by Seth Grahame-Smith
Grand Central Publishing, April, 2010
From the publisher: While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a
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.
PVN: The author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has now decided to tackle a fantasy biography of Abraham Lincoln a secret vampire hunter. Although the title might signify humor there is none in this book at least intentionally.
A mysterious man has handed over some old, worn journals to Seth, a would-be writer. Seth must promise to read the journals and incorporate them into a book. The journalist is Abraham Lincoln and it is his secret account of his encounters with vampires. The story begins promisingly with Abe's growing-up years. At this point Grahame-Smith shows that he does know how to write a nicely paced believable story. Unfortunately once Abraham becomes a true hunter of the undead, by allying himself with one of the "good" vampires Henry Sturges, the tale becomes less credible.
Lincoln lived a very public life, long before becoming president, yet, without any problem, he always manages to sneak away and destroy undead enemies from the list of names given to him by Henry. Not until late in the book is it clear why these particular vampires must be destroyed. It is never understandable to me how any of the many bizarre events could have been kept secret, since by the end of the Civil War and Lincoln's assassination hundreds of people know about the existence of vampires.
In this fantasy world most vampires are churlish, messy, throat tearing, vein slurping beings, who go after any innocent incapable of fighting back, making slaves a favorite target. Whereas the virtuous undead, like Henry, control their appetites and only sup from "the old, sick and the treacherous.... and they kill only when hunger becomes unbearable." That's fine as long as you're not old or sick or happen to be around a noble, ravenous vampire.
Grahame-Smith has said about his book, "Lincoln's war on vampires is supposed to parallel his fight to end slavery". This is truly a worthwhile goal. Too bad the author couldn't pull it off.
Do you agree or disagree? I would like to hear your comments.
[Dear FTC, I received this book courtesy of Library Journal]