Book Reviews / Fiction

Book Review: Unholy Night

Seth Grahame-Smith, the author of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” and “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer,” is coming back in a biblical sense with his new book “Unholy Night.”  Grahame-Smith brings a new hilarious twist to the Three Wise Men, three iconic men we know practically nothing about. At first I was hesitant, I’m not really a fan of bible based stories or religion in general but another bookseller at work raved about it. And when a bookseller suggests a book, it’s worth its weight in gold, frankincense, and myrrh!

Step aside Jesus, this missing chapter from the bible is all about Balthazar, a murderous thief also known as the “Antioch Ghost,” the Scourge of Rome and the Plunderer of the Eastern Empire. Balthazar jumps off the page and runs through the novel with a smirk on his face as fast as you can flip the pages.  After a theft gone wrong, Balthazar finds himself locked in King Herod’s dungeon with Gaspar (a criminal) and his partner in crime Melchyor (the finest swordsman in the empire).

After cleverly escaping the dungeon in the clothes of priests, they ride off on camels and stumble upon Mary and Joesph in the stables where they hoped to hide from soldiers. Balthazar can not help but laugh at Joesph as he introduces Mary, a virgin mother. The “Three Wise Men” chuckle and ask, “And you believe her?”

Those who are devoutly religious may want to avoid this book, considering it’s leading character is a man who does not believe in God and  every other character in shed in a very bad (but hilariously interesting) light. The only character to go unscathed is the newborn king, only heard cooing and crying like any normal baby. When the mad King Herod orders every male infant killed in fear of a prophecy, Balthazar has no choice but to haul them across the desert in order to find safety in Egypt.

Biblical figures appear along the way such as John the Baptist (described as a relative of Jesus who led a movement of baptism) and Pontius Pilate ( the judge at Jesus’ trial and the man who authorized the crucifixion of Jesus). With so much back story and so many characters, Grahame-Smith pulls plot strings from every direction and in the end weaves them into a flawless, finished … shroud … with the dusty, smirking face of the Antioch Ghost looking out at you.

Pre-order this book or pick it when it’s published on April 10th, 2012. ISBN: 978-044-656-3093

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