In a trendspotting mashup, Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Chronicle) has hit the bestseller lists, currently third in the NY Times and ranking #11 in Amazon sales. The author combined the original (out-of-copyright) text by Jane Austen with expanded sections of flesh-eating and martial arts, and illustrations in the style of C.E. Brock. In this new version, England is under a decades-long zombie plague, with London a walled city and militia in the countryside keeping the zombies at bay. Elizabeth Bennet possesses not only the expected unimpeachable manners and etiquette, but also martial arts skills worthy of a zombie slayer: “The creature advanced, and Elizabeth landed a devastating chop across its thighs. The limbs broke off, and the unmentionable fell to the ground, helpless . . . Elizabeth found herself at last within view of the house, with weary ankles, dirty stockings, and a face glowing with the warmth of exercise.”
Grand Central has now signed Grahame-Smith to a two-book deal, starting with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, worth possibly as much as $575,000, though the amount has not been confirmed by the publisher.