When I heard about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I was beyond delighted and excited to indulge, but when I read the book’s back, containing such unsavory statements as, “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read,” and “Jane Austen is the author of Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Mansfield Park, and other masterpieces of English literature. Seth Grahame-Smith once took a class in English literature,” my humour was indeed soiled, and my swords were drawn. My consummate love of anything zombie-related, however, bested my fierce defensiveness of Miss Austen; I turned the book over and opened the first page.

I loved this book and would highly recommend it to any Jane Austen fan who isn’t afraid of some inconsequential liberties and some unmentionable pandemonium.

My contemporaneous trip through the beautiful Russian River wine country, known for its Red Zinfandels, followed an uncanny parallel to Seth Grahame-Smith’s creation. Much to the chagrin of many a California wine taster, I’ve never liked the Zins that are so prominent in that area, and I have oft referred to the swill as the “soda pop” of wine, in private, of course.


My love of wine and wine tasting, though, subdued my prejudice toward the Red Zinfandel. I let down my guard and gave the Zinfandel grape a worthy shot at my palate. And eventually, I found one that led to a state of felicity. The 2007 Arista Zinfandel from Alexander Valley delivers a powerful punch if served immediately after opening the bottle. Once decanted, it delivers a wild torrent of berries and pepper. It’s a festive and frivolous wine, though not for the faint-hearted or prudish. More importantly, though, I found it a worthy companion, figuratively and literally, to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

A story of overcoming haughtiness, obstinacy, and discriminations, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies remains true to its source: Miss Elizabeth Bennet remains the strong-willed heroine determined not to succumb to societal pettiness and class-prejudice. Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy is the cold, proud, and very rich man resolute not to love or respect anyone of inferior breeding (and training) to himself. I’m sure most of you know the story from reading the original or watching any number of televised renderings of this clever and ageless tale.

The one trifling difference is that Miss Bennet, trained in the deadly arts by the Shaolin monks of China, and Mr. Darcy, trained by the ninjas of Kyoto, are both determined and equally capable to rid England of a most nasty plague: zombies. That, and any family containing a respectable warrior has a dojo on their estate grounds.

The narrative liberties are very clever and fit exceedingly well into Austen’s plot, and more importantly, “cling to those most English parts.” The impertinence between Miss Bennet and Mr. Darcy is magnified by some sparring, katana flashing, and fire pokers. And, the just-deserts to the objectionable characters are slightly more severe, if not more deserving.

One scene in particular gave me much guilty pleasure. It takes place when a perturbed Miss Bennet visits Pemberley, Mr. Darcy’s vast estate, with her aunt and uncle. As a drove of zombies threatens to spoil their lovely afternoon, Darcy unexpectedly appears and offers an unarmed Miss Bennet his Brown Bess musket. Upon leaving his grounds, the two exchange civilities and Miss Bennet returns his gun and ammunition:

“She remembered the lead ammunition in her pocket and offered it to him. ‘Your balls, Mr. Darcy?’ He reached out and closed her hand around them, and offered, ‘They belong to you, Miss Bennet.’ Upon this, their colour changed, and they were forced to look away from one another, lest they laugh.”

HA! Sorry Jane, you set yourself up for that one!

So, in the end, we all conquered our shortcomings, whether they were snobbery, stubbornness, pride, or prejudice. No one, however, overcame her killer instincts.