He is one of the most famous presidents in the history of the United States. He presided over the country during one of its darkest periods. He issued a document that changed the history of the country forever. He is Abraham Lincoln. He is known for many things, his powerful speaking ability, his skill in politic and diplomacy to name but a few. But did you know that he was also a vampire hunter? That’s the premise of Seth Grahame-Smith’s latest mashup book, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. He brings his unique writing skill to a different kind of alternate history.

The premise of the book arises from a series of secret diaries that Lincoln wrote detailing his life as a vampire hunter. The book is written as a regular biography from a third person perspective, with whole sections of the secret diaries also as part of the text. The fact that it’s treated as a serious historical work only adds to the sense of realism. They are times when you’ll be reading the book and suddenly realize ‘this is Abraham Lincoln who’s fighting vampire’. The way the Lincoln in the book clashes with the Lincoln we all learned about in school is one of the best parts of the whole thing.

The plot starts out normally enough, recounting Lincoln’s early years, but takes a drastic turn when at the age of 11, Abraham learns from his father that vampires are indeed real. A tragedy soon occurs that sets the young Lincoln on a vindictive quest to eradicate as many vampires as he can.

[spoiler show=”Show Spoilers”]Years later, he is on the trail of another one, but is nearly killed. He is rescued by Henry who is revealed as a vampire himself. This is a turning point in Lincoln’s quest as he learns that not all of them are evil. Throughout the rest of his life, Abraham gets letters from Henry detailing an evil vampire to hunt down.

The vampire hunts are only a portion of Lincoln’s life as he must earn a living. A business trip down the Mississippi to New Orleans is another pivotal moment in his life. There he witnesses a slave auction and discovers something that sets him on his abolitionist path. Later on in life he marries Mary Todd, has children and gets involved in politics. He goes from the House all the way up to the Presidency, which triggers the Civil War. This story portrays the secession as being engineered by vampires and adds another layer to Lincoln’s desire to end the war. However, he is assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, who is revealed to be a vampire.

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The book ends with a surprising twist that I’m sure few people will see coming.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is an incredibly entertaining book that adds a very interesting twist on the Lincoln story. Of course making a important historical figure into a secret vampire hunter will make any story worth reading. Grahame-Smith does a masterful job at this and produces a novel that is more then worth it to read.