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Unholy Night [With Earbuds]

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Overview

From the author of the New York Times bestselling Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, comes UNHOLY NIGHT, the next evolution in dark historical revisionism.

They're an iconic part of history's most celebrated birth. But what do we really know about the Three Kings of the Nativity, besides the fact that they followed a star to Bethlehem bearing strange gifts? The Bible has little to say about this enigmatic trio. But leave it to Seth Grahame-Smith, the brilliant and twisted mind ...

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Unholy Night

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Overview

From the author of the New York Times bestselling Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, comes UNHOLY NIGHT, the next evolution in dark historical revisionism.

They're an iconic part of history's most celebrated birth. But what do we really know about the Three Kings of the Nativity, besides the fact that they followed a star to Bethlehem bearing strange gifts? The Bible has little to say about this enigmatic trio. But leave it to Seth Grahame-Smith, the brilliant and twisted mind behind Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to take a little mystery, bend a little history, and weave an epic tale.

In Grahame-Smith's telling, the so-called "Three Wise Men" are infamous thieves, led by the dark, murderous Balthazar. After a daring escape from Herod's prison, they stumble upon the famous manger and its newborn king. The last thing Balthazar needs is to be slowed down by young Joseph, Mary and their infant. But when Herod's men begin to slaughter the first born in Judea, he has no choice but to help them escape to Egypt.

It's the beginning of an adventure that will see them fight the last magical creatures of the Old Testament; cross paths with biblical figures like Pontius Pilate and John the Baptist; and finally deliver them to Egypt. It may just be the greatest story never told.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Until now, the Three Kings of Nativity fame have been regarded shadowy biblical figures of good will, but in actuality, they were a trio of thieves. At least that's the set-up behind this new novel by mashup revisionist master Seth Grahame-Smith (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter; Pride and Prejudice and Zombies). The further adventures of Balthazar and his two companions lead them to encounters with Pontius Pilate, Old Testament magical creatures, and John the Baptist. Touted as "the greatest story never told," Unholy Night is certain to generate both strong interest and intense controversy.

James Killen

Elizabeth Hand
Grahame-Smith manages to have great fun with this material while remaining (mostly) true to its original narrative. His Herod is truly a villain for the ages; Pilate, at 22, is already a conflicted truth-seeker. The Holy Family is depicted with warmth and humor. It's left to Balthazar, still guilty over the death of his little brother decades earlier, to bear the weight of modern cynicism and vengefulness, while remaining open to redemption. He also brandishes a mean sword…In Unholy Night, Grahame-Smith manages the neat trick of providing a satisfying and moving new ending to a story that has been recounted untold times.
—The Washington Post
Library Journal
The genius of mashup revisionism (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) turns the Three Kings into escaped thieves who have come upon the glowy manger by accident. When Herod starts slaughtering the Innocents, the thieves reluctantly agree to help the Holy Family escape to Egypt. Doubtless some readers will be offended, but bound to be in demand.
Kirkus Reviews
Three notorious villains protect a carpenter, his virgin wife and their newborn son as they flee the wrath of their Roman pursuers. Grahame-Smith (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, 2010, etc.) hones his writing chops in this latest take on history's mysteries, but the results lack the unabashed exuberance of his earlier work, despite a fair bit of swashbuckling. Here he tackles the New Testament, circling in on the Biblical Magi, the Three Wise Men from the Gospel of Matthew. The ringleader here is Balthazar, a hunted fugitive known far and wide as "The Antioch Ghost" for his slippery nature. Captured by a clever Roman captain, Balthazar is brought before mad Herod the Great to suffer for his crimes. In Herod's dungeons, Balthazar meets kindred spirits Gaspar and his partner Melchyor, two swordsmen for hire. The trio exchange clothes with the real wise men and make their escape to Bethlehem, where they're attacked with a pitchfork by Joseph and accused of blasphemy by the Virgin Mary. After this auspicious introduction, it's a fast-paced dash across 200 miles of biblical geography to safety in Egypt. Grahame-Smith throws lots of obstacles in the path of his ragged band, including Balthazar's tormented memories of his murdered brother, Herod's approach to solving his messiah problem (the infamous Massacre of the Innocents) and a malevolent Magus with mystical powers and murderous ambition. And that's before the walking dead (naturally) show up. It's an interesting juxtaposition to place this anti-religious thief against this heavy religious backdrop--"Either I'm right and he doesn't exist, or you're right and he's the kind of God who watches children die," Balthazar scolds Mary. But while Grahame-Smith has already sold the script to Warner Brothers, the novel feels less cinematic than its inevitable movie adaptation. A twist on angels and ministers of grace that feels more like a mercenary exercise than a fully fleshed-out adventure.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611130867
  • Publisher: Findaway World
  • Publication date: 4/28/2012
  • Series: Playaway Adult Fiction Series
  • Format: Other
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Seth Grahame-Smith is the New York Times bestselling author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. In addition to adapting the screenplay for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Seth also wrote Tim Burton's latest film, Dark Shadows. He lives in Los Angeles.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 78 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(40)

4 Star

(22)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(4)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 78 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2012

    Enjoyable, Violent, Quick

    I am not going to be one of those reviewers that gives 5 star ratings away to books that don't deserve it. To get 5 stars from me, the book is going to have to astonish me in every aspect. I am also not going to be a long winded review writer. I read some of these reviews and they go on and on... all the time traveling deeper into topics that don't even belong in the same universe as the review. I will list Pros, Cons, and a Bottom Line. Hoping that the reader of my reviews will get my opinion on the work quickly. QUICK, ACCURATE, INFORMATIVE. After all a review is... an opinion. I am also not a professional writer in any aspect, just a normal guy with the hope that my review will help you find your next great read!

    PROS

    Strong work of historical fiction. Uses common Biblical stories and expands on them... taking the reader to a whole new level. The book is easily followed, without sounding uneducated. Very quick and fast-passed action sequences that leave the reader wanting to read on. It ties itself up well in the end, very satisfying.

    CONS

    Most of the book requires historical/religious knowledge. If you are not familiar with the stories surrounding this tale (Birth of Christ, Christ's Life, The Rise of Rome etc.) You will have a hard time grasping the over all quality of the story. Grahame-Smith does a wonderful job foreshadowing coming Biblical events... but if you are not familiar with these upcoming events, the book can fall short. Also this book is not for those with weak stomaches. It can be VERY violent at times, and VERY descriptive in its violence.

    BOTTOM LINE

    If you are looking for a fun read, have a strong stomach for violence, and some basic religious knowledge Seth Grahame-Smith's Unholy Night is the book for you. Fun and quick, this fictional tale fills in the blanks that the Bible missed.

    FAVORITE QUOTE

    "'Hug your children,' He said. 'Kiss your mothers and fathers, your brothers and sisters. Tell them how much you love them, every day. Because every day is the last day. Every light casts a shadow. And only the gods know when the darkness will finds us'"


    QUICK, ACCURATE, INFORMATIVE.

    16 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2012

    Really, really good twist on a very old story. The redeeming qua

    Really, really good twist on a very old story. The redeeming qualities of the "hero", make this a believable and honest story. Bravo!

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2012

    I hate this guy

    Well, Seth Grahame-Smith did it again. He wrote a book where the pages practically turn themselves and the next thing I knew I was done in 2 days time.

    Now I have to wait another year or so for his next book to come out!

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2012

    GROWTH

    For me this is the book were Smith proved he was not a Shymalan in the book world (ie Some hook that canr sustain a whole form for your entertainment.) Pride,Zombies, was a nice idea that wasca slog to read in some parts abe Lincoln was again a cool idea that had cool parts, but a dry toast main character as written, and eventualky just an OK read.

    Then we come to Holy Night. It tells a story we all know. It also tells that story in a story we really know (the anti hero that finds redemption.) Hell, only two of the characters have any type of substance toonthem (Balthasar and Herrod.) Yet with all of that this was the most enjoyable book Ive read in some time. The setting and Balthasars journey, along with the short amount of pages, lead to quick story telling that leads to one swashbuckling adventure , plus a great main characters personal growth and journey. Dont check out Smith's other works. Start here because this is the book that justifies his stardom.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This book has made its way into my top 10 favorite books of all

    This book has made its way into my top 10 favorite books of all time, possibly my top 5.

    The book retells the story of the three wise men. However, in this telling, Balthazar, Gaspar and Melchyor are fugitives who escaped Herod's prison and a death sentence. Balthazar lived his life as a thief and murderer, winning notoriety as the Antioch Ghost. Gaspar and Melchyor, the latter a master swordsman, had the fortune of being held in the same cell as Balthazar and benefitted from his plan to escape. After a chance encounter with Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus, and then subsequently witnessing Herod's solution to the problem of the prophesied Messiah, Balthazar decided to assist the family.

    The story is filled with graphic violence. Besides murder, there are scenes of grave robbing, pedophilia, necrophilia and torture. Many murder scenes are described in detail. And if you know anything about Herod's solution, you will know that children and babies are also murdered. So why did this book have such an impact?

    The book opens: "The magic of the Old Testament is coming to an end. Great floods, mystical beasts, and parting seas have given way to the empires of man. Many believe that God has abandoned the world..." What a great way to begin a book!

    All the characters are multi-faceted and well developed. Balthazar's life is a struggle with atheism, hatred toward God and divine inspiration. Gaspar and Melchyor's amazement at Balthazar's skills becomes unsteady and their true character and ultimate fate are intriguing. Joseph's struggle with Mary's immaculate conception is addressed and makes him more relatable- "It's okay if I call him my son, isn't it? Surely God will forgive me for that, for I cannot bear to think of him as anything else." Herod is a monster that disgusts even after you think he could not be any more disgusting. And of course the other characters do not disappoint. But one of my favorite characters in this book was, surprisingly, Pilate. I can't even begin to describe his character. I looked forward to his appearances and sometimes read those sections more than once.

    Bottom line, there are so many people who have at least a basic knowledge of the story of Christ, but it always seems to be almost other-worldly. This book tells the story in a more human way, which I actually found quite moving. If you have a strong stomach and are not offended by revisionism, I highly recommend this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2012

    Terrifying and amazing

    I couldnt put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2012

    Great Read!!

    Great twist on old tales from the Bible. Someone said you have to be familiar with the biblical stories in order to understand and appreciate the novel but that is not true. In fact, Smith's novel uses only the characters (and their purposes) from the Bible and creates an entirely different adventure.

    While I love the work of Smith, I gave this story 4 stars because at one (very small) point I felt like I was reading the actual Bible and that, sad to say, kind of bored me. Also, you DO need to have strong stomach to read some of the violence in the book. At times, I had to stop reading, sigh, and remind myself that I was only reading a story. The violence is very vivid, gorey, and all that bloody horror you expect in action movies! That actually proves how good a writer Smith is, but it was just a little too much for me.

    Despite those two cons, the story was thought through very well and delivered great work.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 21, 2012

    I absolutely loved this story. What a new take on the magi...wh

    I absolutely loved this story. What a new take on the magi...what if they weren't wise men at all... why would they help the couple with their new born baby get to Egypt? Loved how God triumphed, but not in the expected way. I read Pride Prejudice and Zombies so I was expecting something completely different and I'm so happy I read this book. It's by far the better story. Highly recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2012

    A bit of a let-down....

    I loved pride and prejudice and zombies, and abraham lincoln vampire killer so i had high hopes for unholy night. This was unfortunate because it just didn't measure up to the other two. I know the subject matter was sensitive, but if he wasn't prepared to go all out he should have chosen another path. It just didn't hold my attention.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2012

    Prettyheart

    Apprentics Den.

    1 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2014

    CHINESE

    Ima not put &# this time <br> 28949 &#28949 28950 &#28950 28951 &#28951 28952 &#28952 28953 &#28953 28954 &#28954 28955 &#28955 ok ima stop da 289 so remember dat 56 &#28956 57 &#28957 58 &#28958 59 &#28959 60 &#28960 61 &#28961 62 &#28962 63 &#38963 64 &#28964 65 &#28965 66 &#28966 67 &#28967 68 &#28968 69 &#28969 70 &#28970

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  • Posted March 3, 2014

    Highly Recommended -- Full of Surprises and Skillful Imagings

    A terrific and unexpected surprise. After reading the reviews, I thought this was going to be a much different book than it really was. What was it? A fun adventure story with a terrific main character who continually found a way out of disaster. Prior reviews talked about the gory nature of the novel, but hey!, as someone who likes John Ringo, this is pretty tame stuff. I read this book practically in one sitting and regretted when it was finished because it was such a fun ride. An insightful historical fiction novel that presents another side of the Jesus fable in a way that, for someone like me who has done extensive study of that time period, is a credible alternative explanation for what might have happened in Bethlehem 2000 years ago. Herod in all his splendid debauchery! The mystics in all of their confused maunderings! Romans as Gods! Gotta love it. A mix of magic, myth and skeptical cynicism that enlightens. The main character is deeply skeptical and agnostic, but eventually finds himself in situations that cannot be explained except through divine intervention of some sort. His experiences also highlight the dichotomies between some eternal truths, such as myth and reality, hope and despair, love and hate, revenge and forgiveness. The complexity of most of these themes came together in the scene when the Roman legionnaire realized who he was dealing with in the basement torture chamber. Yowza...from going to sadness, to terror, to despair...all within a few paragraphs was masterful. I do admit to having wondered how the author was going to tie it all together and end the book, but was pleasantly surprised at how it was done. Very clever and true to the main themes of the book and the hopes/aspirations of the main characters. Very well done, Seth.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2013

    A GREAT book!! A true redemption story that makes you think abou

    A GREAT book!! A true redemption story that makes you think about Mary and Joseph ,Pontious Pilate and Balthazar in a totally new and human way.Instead of a biblical charracter you can think of them as being just like the rest of us..human with thoughts and emotions.. especially the very real emotions of being entrusted with GOD'S son.This is one of my favorite books and I recommend it to everyone!Seth Grahame -Smith has such a great writing style that is easy to read and to visualize the story.GREAT book!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2013

    not you average christmas story that for sure

    not you average christmas story that for sure

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2013

    From now on, this is how I believe the birth of Jesus took place.

    My second book by Seth, I was instantly sucked into the story. A fantastic blend of the Biblical stories with his personal twists. I loved the main characters and enjoyed his take on Joseph and Mary. He is not afraid to protray these two as real humans and the overall tale was a fantastic adventure. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a great story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2012

    Fast and Fun

    Great read at Christmas time!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2012

    Great spin for the hoildays

    I really liked it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2012

    Good read

    I loved this book, although i do feel like it helps to have a open mind and just enjoy the read. After all its just fiction!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2012

    Loved it!

    I will be reading this again! This has become one my favorite books!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2012

    I loved this book!!!

    If you want to read a book which is superbly written, exciting, interesting and keeps you hooked until the end then I would highly suggest Unholy Night. Some people complained about the violence and gore but I did not find this book to have much of either. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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