Honest Abe and the Vampires

On the night table this week: “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.”

I don’t normally do my book shopping at WalMart, but there it was right in front me, the new release with most improbable and weird title I’ve heard in a long time. The cashier didn’t quite know what to make of it. “They never taught us about that in high school!”

He wasn’t kidding. “Well, I’m pretty sure it’s fiction.”

He went on. “You know what else they didn’t teach us? That the Declaration of Independence says it’s our RESPONSIBILITY to abolish the government if it abuses its power. Why do you think they didn’t tell us that?”

Actually, the Declaration says it’s our right, not our responsibility — but he was on a roll and I couldn’t stand to steal his thunder. I looked him in the eye. “There are LOTS of things they didn’t teach us in high school.”

Anyway, you might think of Seth Grahame-Smith’s book as “Interview With a Vampire” meets Sandburg’s Lincoln. Imagine all the things you know about Abraham Lincoln: the tragic loss of his mother, his flatboat trips down the Mississippi to New Orleans, the Civil War — and then add vampires to the mix.

I’m not giving anything away here by telling you that young Abe learns to lop of vampire heads, or that he was repulsed by the way slaves were not just exploited for their labor, but for their blood — but you will be surprised by the writing.

It would be easy to dismiss “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” as a clever title wrapped around a paper thin story, but Grahame-Smith does a wonderful job here of crafting an alternate history that feels authentic — even though it’s based on an idea that’s about as crazy as you can imagine.

By the way: young children in your house might be a little disturbed by the back cover of this book (pictured left). And you might also catch a few odd looks from the people sitting near you on the bus.

4 thoughts on “Honest Abe and the Vampires

  1. Some people wear Superman Pajamas, Superman wears Abe Lincoln Pajamas. I guess Abe Lincoln wears pajamas made from the skin of dead vampires.

  2. andykevin: As you may know, this is the same guy who wrote that book. I’d like to read “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” but I suppose I should probably read “Pride and Prejudice” first.

    The nice thing about this book is that everybody knows about Abe Lincoln’s life, which make the historical touch points very effective.

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