The Last American Vampire by Seth Grahame-Smith

Just as certain fictional characters hold a dear place in my heart (Sherlock Holmes being an example); so too do certain types of fictional characters. I admit to having a long time fondness for vampires in all their myriad shapes and forms. From the original vampires in Dracula and Carmilla to the newest incarnations in The Strain novels, I continue to find myself profoundly fascinated by them. So when I learned there was to be a sequel to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and the story would center on the enigmatic vampire Henry Sturges, I was thrilled.

The Last American Vampire by Seth Grahame-Smith follows Henry Sturges immediately following the death of his friend and protege Abraham Lincoln. He is not alone in mourning the death of his friend though as the country also mourns its President. Without Lincoln, Henry must once again try to find some kind of purpose in his undead life.

It is at this time that I am sure some of my readers are going ‘Now wait a moment….’ and believe me, I too had pause when I read the book jacket originally. All I can say is trust me dear Reader, all is explained in time.

With no reason to remain in America, Henry decides to return to his original place of birth – England. However he is soon called back to the States where he learns a mysterious someone has been killing vampires and its only a matter of time before they come after him.

From the Victorian era to modern(ish) day America, Henry sees history happen as only a vampire can; first hand. Along the way he meets friend and foe alike, from Nicola Tesla to Mark Twain, and from Jack the Ripper to Rasputin. If it had a major impact on history, then somehow Henry had a hand in it and a front row seat.

Supposedly narrated by Sturges to Grahame-Smith, the book has a bit of an Interview with the Vampire feel. Something Grahame-Smith himself makes mention of in the opening chapters when he is describing how the book came to be. There is also a tiny side plot with Sturges, his vampire sire and a child that also feels a touch familiar and I am sure the reader will notice it when they see it.

Like his other novels, Grahame-Smith has a gift for weaving stories. Here he seamlessly meshes real history with fantasy in a way that is completely plausible. Real life individuals are true to what history knows of them although admittedly a few have been given a minor tweak or two to fit in with the story line. There are also a few pictures scattered throughout that have been given the same treatment.

Having greatly enjoyed the first book, I was excited to learn of the second. It continues the story in a way that should appeal to a variety of readers. It is a sweeping tale covering decades of history in a most amusing manner. Personally I loved it and will definitely be reading it again.

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