Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
by Seth Grahame-Smith spans Abraham Lincoln's lifetime. It recounts, via a narrator who has his secret diary, the 16th president's side-gig as a vampire slayer at a time when vampires were stealthily gaining political power and acquiring slaves for homicidal purposes. The novel follows the historical outline of Lincoln's life with vampire additions. Grand Central Publishing published the historical fiction/thriller in 2010.
In September of 1818, Lincoln's mother, who he was close to, dies at the age of 34, and his father Thomas remarries. While drunk, Thomas reveals that a vampire named Jack Barts killed Nancy because of an unpaid debt. Jack gave Nancy a "fool's dose" of vampire blood, which is enough to kill her without turning her vampiric. He also admits that vampires were responsible for Lincoln's grandfather's death, not Native Americans. Lincoln vows to kill every vampire in America. A year of training ensues, and Lincoln invites Jack to the farm under the pretense of paying Thomas' debt. He kills the vampire with a stake.
A few years later, Lincoln tracks an old lady vampire. He isn't as well-equipped as he’d thought and is severely wounded. He wakes up to find that Henry Sturges, a vampire, has rescued him. Henry convinces Lincoln that not all vampires are evil. He explains that he was an original settler at Roanoke and that a vampire was responsible for wiping everyone out. Only Henry survived, and the vampire turned him.
Henry trains Lincoln to become a vampire slayer. After Lincoln departs, Henry keeps in touch by sending 15-year-old Lincoln the names and locations of vampires due for assassination. Lincoln kills 15 vampires in 3 years.
Lincoln’s job on a flatboat leads him to New Orleans. There, he chases a vampire into a cemetery and meets Edgar Allan Poe. Poe is in New Orleans because he knows it is an excellent place to find vampires. Despite opposing views on vampires, the two become friends. The next day, Lincoln witnesses a vampire buying up a majority of the slaves in a slave auction for feeding purposes. This moment inspires Lincoln to take up the torch against slavery.
In 1831, Lincoln is 22 and working at a store in New Salem. There, he makes a few friends, including Jack, who he takes vampire hunting. Lincoln still has his vampire-killing ax but has added "martyr," a torch of sorts, to his weaponry.
Lincoln wins an election for the Illinois State Legislature in 1834. He falls in love with Ann Rutledge but her vampire fiancé, John MacNamar, fatally poisons her. Henry offers to turn Ann into a vampire, but Lincoln refuses. Instead, they kill MacNamar.
Lincoln becomes a lawyer and marries Mary Todd despite her father's vampire affiliations. The two have a baby named Robert, and Lincoln gives up vampire hunting to run for Congress in 1846. Following a win, Lincoln and his family move to Washington, where Lincoln is made aware of Southern politicians who are working with vampires. The Lincolns welcome a new child, Edward, and go back to Illinois in 1849. Edward dies a year later.
Between 1852 and 1857, Lincoln and Mary have two more boys, Lincoln opposes Stephen A. Douglas' Kansas-Nebraska Act, loses an election to Congress, and the Supreme Court passes the Dred Scott decision.
On receiving a letter from Henry, the Lincolns travel to New York City. There, vampires abduct Lincoln and take him to a meeting with Henry and other pro-human vampires. The good vampires have formed the "Union" to prepare for the upcoming war between humans and vampires. Lincoln and Henry's "slayer and vampire" relationship is not unique and has been part of the vampire Union's plan to assassinate evil vampires that are pushing for war.
In 1858, Lincoln participates in the Lincoln-Douglas debates but loses the election for Senate. Meanwhile, the Union vampires are pushing Lincoln as a presidential candidate and are secretly orchestrating the Underground Railroad. Lincoln is asked to kill Jefferson Davis, a vampire, and he enlists some friends. It turns out to be a trap. Lincoln learns that Davis believes vampires are meant to rule humans, and Lincoln argues that they will end up killing everyone along with the slaves if left unchecked. Henry saves Lincoln and his friends, and Jefferson Davis escapes.
The Union vampires fix the presidential election and Lincoln wins. The South secedes and elects Jefferson Davis as the president of the Confederacy. The Confederates fire on Fort Sumter, thus beginning the Civil War.
Lincoln's son Willy is killed by what seems to be a vampire "fool's dose," and Lincoln tells Henry that he never wants to see another vampire again.
Following a dream about slaves being devoured by vampires, Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, declaring freedom for slaves from seceded states. General Lee surrenders in April of 1865, and Henry sends Lincoln a letter notifying him that evil vampires are migrating away from the country.
The assassination of Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth happens as it does in historical accounts, except Booth is a vampire. After fleeing the theatre, he’s trapped by the Union soldiers and is ultimately killed by Henry. Lincoln's dreams predicted such an end, and he dies on April 15th.
Henry turns Lincoln into a vampire the night of his funeral. Lincoln fights alongside Henry for the next hundred years, taking on adversaries like the KKK and the Nazis. Together, they witness Martin Luther King, Jr's "I have a dream" speech.
Death is a theme that follows Lincoln in both his fictional and historical personas. Over his lifetime, he loses his mother, his first love, and two children-- these tragedies often leaving fictional Lincoln suicidal. As each of his loved ones passes, Henry offers to turn them, and Lincoln always refuses. It's a twisted irony
that a man eager for death, and against the interruption of Death’s passage through vampirism, should be fated to endure life forever.