Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

(hb; 2010: loosely linked prequel to The Last American Vampire)

From the inside flap:

"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 the 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."


Landmark horror novel, when one considers how Grahame-Smith seamlessly, cleverly melds faux-historical and horror fiction: fictions that simultaneously manage to be mainstream and horrific, for those of us who like our inked terrors to be bloody and graphic (which Abraham Lincoln is, in effective, short bursts).

Not only that, but Grahame-Smith made this reader care about his characters, with their interwoven, character-centric, vivid-but-fast-tracked histories - when Lincoln is shot, I actually felt sad, as if Lincoln had been a real, warm-individual President in my lifetime.

Exemplary read, this. Worth reading and owning for both mainstream readers and gorehounds.

Followed by The Last American Vampire.


The resulting film is scheduled for stateside release on June 22, 2012.

Benjamin Walker played Abraham Lincoln. Dominic Cooper played Henry Sturgess. Robin McLeavy played Nancy Hanks Lincoln. Mary Elizabeth Winstead played Mary Todd Lincoln. Lux Hany-Jardine played "Young Abraham Lincoln".

Alan Tudyk played Stephen A. Douglas. Rufus Sewell played Adam. Anthony Mackie played William Johnson. John Rothman played Jefferson Davis. Jaqueline Fleming played Harriet Tubman. Jimmi Simpson played Joshua Speed.

Timur Bekmambetov directed the film, from a screenplay by book author Seth Grahame-Smith and Simon Kinberg.

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