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 I read the summary on Goodreads, I was a little excited about the strange convergence of Abe Lincoln and vampires. But then I wondered if it might be a corny parody. Luckily, it was not.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a serious story.
The story is based on secret journals that Abraham Lincoln kept during his life. How that story is then told to us, the reader, is rather clever…but I’m not going to ruin it by telling you here.
For the most part, we all know the general arc of Lincoln’s life and career. What we didn’t know, until now, is that Abraham Lincoln hunted vampires. He was quite good too. Abe’s vampire obsession is a deep and emotional attachment which makes it feel real. Without that deep seated hatred, I don’t think the story would have come off as authentic.
The characters, both real and fictional, in this story really shine. My favorite was the role that the mysterious Henry Sturges, a vampire, played as he helped Lincoln over the decades. Henry was like the IMF sending Lincoln little Mission: Impossible messages.
The way the author, Seth Grahame-Smith, puts forth the paranormal aspect makes it feel believable. Also, considering the historical significance of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, the vampire angle is an interesting twist on Civil War history. It helped that the gravity of the historical facts are not lost in the web of fiction.
I definitely recommend this book to fans of serious vampire stories. (No sparkles, no womb-chewing.)