“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”
By Seth Grahame-Smith
Narrated by Scott Holst
Published by Hachette Audio 2010
Approx 10 hours
I have just listened to one of the most all around entertaining books of all time. Yes, this book “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” is it. This book offers a little bit for everyone, history, civil rights, and vampires. Seth Grahame-Smith says in an interview included with this audio book that he got the Idea for the story around 2008-2009 just as the country was celebrating the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth. He saw that all the bookstores were stocking the shelves full of books about Abraham Lincoln and at the same time the only other books that were visible was the “Twilight” series of books and the other books caused by this vampire craze. So he did what any creative writer would do and said, “Hey, what would happen if you combined the two?” (I paraphrased that, a bit.) Then after his mashup “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” became a best seller he got the chance to mix Lincoln with vampires.
The historical aspect of this book is priceless, Grahame-Smith and his key researchers, did some great work in maintaining a believability factor in this book by writing around historical facts. Most having to do with Lincoln’s life and can be verified by many of the biographical books on Lincoln, but some of the history talks about some significant facts of our nation’s history. One that sticks out is the mystery behind the Lost Colony of Roanoke, Virginia in 1590. Grahame-Smith makes a pretty decent argument as to what could have happened. There are many features through the book that made me look up the characters mentioned only to find that most of what was said was true, such as the haunting of the Surgical College in St. Louis, Missouri by Dr. McDowell, who wore a breast plate armor because he was paranoid…or was it because he was a vampire.
There are times during this book when you just can’t help but laugh. I know, it was a dark time in our history when our country was divided, and I know that vampires are scary blood sucking demons, but bring them together and there is fun aplenty. This book would be perfect for any history buff, civil war buff, Lincoln buff or vampire buff. For those looking at the historical aspect the adventure is fun. For those looking at the vampire aspect, be careful you just may learn some of that history that you slept through in freshman history.
The narrator does a superb job of bringing voice to this fun novel. It is narrated like a history channel special most of the time, leaning toward making the novel a credible historical work. During the dialog scenes the narrator does a superb job of distinguishing between the different voice and really brings out the difference between a young, buff, ax-wielding, vampire slaying Abe Lincoln and the older presidential, tired of bloodshed Lincoln. As an extra bonus if you get the audio CD you also get a pdf file with photos proving the vampires existence in Lincoln’s day that would be in the physical book.
This book brings us the history of Lincoln and of early America with the premise of vampires coming to the New World and promoting slavery to provide a blood supply for the undead. Throughout Lincoln’s life he was followed by mysterious deaths, like his mother’s death from an unknown disease that was caused by a vampire. This vampire was a loan shark and loaned the Lincoln family enough money to start a farm in Indiana, when the farm failed, Abe’s father could not repay the loan, so the vampire came back and poisoned Abe’s mother with his vampiric blood. When Abe becomes a teenager his father relates this story to him and Abe then schemes to bring this vampire back to the farm where a young Abe Lincoln stakes his first vampire. From there he learns that there are many more in the area and begins his career as a vampire hunter.
Lincoln soon learns of a vampire that is stealing children from their beds and tracks her down to Evansville, Indiana and attempts to stake her. He makes many mistakes and is nearly drowned in the fight that ensues, but just before he blacks out he sees her destroyed by another man. Abe wakes up in the home of this man days later, and learns the man is a vampire by the name of Henry Sturges. Henry teaches Abe the ways of the vampyr and begins giving Abe assignments to destroy vampires. Why does a vampire wish to destroy his own kind? Because those that prey on the innocent do not deserve to live.
All the way through Lincoln’s assassination he and Henry have a give and take relationship that leads to the deaths of many vampires. Do yourself a favor and pick up this book and enjoy it for what it is…a fun book stocked with many historical facts.