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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies 傲慢与偏见与僵尸
Image from the cover of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
The cover of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
What do you associate with Jane Austen? Genteel romance? Wry social comment? Blood-splattered bodices?

If that seems inconsistent, you may need to flick through Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a new version of Austen's classic romance into which US writer Seth Grahame-Smith has inserted a series of zombie horror interludes. The text of the new edition is roughly 85% Austen and 15% Grahame-Smith.

Hanging a horror story on the structure of Pride and Prejudice is apparently an easy thing to do.

"If you read through the original book it's startling how many opportunities Jane Austen left in her original work for ultra-violent zombie mayhem" Grahame-Smith says.

In the new version, feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet still needs to come to terms with her complex feelings for the aloof and reserved Mr Darcy, but she also needs to combat the zombie menace plaguing her village of Meryton.

Just as well then, that she is now a Kung Fu master.

To Grahame-Smith that makes perfect sense. "You have this sharp-tongued character in Elizabeth Bennet - it's not that big a leap to put a sword in her hand and say she's now a slayer of the undead."

The book is the latest in a trend of 'mash-ups' – interesting mixes of two incongruous elements. Mash-up albums and videos have been a huge hit on the internet. Grahame-Smith hopes that his new book will attract some new readers to Jane Austen, a writer for whom he has great respect.

But what would she make of it all if she knew? Would she approve? Or would she be rolling in her grave?

"I don't think she'd be rolling in her grave - or trying to claw her way out of it" he says. "I think she would smile. And then she'd sue me for a billion dollars."

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