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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, by Seth Grahame-Smith.

I guess it's vampire week here at The Book Blawg.

Wow, I really enjoyed this book! That's saying a bit, because I generally avoid biographies and history. I know I should like them and they are good for me to read, but I prefer historical fiction if I want to learn about history.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, as the title suggests, re-imagines Lincolns life with vampires. As a young man, Lincoln learns that his mother and his grandfather were murdered by vampires. He then writes in his journal:

I hereby resolve to kill every vampire in America.
Soon after, he meets a "good" vampire named Henry who teaches Lincoln about the undead and trains him to fight. Lincoln continues his secret vampire-fighting career until a "Union" of bloodsuckers persuades him to concentrate on politics. There is, we learn, a war coming - a war essentially between two groups of vampires: those that choose to coexist with humans; and those who enjoy terrorizing and victimizing them. (If this setup doesn't sound vaguely familiar, you haven't read any vampire fiction in the last 35 years.) The United States, particularly the South, has become a haven for vampires because of their ability to feed on slaves with impunity, and for that purpose have allied themselves with the southern plantation owners and slave traders. This fact makes the institution of slavery even darker, if that is possible; and their plans are to enslave the whole population and therefore they must be stopped, at all costs.

The bulk of the novel is not about vampires, but is a pretty well-written and engaging biography of Lincoln. It's not hard to discern fact from fiction. This book was great up until the very end, which didn't seem consistent with what we had learned about Lincoln. But I enjoyed reading it and learned a lot of history at the same time. The photos are clever, as well.


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