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Literature / The Last American Vampire

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Did you wonder what happened to Henry Sturges and his end-of-book companion after the events of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter? Seth Grahame-Smith did, and tells the reader about it in the 2015 sequel, The Last American Vampire.

In between events from 1865 to the present day, in which Henry pretty much Forrest Gumps his way through major historical events, he tells the reader about his pre-Lincoln life. Well, the parts he remembers well, anyway. He also has to deal with a Big Bad going under the name "A. Grander VIII", who's working on wiping out the "good guy" vampires like Henry to clear the way for some major manipulations of human events for the benefit of the "bad guy" vampires.


This novel provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Armor-Piercing Response: Henry broaches the possibility of making Mark Twain a vampire so he can continue to write for centuries to come, but Twain refuses, telling Henry "A fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time." This shakes Henry out of the decades-long idleness he'd been feeling since Abe's supposed death.
  • Been There, Shaped History: If Henry's narration is to be believed, he and various associates played significant behind-the-scenes roles in just about every major event from 1865 forward, except for the Titanic. He claims to be the one who blew up the Hindenburg.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Many historical characters were really vampires. Besides Abe Lincoln, there's John Wilkes Booth, Rasputin, Jack the Ripper, Virginia Dare, and Howard Hughes. Also, The Untouchables were really Henry and Abe helping Elliot Ness. Humans that associate with vampires include Nikola Tesla, Bram Stoker, Mark Twain, Theodore Roosevelt, J. Edgar Hoover, Herbert Hoover, and Lee Harvey Oswald. Henry speculates that William Shakespeare may have been a vampire.
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  • Chekhov's Skill: Henry's bodyguard tells him that, contrary to popular belief, a newborn vampire can survive in the sun.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Henry inflicts this on John Wilkes Booth after Abe's assassination. At least part of it involved ripping out Booth's spinal column, one vertebrae at a time, while Booth was still alive.
  • Dying Race: The number of vampires in the world goes into serious decline following the Civil War. At the time of Henry's meeting with John D. Rockefeller in 1920, the number of vampires in America is estimated at around 300, with around a thousand more worldwide. By the time of his meeting with Howard Hughes in 1953, the number of American vampires was down to less than a hundred (Hughes claimed 93, to be exact).
  • Foregone Conclusion: Read Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter? Then you'll know that Lincoln didn't really die in the beginning of this book since in the epilogue of Vampire Hunter he's shown attending MLK's most famous speech.
  • Historical Domain Character: Most of the characters in the book, even Henry himself (see any list of Roanoke colonists).
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: Henry runs into this not only with his own maker, but with two people he turns. One of Henry's "kids" gets over it; the other, not so much.
    • Henry's antagonism with Virginia Dare actually has nothing to do with him making her a vampire; she asked him to do it. Instead, it's because of their opposing ideologies: Henry wants to protect America, and Virginia wants to destroy it.
  • Immune to Bullets: While it seemed to be the case during Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, here it's explained that bullets actually CAN kill vampires, you just need to use a LOT of them. It wasn't as much of an issue before and during the Civil War, when firearms were mostly limited to ball-and-powder muskets or single-shot pistols and rifles, but then machine-guns were invented...
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Henry is a big fan of the theater performances of Henry Irving and the literary works of Mark Twain, and is thrilled to meet both. His meeting with Irving is brief and uneventful, but he strikes up a years-long friendship with Twain.
  • The Older Immortal: In Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Henry mentions that most vampires don't live much past 300 years before becoming bored with life (or unlife). At the time of his death in 1898, Adam Plantagenet, the founder of the vampires' Union, was over 590 years old despite still looking like a teenager. By 2014, Henry is likely one of the oldest ones left, being just over 450 years old.
  • Rasputin the Mad Monk: Henry, along with Nikola Tesla, helps assassinate Rasputin, a seriously tough vampire himself.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Any vampire character once he/she passes natural human lifespan, of course. This is especially a problem for Alex (born Alexei Romanov), who was turned at about thirteen. He finds it necessary to employ a driver, since it's a nuisance to constantly get pulled over for appearing too young to drive.
  • Secret-Keeper: There are humans nicknamed "Renfields" who are employed by vampires as assistants. Apparently, Bram Stoker was one.
  • Unwanted Revival:
    • After Abe Lincoln was assassinated, Henry decided to steal his corpse and resurrect him as a vampire. Given how many days Abe had already been dead, Henry wasn't even sure it would work. It did, but Abe was furious about it and almost immediately tried to kill himself by jumping out a window into the sunlight.
    • Howard Hughes was killed in the test flight of one of his planes, but the American government decided he was too valuable a resource, and recruited another vampire to resurrect him the same way Henry resurrected Abe.note  Howard was not happy about this, and spent the next several years extensively studying vampire physiology in an attempt to develop a cure.
  • Vegetarian Vampire: Vampires can survive off animal blood, however it leaves them feeling perpetually run-down, as if suffering a constant case of the flu. Although many vampires are mentioned to do this occasionally, either because human blood is unavailable or to avoid drawing attention to themselves, few choose to do so exclusively. After World War II, Abe has had enough of killing, so he retires to a farm where he raises cattle that he also feeds off of. By the modern day, Henry gets his blood from blood-banks and keeps it stored in his fridge.
  • Wife Husbandry: Henry's second wife, whom he marries decades after his turning, is Virginia Dare, whom he raises after the Roanoke Colony is wiped out. They're two of the three survivors of that event, the third being the one who wiped out the colony and turned Henry.