In one of the most eagerly anticipated literary events of the decade, Thomas Harris takes us once again into the mind of a killer, crafting a chilling portrait of insidiously evolving evil- a tour de force of psychological suspense.
Seven years have passed since Dr. Hannibal Lecter escaped from custody, seven years since FBI Special Agent Clarice Starling interviewed him in a maximum security hospital for the criminally insane. The doctor is still at large, pursuing his own ineffable interests, savoring the scents, the essences of an unguarded world. But Starling has never forgotten her encounters with Dr. Lecter, and the metallic rasp of his seldom-used voice still sounds in her dreams.
Mason Verger remembers Dr. Lecter, too, and is obsessed with revenge. He was Dr. Lecter's sixth victim, and he has survived to rule his own butcher's empire. From his respirator, Verger monitors every twitch in his world-wide web. Soon he sees that to draw the doctor, he must have the most exquisite and innocent-appearing bait; he must have what Dr. Lecter likes best.
Powerful, hypnotic, utterly original, HANNIBAL is a dazzling feast for the imagination. Prepare to travel to hell and beyond as a master storyteller permanently alters the world you thought you knew.
Outline Horror lit's head chef Harris serves up another course in his Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter trilogy, and it's a pice de rsistance for those with strong stomachs. In the first book, Red Dragon (filmed as Manhunter), Hannibal diabolically helps the FBI track a fascinating serial killer. (Takes one to know one.) In The Silence of the Lambs, he advises fledgling FBI manhunter Clarice Starling, then makes a bloody, brilliant escape.
Years later, posing as scholarly Dr. Fell, curator of a grand family's palazzo, Hannibal lives the good life in Florence, playing lovely tunes by serial killer/composer Henry VIII and killing hardly anyone himself. Clarice is unluckier: in the novel's action-film-like opening scene, she survives an FBI shootout gone wrong, and her nemesis, Paul Krendler, makes her the fall guy. Clarice is suspended, so, unfortunately, the first cop who stumbles on Hannibal is an Italian named Pazzi, who takes after his ancestors, greedy betrayers depicted in Dante's Inferno.
Pazzi is on the take from a character as scary as Hannibal: Mason Verger. When Verger was a young man busted for raping children, his vast wealth saved him from jail. All he needed was psychotherapy--with Dr. Lecter. Thanks to the treatment, Verger is now on a respirator, paralyzed except for one crablike hand, watching his enormous, brutal moray eel swim figure eights and devour fish. His obsession is to feed Lecter to some other brutal pets.
What happens when the Italian cop gets alone with Hannibal? How does Clarice's reunion with Lecter go from macabre to worse? Suffice it to say that the plot is Harris's weirdest, but it still has his signature mastery of realistic detail. There are flaws: Hannibal's madness gets a motive, which is creepy but lessens his mystery. If you want an exact duplicate of The Silence of the Lambs's Clarice/Hannibal duel, you'll miss what's cool about this book--that Hannibal is actually upstaged at points by other monsters. And if you think it's all unprecedentedly horrible, you're right. But note that the horrors are described with exquisite taste. Harris's secret recipe for success is restraint. --Tim Appelo
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.08" Width: 4.58" Height: 1.57" Weight: 0.77 lbs.
Publisher Wilhelm Heyne Verlag
ISBN 3453177746 ISBN13 9783453177741
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More About Thomas Harris
Thomas Harris is the New York Times bestselling author of Hannibal, The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon, and Black Sunday.
Thomas Harris currently resides in the state of Oregon.
Did Harris Set Out to Write a Book This Bad? Aug 31, 2008
Rarely has an author disappointed his loyal fans more than this, Thomas Harris' follow-up to the excellent RED DRAGON and SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. Having created one of the most deliciously evil characters in fiction with Hannibal Lecter, Harris decides to squander it.
Harris is an excellent writer, and that shines through here. Easy to read without being simplistic, Harris creates scenes that seem genuine and real, and describes situations that allow us to project ourselves into them. And sure, much of the action in HANNIBAL is very, very good. Harris could have made this book excellent without substantially changing much of the plot. Alas, it was not to be, and the problems are severe.
Of course, there is the atrocious ending. In the SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, Clarice Starling represented the archetype of the American girl - humble country-girl origins combined with the grit and determination and an unwillingness to back down that allows her not only to pull herself up, but to meet eye-to-eye someone like Lecter, whose genius is matched by his patronizing attitudes towards those of the lower classes.
In HANNIBAL, Starling is a pathetic basket case, pure and simple. In his portrayal of Starling, Harris destroys another great character.
Further, and equally problematic, is that Harris erodes Lecter's persona of evil in two ways. He describes Lecter's background to partially explain why he turned out as he did. Bad mistake. Lecter's evil should have been kept pure, evil for the sake of evil. By taking us into Lecter's background, he moves Lecter's evil away from the ontological and into the psychosocial and thereby lessens its impact. Harris also takes us on a tour of Lecter's mind. Again, this simply cheapens the impact of Lecter as an archetype of evil.
HANNIBAL really does make a reader wonder exactly what happened. How did a series with such an exceptional start get taken down this path? We may never know. But Harris should go back and write another sequel, not picking up where HANNIBAL left off, but taking us on an alternative route after SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. Writing the book that should have been written might mercifully make us forget this clunker.
The best of the Lecter series Mar 19, 2008
Thomas Harris has produced his masterpiece in HANNIBAL. Moving beyond the standard crime thrillers of RED DRAGON and SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, Harris composes an elegant, twisted narrative resembling a contemporary take on the surreal writings of Edgar Allan Poe, and the result is a deliciously dark thriller.
But despite its distinction from its predecessor, HANNIBAL also compliments SILENCE quite well. While it goes on to tread new territory, the characters continue on. Harris has never had a better grasp on Lecter or Starling than he does in HANNIBAL, and those arguing to the contrary missed much of what Harris was doing in SILENCE.
This story makes Hannibal a sympathic character. It is more a story of the growth of the relationship between Clarice and Hannibal, then a horror or mystery. It was so sad that so many people have so many foibles that create evil. In the end it was good that the best people of the story really got some real good in their lives. But truly, Clarice gets turned to the dark side, so to speak.
Exciting story; not for the squeamish Feb 4, 2008
It's been seven years since Special Agent Clarice Starling visited Hannibal Lecter in the asylum in Silence of the Lambs. She's still with the FBI, although out of favor after a recent shoot-out. Wealthy recluse Mason Verger has been planning Hannibal's demise since he was under Lecter's psychiatric care. That association left Verger paralyzed and mutilated, with only thoughts of revenge to keep him alive. An Italian inspector has found Lecter living the good life in Florence, and is about to bring him to the diabolical Verger and back into Starling's life.
I listened to Thomas Harris read the audio book; I thought it would be interesting to hear the author read his own words, but I was wrong. Harris' twanging drawl was distracting and unchanging; all the characters - men and women, Americans and Italians - sounded exactly alike, except for one - he did a fine job with Verger's unique vocal impairment.
Clarice, Lecter, and Verger are all well-written, complex characters. Clarice is a workaholic and a loner, Lecter is a cunning and refined man of the world, and Verger is, without doubt, the most repellent villain I've come across in a long time. The book's ending is surprisingly different from the movie version and completes the Hannibal-Clarice story nicely. I liked the book very much (but not the reader, thus only 4 stars). The story is scary, disgusting, and packed with action. If you're a fan of the Hannibal Lecter books, this book is a must.
Hannibal Dec 16, 2007
This is a good book. Quite possibly my favorite of the three. It provides so much depth about Hannibal. This is a must read for Hannibal fans.