“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”
There is, most understandably, an insatiable appetite for anything Pride and Prejudice. Recent reworkings have proved popular, so why not add a sprinkling of the living dead?Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, published by Quirk Classics, does exactly this. It’s hard to imagine, but zombies (or unmentionables as they are charmingly referred to in the book) are blended seamlessly into Jane Austen’s original work. In fact about 85% of the book remains untouched. However, on almost every page you will find murder and beheadings, blood lust and stomach churning gore.
Meryton, along with the rest of England, has succumbed to a mysterious plague where the dead are stalking the grounds of Longbourn, Netherfield and Pemberley, looking for fresh, succulent brains. The Bennet family has risen to the occasion and under the tutorage of Master Liu in China, the Bennet daughters have become a finely tuned fighting force. An accomplished girl in this England needs to forget about the piano forte and instead hone her skills with her katana sword, her throwing stars and her musket. In this parody you will also find ninjas protecting the wealthy, houses equipped with training dojos and hordes of the living dead waiting to jump on any poor soul who wonders down the wrong path.
Elizabeth Bennet is, of course, one of the finest female warriors and thinks nothing of disregarding her modesty to place a well-timed kick to the face to any ‘unmentionable’ that crosses her path.
It’s not just zombies that get in Elizabeth’s way; anyone who dares slight her or her family (including Mr Darcy) will feel the force of her honour. This leads to some of the more heated and intense moments in the original novel becoming battle scenes where blood is spilt and lives are lost. It’s worth reading the book just to learn what Elizabeth does to Lady Catherine de Bourgh! Mr Darcy is also an esteemed warrior, but as proud as ever. However, Lizzy’s feelings do soften toward him and she dates this rather saucily from her ‘first seeing the way his trousers clung to those most English parts.’
The storyline is otherwise left surprisingly intact, yet with a little less subtlety and more than a touch of poetic license. You will also find all of the beloved Pride and Prejudice characters, although one or two may get stricken and others end in an extremely sorry state! Don’t worry I’m not going to give anything away, but I will tell you that this book made me laugh. I chuckled on almost every page. Pride and Prejudice purists will likely object to the zombification of their ‘most darling child,’ but if you love the original, don’t object to the odd zombie, and have a strong stomach you will enjoy it. This book, along with the news that Seth Grahame-Smith has sold the rights to an as-yet undisclosed major film company, will probably make those who have not read the original a little curious. Anything that encourages new readers of Pride and Prejudice readers is OK with me.
Your musket-cleaning friend,