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.
©2010 Seth Grahame-Smith (P)2010 Hachette Audio
While I did like the way he wove history with fantasy, it was kind of dry and if I had been reading I probably would have stopped in the middle - I'm not that strong a reader anyway, and that's why I love audio.
He got the essential elements correct, history, manner of speaking and writing for the times and all that. Perhaps that is why I thought it rather dry.
All that said, it is clever and worth a look for those who love the time period of history and vampire stories.
I used a credit on this book during one of my long drives back from Philadelphia to Oklahoma as a joke listen. Surely, I thought, this can't be what it says.
Well, it's exactly what the title says and it's delivered in superb fashion. The fictional narrative is intertwined so seamlessly with actual Lincoln facts and truth that it's almost hypnotic at points.
Just a brilliant concept and delivery.
After the success of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, it's no surprise that ALVH was enthusiastically received by Seth-Grahame-Smith fans. With the bold and ambitious premise that Honest Abe was a clandestine vampire hunter who kept a secret journal, Grahame-Smith takes his fans on another crazy and clever adventure that may have you re-thinking the history you thought you knew (and earning him some new fans), because this time around, it's personal, and G-Smith provides some eerily convincing arguments for this conceit--the 16th president's own words. Well, maybe not verbatim, and perhaps there are some artistic liberties taken...
Even though there is plenty of axing and staking going on, true horror fans (especially vampire afficionados) may not get their fix from ALVH. In spite of the gore galore, you must imagine the distinguished Mr. Lincoln's somber journaling of his killing of four score and twenty vampires--ebullient he's not. Readers will either find the unanimated tone engaging or unappealing. Those expecting an action-packed thriller will be disappointed. G-Smith's strength here is combining fact and fiction, and creating an atmosphere of authenticity. I found the interesting history, and a good solid performance by Scott Holst was enough to keep me engaged.
A note to my Audible friends: it's too bad visuals can't be included with audio!! Just in case you doubt Honest Abe, or the veracity of Mr Grahame-Smith...do yourself a favor and go to Amazon.com and look at the photographs that are included in the printed book!!! Ewww-Ahhh-Haaaa!
The perfect mix of fact and fiction. Really good and entertaining story. If you are looking for a good audiobook to capture your imagination and take you too an old world with a new twist look no further. I also found the narrator very good and enjoyable to listen to.
I absolutely loved this book. Who would have ever thought the historical truths of Abraham Lincoln and a rip-roaring vampire hunting adventure would go together so well. It's not written tongue-in-cheek at all even though the concept is so crazy. The serious nature of the writing, mimicking a historical biography in tone, manages to suspend your disbelief even as vampires are axed and slaves are drained of blood. Even with all the crazy stuff, the history is quite genuine which makes me feel like I'm learning something real about one of America's greatest presidents even as I thrill with the vampire hunting episodes.Grahame-Smith weaves the two together so that one minute you're hearing about Lincoln's debates with Stephen Douglas and the next minute Lincoln is off hunting another blood-sucker in the night.
The narration was pretty good but it didn't stand out as strongly as the story. The narrator does manage to give Lincoln the kind of speech you'd expect from him even though the book isn't written with archaic language. After finishing this book I was simultaneously excited to listen to another Grahame-Smith book, find a "real" biography of Lincoln, and see the movie version!
What to complain about? Well, if you don't like vampire stories or horror then you shouldn't try this one. If you can't wrap your brain around the concept of re-imagining a historic figure like this, then you'll probably never suspend your disbelief and you'll hate it. If you only read non-fiction, you may be offended by such a fanciful take. However, if you can enjoy serious history as well as not-so-serious fantasy, this mishmash of styles might be right up your alley. It certainly was for me.
Husband, Dad, Principal, Adjunct prof, RC Deacon, radio co-host, story teller, NYer, walker, & occasional sipper of fine whisk(e)y,
It was written in such a style that I bought the conceit: hook, line, & sinker!
Lincoln of course! Honest Abe took no prisoners.
What a great listen! Get it BEFORE you see the movie!
I would listen again. The story is compelling, and the central metaphor (vampirism=slavery) is well structured. The characters are engaging, but this book does not pretend to be anything but what it was intended to be: a lot of fun.
His meetings with Edgar Allen Poe were a delightful element.
I am not overly familiar with the narrator.
Edgar Allen Poe. I just imagine that, as long as you could pay the bar tab, that man would tell some durn cool stories.
Listen/read the book before the movie spoils it for you!
The well thought through mixture of real facts and fantasy
Haven't listened to any of his previous performances, but i liked this one a lot, really brought the story to life.
Henry Sturges, the vampire, a dark character, but yet many times showing interesting views on life and world around.
To start with, i really liked the premise of a vampire story based around an actual historic person. The story didn't fail to entertain throughout, in many ways far super-seeding the expectations.
Ans the performance of narrator just helped further to suck you in this story and never wanting to stop listening.
One of the best historical/gothic/horror novels ever written! FIVE STARS for Seth Grahame-Smith! OMG! I couldn't stop listening! And the narration by Scott Holst was a perfect match for this book! ~ A promise: it'll change your thoughts of Lincoln forever!
You'll find me chattering and chasing shiny things.
I read the reviews, and thought this may have been better than "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" but felt it suffered from the same downfall.
The Vampire Stuff. It just felt shoehorned in. Like this was a biography of Lincoln and the author said hmmmmmmmm... I think we could throw a vampire in here... and here... and here... Absolutely no flow, whatsoever.
However it also had same upside as P&P&Z - as that inspired me to read *all* of Jane Austen's books. And really, that's the only reason this book is getting three stars from me: it might stir kids' interest in history. The book includes plenty of quotes from historical figures about Lincoln and by Lincoln himself, plus facts about his life. That writing alone would have made this an enjoyable biography.
What this book reminds me of, though, is those dishes from the 50's that incorporated all kinds of vegetables in jell-o. We want to get kids to eat veggies, so we'll suspend them in this sweet, jiggly medium! Genius!
Then you bite into it.
As for the narrator, Scott Holst - decent voice, good pronunciation, however I think he may have been hampered by the writing, as he sounded sort of stilted and choppy in many places.
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