting picture of a vampire skull while yet another has a vampire holding a child in the crowd. Wonderfully horrific.
So what about his other novels, you ask, how are they? I don’t know because I’ve never been moved to read them. This interested me because history interests me. I have nothing against Jane Austen and some of her characters, but I’m cheering for the zombies. Maybe someday, when I have nothing to read, I’ll pick them up. That may be a very long time from now.
Read an excerpt and buy Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith on