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 the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, “henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose…” Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House.
While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.
Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation.
“The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and the other begins.” ~ Edgar Allen Poe
I must confess, I knew nothing about this books existence until the movie trailer had been released. I was elated as this unites two of my favorites topics. My love for our former President, Abraham Lincoln, and of course, Vampires.
If you choose to read the book and have the expectations of an enraged Lincoln killing anything resembling the characteristics of a blood thirsty vampire every other paragraph, you will be disappointed. The story is Abraham Lincolns’ life from beginning to end. Lincolns birth, childhood, love, marriage, fatherhood, Presidency and assassination. The books author, Seth Grahame-Smith takes us on a journey through the heartbreaks Abraham Lincoln endures, seamlessly uniting vampires into each tragedy and obstacle he faces.
The story has a modern day beginning in Rhinebeck New York, with Seth working at a five-and-dime store on East Market Street. Seth is married, has two children and has put his novel on hold since planting his roots, becoming a husband and father. Henry, a customer of about a year, is around 27 in age, wealthy, with messy hair, a year round tan, overpriced jeans, and has a pair of dark sunglasses for every day of the week. Henry is courteous and quiet, purchasing his bars of Lifebuoy, and tins of Angel Shoe Wax, exchanging nothing more than “Have a good one. See you next time.” pleasantries with Seth.
One day in the fall of 2007, Henry asked Seth why he abandoned his writing. That single question led Seth to reveal his past life struggles. His mother passing away when he was a child. Problems with his father and his attempt with suicide. This would be the one and only conversation between Seth and Henry.
Henry came in for the last time in January of 2008, and presented Seth with a gift.
What transpired nearly ruined Seth’s life.
What follows, at last, is the truth.
For over 250 years, between 1607 and 1865, vampires thrived in the shadows of America. Few human believed in them.
Abraham Lincoln was one of the gifted vampire hunters of his day, and kept a secret journal about his lifelong war against them.
Rumors of the journals existence have long been a favorite topic among historians and Lincoln biographers. Most dismiss it as myth.
A few of my favorite moments and quotes throughout the book:
“I could think only of the injustice I had done another living thing, and the fear I had seen in its eyes as the promise of the life slipped away.”
“Miss Todd, I want to dance with you in the worst way.”
“You speak of eternal life. You speak of indulging the mind and body,” said Abe “But what of the soul?” “And what use is a soul to a creature that shall never die?” Edgar replied.
While emotional at times, I very much enjoyed this book and words cannot begin to describe my excitement upon seeing the movie. Seth Grahame-Smith is a genius, accomplishing such an amazing, believable story, leaving you wanting more at the end. The movie, I’m sure, will not disappoint.
I give this book 4 stars!