Abraham Lincoln seems to be all the rage in the movie theaters these days. While the big screen is mostly focused on Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, there is also a lesser known video out called Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies.
I kid you not.
I haven’t seen the Vampire Hunter movie yet (nor the Zombie movie), but I did read the book by Seth Grahame-Smith. In fact, I have a first edition inscribed and signed to me by Grahame-Smith himself (thank you Abraham Lincoln Book Shop). To be honest, I don’t read a lot of fiction these days and clearly this book is rather more bizarre than any of the other books I’ve read on Abraham Lincoln. Grahame-Smith takes the well-known icon of history and weaves a story that almost seems plausible at times. Not surprising from a man who also is the best-selling author of a book called “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.”
Given the success of both the book and the movie, it’s safe to say that Grahame-Smith has found his writing niche.
I won’t give away too much of the book. Suffice to say that the title accurately describes the premise. It turns out that the death of Lincoln’s mother when he was nine years old, previously thought to be “milk sickness,” was really at the hands of a vampire to whom Lincoln’s father owed money. Which, of course, explains why Lincoln didn’t get along too well with his father for the rest of his life. What follows is a visit from “Henry” and a lifetime pursuing vampires while also flat-boating down the Mississippi, serving in the Illinois state legislature and the US House of Representatives, building a law career, and eventually becoming President of the United States. The book seems a lot like the movie Forrest Gump in the sense that vampires seem to appear alongside well-known events and people as Lincoln moves through his life. And death.
Overall I found the book enjoyable, if not always exactly right on the historical fact (even given the creative license of having vampires play a key role in Lincoln’s life), but people who like Lincoln will be happy enough if they can suspend belief a bit. People who like vampires will probably find it believable enough. It isn’t as spell-binding as the latest Michael Connelly or Stephen King thrillers, but it’s well worth the read.
Next up – the movie itself!