From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
Before we get to the intro, Grahame-Smith gives us three simple facts that boil down to: vampires are real, and though no one else knows this, Abe Lincoln hunted them.
Good to know.
Moving right along to the introduction.
Each chapter begins with a quote from a Lincoln speech or writing, which often hints at the important thing we'll learn in that chapter.
So the intro begins with a quote from his secret journal, saying that he's seen crazy things that must remain hidden for a long time. So of course, the rest of the intro will be about uncovering those things.
The narrator (Who? Where? When? Be patient.) is looking over some old notebooks. Oh and he's bleeding.
The notebooks are seven old books written by Abe Lincoln about how he hunted vampires.
Got that? Now put that on hold while we zoom out for a view of Rhinebeck, NY, a town that's so old-fashioned that apple pies still cool on windowsills (11).
The narrator works at the five-and-dime, a job he seems to have fallen into. He was only going to work there until he finished his novel, but then other life stuff got in the way: marriage, kids, a car accident (14-5). The usual.
There he meets Henry—and we get our first footnote. (You've unlocked the footnote badge.)
We learn that Henry's a regular customer. One day, a while back, he asked the narrator why he doesn't write anymore, which is an awfully personal question.
Back in the present. Henry gives a letter and a bundle of Lincoln's journals to the narrator.
The letter offers a list of names of other people that the narrator can talk to about this; and though Henry wants the narrator to write something based on these notebooks, he's supposed to keep it secret otherwise. (Which makes it seem like Henry doesn't understand what it means for something to be secret.)
The narrator first thinks that Henry is crazy or playing a weird joke on him, but then it turns out that Henry is a vampire and he's standing right behind you.
Well, not you, but Henry shows the narrator that he's a vampire.
That is, when vampires stop looking like normal humans, their eyes turn black and they grow fangs. (In the Buffyverse this would be called their "game face.")
Unfortunately for him, the narrator's life is pretty much ruined by this news, since he goes full on obsessed. For one thing, his wife leaves him.
But at least now he has the truth. (And also, he probably has a movie deal.)
He signs this introduction with his name and the date: Seth Grahame-Smith, 2010.