Published by Grand Central Publishing on 2010-03-02
Genres: Adult, fantasy, Historical, Paranormal
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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.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter starts off with an introduction by the author during which he explains how he came to have journals written by Abraham Lincoln. These personal journals start when Abraham is just a young boy and continue right up until his death. They contain entries about all of the important events of Abraham Lincoln’s life, the same events you might find on a Wikipedia page about him. But they also contain all of his experiences with vampires.
After the introduction, the book is divided into three sections: Boy, Vampire Hunter, and President. Vampires played a large role in Abraham Lincoln’s entire life. After a few brief encounters with vampires as a boy, he makes the decision to devote his life to hunting and killing all of the vampires in America. He goes on to become one of Americas most successful vampire hunters, with the help of a vampire friend named Henry. As everyone knows, though, Abraham Lincoln also suffered many personal tragedies and losses in his life that he never fully recovered from. When Mary gives birth to their son Robert, Abraham decides he must quit hunting vampires to stay home with his family. With America inching closer and closer to war though, it is decided that Abraham Lincoln must become the next president and save America from the vampires that wish to take it for their own.
Now, if we’re going to be honest here, we need to acknowledge that the premise for this book is just plain absurd. It’s practically the entire reason I picked it up. In the end, I couldn’t pass up the chance to read about one of our most beloved presidents hunting and killing vampires. I thought the entire book would be ridiculously over-the-top and the writing goofy. I haven’t read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, so I wasn’t familiar with Seth Grahame-Smith’s writing before this. To say that I was shocked by this book would be an understatement. The book reads almost like a real biography, with excerpts from Lincoln’s journals and quotes from actual speeches, and takes nothing away from the sorrows, difficulties, or joys that Lincoln experienced in his own life. Grahame-Smith simply adds vampires. And it works.
I loved this book, but there are a couple of things that annoyed me about the writing. In the beginning of the book, we get an introduction from Grahame-Smith about the lost Lincoln journals and the writing of the book, but in the end there is no epilogue, no conclusion to that part of the book. I would have liked an explanation for some of the things mentioned in the beginning. And secondly, I wish Wikipedia hadn’t been such a big part of Grahame-Smith’s research. It’s just a personal preference, really, but after reading the Wikipedia page on Abraham Lincoln, the book felt different to me. Still creative and brilliant, but just a little different. Otherwise, I very much enjoyed this book.
From beginning to end, Seth Grahame-Smith does an incredible job of weaving fictional vampires and actual historical facts into one seamless story. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter isn’t a young adult vampire book. It isn’t full of romance or campy vampire stories. It’s violent and tragic and full of historical truth. With fictional vampires thrown in. I recommend Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter to anyone who is a fan of historical fiction, Abraham Lincoln, or vampires.