The Last American Vampire

The Last American Vampire

by Seth Grahame-Smith

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Overview

Vampire Henry Sturges returns in the highly anticipated sequel to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter—a sweeping, alternate history of twentieth-century America by New York Times bestselling author Seth Grahame-Smith.

THE LAST AMERICAN VAMPIRE

In Reconstruction-era America, vampire Henry Sturges is searching for renewed purpose in the wake of his friend Abraham Lincoln's shocking death. Henry's will be an expansive journey that first sends him to England for an unexpected encounter with Jack the Ripper, then to New York City for the birth of a new American century, the dawn of the electric era of Tesla and Edison, and the blazing disaster of the 1937 Hindenburg crash.

Along the way, Henry goes on the road in a Kerouac-influenced trip as Seth Grahame-Smith ingeniously weaves vampire history through Russia's October Revolution, the First and Second World Wars, and the JFK assassination.

Expansive in scope and serious in execution, THE LAST AMERICAN VAMPIRE is sure to appeal to the passionate readers who made Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter a runaway success.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455502110
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 09/01/2015
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 111,796
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

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

Reading Group Guide

Barnes & Noble Review Interview with Seth Grahame- Smith

What is your earliest memory of writing a story?

My mother went back to college to finish her degree when I was seven or eight. I remember her bringing home a pile of these blue examination books — little notebooks with lined pages — for me to scribble in. I set out to make each little book its own story. One, I remember, was about a stuffed clown that came to life at night.

When and where do you write? What does your workspace look like?

My producing partner and I have an office where we work on our film and television projects. I'm typically there, Monday through Friday, at my desk, surrounded by framed photos, vintage movie cameras, and collectable toys, writing with headphones on and movie soundtracks blaring. On the weekends, I work in a home office. I think it's important to treat writing as you would any other job. Rain or shine, sick or healthy, "feeling it" or not, you show up and do it.

When creating a variation on the life and work of a figure like Jane Austen or Abraham Lincoln, how do you research them as subjects? How do you immerse yourself in the past in which they lived?

As absurd as the concepts are, I try to be authentic. I begin by reading as many examples of their writing as I can. With Jane Austen, the biggest challenge was mimicking her very particular rhythms and constructions, and capturing the way people spoke in Regency England. With Abe, I read countless letters and speeches, again trying to capture his voice. I also read several Lincoln- centric books, including Gore Vidal's Lincoln and Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals, to learn more about the character of the man and predict how he would react in the ridiculous situations I put him in.

There's a line oft-quoted online from Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: "I fear that a life of death has made me numb to both." Has writing horror with a sense of humor changed your views of life and death? Has it made you more or less numb to their prospects?

I think becoming a parent changed my views on life and death more than writing. My wife and I had just had our first child around the time I wrote ALVH, and a lot of those new, powerful paternal feelings were reflected in Abe's journal entries about his sons. When he becomes a father, Abe realizes that there are fates worse than his own death — namely, any harm befalling his children.

The Last American Vampire is something of an epic in scope, spanning the Reconstruction era to the late 1930s, with an enormous cast of famous characters. Would you have any interest in one day writing a story of comparable size set in the present day? What stories of now lend themselves to your themes of eternal life and grand adventure?

I'm not sure. Epic is easier when you're writing about vampires. There are authors who do scope much better than I do. David McCullough could write about making breakfast and make it feel epic.

Aside from your own, what are your favorite horror stories?

Wow. Leaving aside Stephen King, who would take up about fifty spots on the list, some of my favorites are Something Wicked This Way Comes, NOS4A2, House of Leaves, Hell House, Ghost Story, and The Haunting of Hill House, to name a few.

In terms of comedy, are there particular writers (or performers) who are a discernible influence on you?

It sounds like a copout, but the truth is, everyone from Buster Keaton to Patton Oswalt. I grew up during the so-called "Alt Comedy" boom, and I'm a huge fan of sketch and stand-up. I listen to Marc Maron's WTF podcast religiously. I think some of the best emerging comedy writers and directors are working for sites like Funny or Die.

Having seen your own work adapted for film and "in development, "what does the average moviegoer not understand about filmmaking? What would surprise them about the process of creating a film?

How slowly the process moves, and how many voices there are in it. When you write a novel, it's just you and your editor. It's as pure a distillation of your intent that you can get. You're in charge. In film, the writer is a servant of many masters: the studio, the director, the producers, in some cases the actors, all of whom have a say in the script. There are also other considerations — economics, competing projects, release dates — that are totally beyond your control.

Is there a genre or type of writing that you've not attempted but would like to try your hand at? What haven't you yet done that you want to do as a writer?

Absolutely. Part of the challenge of having success in one area — in my case, "mash-ups" — is that it begins to define you. Fans of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter might be turned off if I suddenly came out with a quiet character study devoid of bloodshed. That said, you can't approach a book thinking about sales. That's for other people to worry about. You have to write what you're most excited about in the moment, whether it's sci-fi, or fantasy, or horror, and hope people respond to it as much as you do.

What is the best advice you've received as an artist?

Never do anything for the money, and never, ever read the comments section.

January 13, 2015

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The Last American Vampire 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Caroles_Random_Life More than 1 year ago
Entertaining read! 4 Stars! This book first came to my attention because of the cover which I absolutely love. I really enjoyed reading this book. I found some sections of the book were amazingly good while other sections seemed a bit tedious for me. Overall, I liked it and found it to be a worthwhile read. This is the first book by Seth Grahame-Smith that I have had a chance to read and while this is listed as a follow up book to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, I thought it read just fine as a stand alone novel. I can't remember reading any other book that would be classified as an alternative history before reading this book so I went in not knowing what I should expect. I was not surprised that the book included a long list of important historical figures and events from the past several hundred years. I really enjoyed how so many people from the past found their way into this story. The author choose very well know people and events to include in this story and it was fun to imagine the possibilities. I was a bit surprised by the style used to write this book. This book read very similarly to books that I remember from history class packed with photos, footnotes, and excerpts. I could not believe the number of footnotes that were a part of this novel. Sometimes, I felt like the footnotes didn't add anything to the story but just gave a tedious unrelated detail. I didn't mind that the book was written with footnotes but I do wish that only ones that really added to the story were included. The photos included in the book were really fun and I thought that they really brought a lot to the book. There were a lot of excerpts from Henry's journal so the voice the story was told in shifted often. This book told the story of Henry Struges. Henry Struges was a close friend of Abraham Lincoln and I believe he had a major role in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Henry Struges is also a vampire and has been one for quite some time. This book focuses on his life and his encounters with many historical people and events. This book focuses mostly on the period of after the civil war until present day with some focus being given to the very beginning of our nation, actually when the English first started to settle in the New World. One of the main problems that I had with the book was that it read very much like a compilation of short stories. We would learn about one event in Henry's life and then move on to the next with only a very small thread holding everything together. I would have liked to see everything tie together more strongly. It was very nice to read a vampire book that had absolutely no focus on romance. I would recommend this book to others that like a good vampire tale especially fans of Seth Graham-Smith. This is the first book by Seth Graham-Smith that I have read and I do plan to read more by this author. I received a copy of this book from Grand Central Publishing via Net Galley for the purpose of providing an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a history teacher and vampire fan this was a lot of fun to read.Like in his first book Seth is able to take real events and place a vampie link that almost seems possible. I was sorry to see the book come to an end.
bluekaren More than 1 year ago
I got this book because I love the cover, and I love vampires. The Last American Vampire is the story of Henry Sturges. It is complete and covers the entire adventures of this vampire. This book had so many historical figures and facts it almost sounded as if it was written by someone who had been there. I didn’t realize this book had anything to do with Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, which I didn’t read or see. This book is a sort of spin off of that book, from what I understand. I honestly didn’t read that book, or see the movie, because I was afraid it would be poking a bit of fun at Lincoln. Lincoln is not someone I want to see made fun of. Luckily, this book (and I imagine Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) didn’t make fun of Lincoln at all. Lincoln is the most beloved character, other than Henry himself, in this book. This book paints the entire picture of Henry Sturges. From his life before becoming a vampire to his rise to infamy as one of the oldest vampires remaining today. Henry comes over as one of the original English settlers in America. His vampirism takes him into every major war and gains him a captive audience with every single president from Lincoln on. There is a lot of name dropping this book. Henry meets almost everyone who was ever important and has influence on them or is influenced by them. This book imagines Bram Stoker, Nikola Tesla, Eliot Ness, Howard Hughes, Rasputin, Mark Twain, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jack the Ripper, Teddy Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Arthur Conan Doyle, Lee Harvey Oswald, Hitler, Abraham Lincoln and so many more. This book sounds less like fiction and more like facts as seen by a person who lived through the ages. I loved all the history in this book, even if it was told by a fictional character. I found this book completely engrossing. What did it for me was the shift in periods, the flashbacks, the introduction of new historical figures. I enjoyed the writing style overall. There were a few almost diary like entries which were a bit unnecessary. To me, at least. I don’t think they took anything away from the story, but they might be confusing for some people. (I did receive and eARC, so they might not be so confusing in the final edition). This type of writing won’t work for everyone. But for the people who want a grand adventure (about 400 years worth) with a really cool vampire this story will fulfill better than most others. This book includes so many people it was like actually being there. I really enjoyed the mix of horror, history, and comedy. Somehow the author made this all pull together into one novel and it was pure entertainment. I loved this book and will definitely be looking for more from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a good book. I really enjoy his writing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This reads like a history book. Book 1 was great. This book was boring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thx guys
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely one I'll never forget, the details, history facts, pictures just makes this book even more alluring. Great twist to the vampire genre. Must read!
Fortunate1 More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Goldylox
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the way the author threads history in his books to give it realism, while keeping the story alive with crazy adventures. I hope this is not the end of our favorite vampire since Lestat.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Andrew_of_Dunedin More than 1 year ago
I think it's safe to say that the majority of viewers enjoyed Forrest Gump.  Picture this quiet and unassuming man, present at – and occasionally inadvertently contributing to – some of the 20th century's most iconic moments, and meeting some of the people that made the century what it became. Now, let's take that same concept and twist it around a little – no, a lot.  To begin with, let's take away the tangential connection between the protagonist and events – let him take an active role in actually shaping history, especially American history.  Then, take away the limitations of time – instead of beginning with the 1950s, let's go all the way back to the first American colonies.  How – employ the immortality (and other aspects) of vampirism.   “The Last American Vampire”, by Seth Grahame-Smith, is a follow-up to the author's successful “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter”.  A strong supporting character in the first novel, vampire Henry Sturges, takes the lead for this epic novel, spanning approximately 400 years of American and world history.  Grahame-Smith allows us glimpses into the lives – and occasionally, deaths – and very occasionally, rebirths – of various historical characters from that vast time period. Much of the novel centers around some of the great historical mysteries of the past 4 centuries.  What DID happen to the colonists at Roanoke?  What was the real story and motivation behind Jack the Ripper?  And was there a conspiracy behind the assassination of John F. Kennedy?  Most importantly, the novel addresses the concept of “What IS an American?  What IS the American Spirit?”  And, who better to address that ideal than someone who has lived through the entirety of it? HOWEVER … I found one major frustration in this book.  Our main antagonist … I never did learn just what motivated this character to get involved in events.  What drove this person from who they were at their beginning to evolve – or revolve – into the person they became?  I picked up a hint or two, but it never seemed to me that the author was interested in their motivation, nor the factors that led them to change from their initial appearance to the plotter & schemer they became.  (It is extremely difficult to write this without providing a spoiler – I trust I succeeded for those who have not yet read the book.) I am VERY glad that I took the time to read this book – or in my case, listen to the audio rendition.  Despite it's one glaring hole, I enjoyed it very much.  I hope to see Henry Sturges again in a future work, providing the author can come up with a fresh take on him and on his circumstances. RATING: 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 stars where appropriate.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author has a wonderful talent for interweaving history with Henry's story. Makes you rethink history.
IndianaReaderRM More than 1 year ago
Very fun, creative read. Drops the main character, centuries old vampire Henry Sturges into many points in History to intersect with the likes of Jack the Ripper, Abe Lincoln, the Hindenburg Tragedy, the Lusitania and more. Along the lines of Forrest Gump so if you don't enjoy fictionalized history, skip this one. But I enjoyed the adventures. 
amybooksy More than 1 year ago
The Last American Vampire is quite a bit different book than I am used to. It was kind of fun to go through history and see the author's take of possible vampires among the famous people we have heard about through the years. The book was kind of comical at times and I couldn't help to laugh at some areas. I did not care for some of the language and I could have done without the sexual scenes. I give this book 3 1/2 stars.
ktgahagan22 More than 1 year ago
nice follow up so far. only first 3 chapters
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He's written better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tries to ask for your credit card information. The book is completely different from the real sample.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The way Smith put history and vampires makes this book fun and exciting for all whether you are into the vampire genre or not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been one for 5 years if you dont belive that i am not write back to THE KIM
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And with illustrations . Therefore must be the second worst book about vampires and lincoln. Dont believe me get at library and see for yourself waste of money and time . No need to leave library scan cover flap blurb first and middle chapter and end chapter. Most avid readers can scan so should take ten minutes eg first sentence in chapter and maybe last sentence
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Are u girl or boy? If ur a boy than sure ur a vampire, if ur a girl ur an embusa, they are like vampires but supr cute and have one brass leg. Dont belive me read percy jakson
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like blood... Rahh!