Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Riveting Reads: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
The tale begins with a frame story, one in which Grahame-Smith discovers several lost journals of Abe’s, documenting his secret quest to rid America of vampires. Then, as Grahame-Smith reads through the journals, he pieces together this dangerous and secret part of Lincoln’s past.
As a child, Lincoln is tall and lanky, though not too muscular. Indeed he doesn’t have much need for weight training until he discovers that a vampire is responsible for his dear mother’s death. Lincoln vows to avenge his mother’s death by destroying the enemy at every turn. To train for the inevitable battles to come, Lincoln takes to chopping wood until his muscles bulge like a steroids ad, and he learns to throw his axe until he can splinter a tree from twenty yards away. In addition to his physical regimen, Lincoln pours over any piece of literature he can find on vampires; journals, folklore, and myths, etc. Soon, Lincoln is ready to face a real vamp.
Lincoln gets lucky on his first kill. Then, on a hunt for what he wanted to be his second kill, Lincoln makes an unlikely friend; a noble vampire named Henry who is on a mission to save humanity from bloodthirsty, unethical vampires. (The Angel similarities aren’t lost on Buffy fans, I’m sure.) Then, they work together to hunt and destroy undeserving blood suckers; Henry discovers them and Lincoln kills them. The story continues with twists, turns, and a bizarre ending. Spoiler alert: John Wilkes Booth’s lust for blood has a metaphoric and literal meaning in this book.
Grahame-Smith mingles fact and fiction in this fun-filled concoction, and I can honestly say, I’ve never read anything like it. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a satire on the typical biography. It’s homage to our incredible founding father, while adding a darker side to his motives. This version of Lincoln starts out driven by revenge, fury, and self-discovery. He slowly grows into the man we Americans know and love. A man of substance, integrity, and political savvy. Only, here Grahame-Smith creates us a version of Lincoln that could remain standing in Thunder Dome.
Other quasi-biographies that I’d like to see Grahame-Smith invent are Ben Franklin and the Flesh-Eating Garden Gnomes (It’s a stretch, I know, but those little guys are from creepsville) and Audrey Hepburn: the Secret Ninja/Sasquatch Hunter. As if Audrey Hepburn could get any cooler. But, hey, that’s what I thought about Lincoln and clearly…he can. Thanks, Grahame-Smith. Keep ‘em coming.