I was a bit judgemental towards this novel when it first came out in 2010 (Lincoln is my Home Boy and I’m a bit protective), but I was also intrigued. While I didn’t get around to reading the novel before the movie came out in 2012, I went to see it anyway, book unread. It was an entertaining movie.
While browsing through OverDrive I came across the audio version and thought it, too, would be entertaining. It was. It kept me looking over my shoulder as I walked on the treadmill, which is where much of my audiobook listening occurs.
Publisher’s blurb: Indiana, 1818. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother’s bedside. She’s been stricken with something the old-timers call “Milk Sickness.”
“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.
When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, “henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose…” Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House.
While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.
Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation.
Weaving vampires into the fight to end slavery is a rather brilliant idea. The author obviously did a lot of research and knows his stuff. It was fascinating to see how he wove the historical Abe’s true life events into this fictional story–from Abe as a young boy on the frontier, to lawyering and politicing in Illinois, to the White House and the Civil War. It still pisses me off to read (or hear the details) of Lincoln’s assassination.
If you have a road trip this summer I highly recommend this audiobook. However, a warning is in order: it is a bit gross at times–Abe brandishes an axe to kill vampires and these vampires are not sexy lover-boy types. They not only suck the blood of their prey, they rip and tear their flesh, so this may not be a great choice for a family road trip with little ones.
Having seen the movie and listened to the audio book, I’m still interested in reading the novel. Is that weird?
Title: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Author: Seth Grahame-Smith
Publisher: Hachette Audio, 2010
Read by: Scott Holst
The Last American Vampire, book #2 in the Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter series came out in 2015. The time span on this one is Reconstruction through JFK’s assassination. I think I’ll check this one out as well. Grahame-Smith is also the author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which I haven’t been tempted to read, but am coming around to the idea.
Grahame-Smith’s books in chronological order:
- Big Book of Porn: A Penetrating Look at the World of Dirty Movies (2005)
- The Spider-Man Handbook: The Ultimate Training Manual (2006)
- How to Survive a Horror Movie: All the Skills to Dodge the Kills (2007)
- Pardon My President: Fold-and-Mail Apologies for 8 Years (2008)
- Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2009)
- Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter (2010)
- Unholy Night (2012)
- The Last American Vampire (2015)