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Book review: UNHOLY NIGHT by Seth Grahame-Smith

| 3 September 2012 | Reply

Seth Grahame-Smith
Allen & Unwin, 2012

By Shane Pinnegar

An historical novel by the man who brought you “Pride & Prejudice & Zombies” and “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”, recently made into a Hollywood blockbuster, not to mention being co-creator and head writer of the TV series “The Hard Times Of R J Berger”, was never going to be boring, and in “Unholy Night” he re-dresses The Nativity dramatically…

The Three Wise Men, well they are murderers and thieves recently escaped from prison. King Herod is painted as a diseased and mad despot, while the great Fire of Rome is… well, let’s not give away any spoilers, eh.

What I can tell you is that as we follow the travails of Balthazar, master thief, damaged goods and a man not shy of running through a Roman or two if they get in his way, we meet the newly born Jesus and his parents Joseph & Mary. Due respect is shown to the couple – Grahame-Smith knows better than to incur a Christian Jihad upon his head – and they battle plagues, Herod’s Judean forces and the entire Roman army, including a spell-wielding zombie-summonsing magus, Pontius Pilate, and a murderous Admiral.

Its heady stuff, and written not as a comedy, but certainly with a wry smile and a keen wit. The story itself is fast paced, contains a bunch of twists and turns amidst it’s historical references, and does a very good job of evoking the period it is set in.

It’s not quite in the realm of a Tom Robbins or Christopher Moore novel – but it certainly follows similar thematic and structural ideals and is well worth a read, being neither disrespectful to, nor overtly preaching Christianity.

Category: Book Reviews

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