Wednesday, August 4, 2010

abraham lincoln, vampire hunter

Last year, the little known author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies jump started what is now my new reading obsession, Classics rewritten with zombies, vampires, and monsters. Seth Grahame-Smith did a fabulous job with Jane Austen (good enough to get a movie out of it) and now he has moved on to another supposedly untouchable historical figure.

Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter is a fascinating rewrite of the life of our sixteenth president and the Civil War in serious biography fashion. Grahame-Smith weaves excerpts from well-known documents and "newly unearthed journals" to tell the tale of the boy Lincoln whose mother was killed by a vampire and takes her revenge with an axe in his hands. His experiences teach him much about death and vampires, including the existence of a war between those who exploit slavery in the United States for their own desires and those who renounce such use of the living. The Civil War becomes both a proxy for and the reality of their fight, a fight that Lincoln and his allies must win to keep all of the living citizens of the United States from becoming slaves to the dead.

Unlike most of the other monster rewrites out there that add fiction to fiction, Grahame-Smith takes a well-known historical figure and gives him a secret, monster-filled life. As I picked up this book I thought it might be a little much and a little bit ridiculous. However, Grahame-Smith effortlessly inserts vampires into Lincoln's story in a way that makes me wonder if I shouldn't be looking for hints of them in histories elsewhere.

1 comment:

sam said...

"Classsics?" Are you thinking about this?