Title: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Author: Seth Grahame-Smith
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: 2010
Why I Read It
I love all things Lincoln. So much so, that I was awarded the opportunity to be Horace Mann Abraham Lincoln Fellow in the summer of 2010. This allowed me to tour his Springfield, IL home, law office, Presidential Library & Museum, New Salem, and his burial tomb. As a history teacher, he has been one of my favorite presidents to teach about and as a person, he has been one of my personal role models. And of course, the movie is coming out this summer!
Short Synopsis (no spoilers)
If you know the basic history of Abraham Lincoln-born into a country family, self-educated, lawyer, statesman, President, assassination-you will be able to follow the plot of this novel without much difficulty. The difference-vampires! From the time his mother died, killed by a vampire, Lincoln vows to rid the country of the evil of vampires. He is helped in his caused by a vampire. Hmmm…
What I Liked
The story of Abe’s life, told with the vampire storyline is easy to follow and is for the most part, factually representative of most of the major milestone’s in his life. I loved how the author used actual photographic (Photoshopped of course) and document evidence to depict the veracity of vampires being a part of American society. The novel is in three parts: Boy, Vampire Hunter, and President. It covers his journey from a young boy who lost his mother, to a vengeful vampire hunter, to the President who saved a nation.
If you did not know Lincoln’s story, it would be easy to view him as a vampire hunter. I can see, perhaps sometime in the distant (far, far, far away) future, finding this “historic document” and believing vampires really roamed the country, using slavery as an easy means of satisfying their eternal hunger. It would be easy to believe President Lincoln died because his long time vampire hunting friend chose not to guard Lincoln after the trying day at Gettysburg. It would be easy to believe John Wilkes Booth was a vampire who simply went too far in his final act.
Seth Grahame-Smith writes in a style all his own. His wry humor carries the story line with vampirical nuances about why events in Lincoln’s life turned out the way they did. For instance, the reason Lincoln took back his engagement to Mary Todd on the “Fatal First” of January, 1841, because her family was involved in the vampire underworld. In writing Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Grahame-Smith used much of Jane Austen’s original novel and added his own bits and pieces to add the zombie story. With AL:VH, Grahame-Smith writes the story from Lincoln’s life and makes it believable. His incorporation of the “lost journals” of Lincoln help lend reality to the story and help the reader stay focused on Lincoln and the choices he had to make.
And, Grahame-Smith has a new book coming out: Unholy Night–Who were the three wise men? Really? I can’t wait!
- There are many historic factual instances I could pull out of this story, but I don’t see myself using it in the classroom. It was just a fun, pleasure read.
What I Didn’t Like
There wasn’t anything about this book that I didn’t like. Except maybe that it ended. Those who are really into the vampire lore may be disappointed. The vampires are an integral part of the story, but their background is only mentioned in passing and their habits/beliefs are mentioned, but not fully discussed.
- Anyone who loves Abraham Lincoln