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Hannibal Rising [Hardcover]

Thomas Harris
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Dec 2006
He is one of the most haunting characters in all of literature. At last, the evolution of his evil is revealed. Hannibal Lecter emerges from the nightmare of the Eastern Front, a boy in the snow, mute, with a chain around his neck. He seems utterly alone, but he has brought his demons with him. Hannibal's uncle, a noted painter, finds him in a Soviet orphanage and brings him to France, where Hannibal will live with his uncle and his uncle's beautiful and exotic wife, Lady Murasaki. Lady Murasaki helps Hannibal to heal.With her help he flourishes, becoming the youngest person ever admitted to medical school in France. But Hannibal's demons visit him and torment him.When he is old enough, he visits them in turn. He discovers he has gifts beyond the academic, and in that epiphany, Hannibal Lecter becomes death's prodigy.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 337 pages
  • Publisher: William Heinemann Ltd; 1st edition (5 Dec 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0434014087
  • ISBN-13: 978-0434014088
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 14.6 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 194,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Thomas Harris remains both the progenitor of the modern serial killer novel – and its greatest exponent. Red Dragon was the first appearance of the murderous Hannibal Lecter, and with its success, the Harris imitators burgeoned almost immediately. The Silence of the Lambs, however, moved Harris into really rarefied heights, its achievement boltered by the addition of a strongly drawn heroine, trainee FBI agent Clarice Starling. Hannibal, the last outing for Harris’ monstrous Lecter, drew a more controversial response, with Clarice Sterling locked into a bizarre relationship with her cultivated predator, and it looked as if the next book would develop that grim scenario.

However, Hannibal Rising goes in a totally unexpected direction – in effect, it’s a prequel to the earlier books, returning to Lecter’s childhood in World War’s Eastern Front. The youthful Hannibal sees his family murdered by the Nazis. But something else happens which alters (and deforms) Hannibal’s psyche forever. The boy moves to Paris with the beautiful Japanese widow of his last surviving relative. And soon, an orgy of grisly revenge is in train, wrought on some opponents almost as nasty as Lecter is to become himself.

We’ve seen this before: Hannibal murdering people quite as ruthless as he is – whether this makes the operatic bloodshed satisfying is a matter for every individual reader. Whatever your stance, the effect of Harris’ prose is, as ever, utterly irresistible.

Hannibal Rising is comparatively uncomplicated, when set against the complex, richly textured Harris novels that came before it.

Is there a danger that in showing us how Hannibal became a monster, something is lost of his terrifying mystery? As if to deal with this possibility, Harris keeps Lecter unknowable by removing his customary articulate examination of this own motives (he is still a boy, after all). But the tale of bloody vengeance has a forward trajectory that (whatever your reservations) will render this is a one (or two) sitting reading. And the next book will, surely, recapture that richer Harris texture. --Barry Forshaw


` Hannibal goes on his fiendishly imaginative rampage, the pace picks up, one turns the pages faster, time flies, and one is sorry that there aren't more pages to turn'. -- The Sunday Times

`Lecter remains a powerful, iconic creation...he is more like Dracula, coming out of the forests of eastern Europe to bring his evil to an unsuspecting west.' -- Observer

`This novel is a sure-fire best seller and will be gobbled up by Harris's millions of fans world wide. No doubt the Hollywood studios are already queuing up to turn it into a film, and who can blame them with a work of this magnitude.' -- Independent on Sunday

`Thomas Harris [is]... a writer of vivid and fluent thrillers.'
-- Daily Telegraph

`Thomas Harris is undoubtedly a master of his craft and a great writer' -- The Mirror

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hannibal Rising - Thomas Harris 24 Feb 2007
By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER
So, seven years after Hannibal, Thomas Harris delivers the fourth entry in the series that won't stop paying out. Hannibal Rising, badly titled though it is, is a potentially intriguing prequel to the previous three Lecter novels, explaining the "evolution of his evil", from when we first meet him at roughly age eight, to when the book closes, with Hannibal in his early twenties and about to embark upon a medical career in America.

To be brutal, there's not much more to be had from this novel than a synopsis could give (and many have). The noble Lecter family are living in Lecter castle when Hitler's 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union turns the Baltic forests into a bloody disaster area. Hannibal's family are killed in the turmoil, including his treasured little sister Mischa. Hannibal's uncle Robert eventually whisks him away to Paris to live with him and his wife, Japanese Lady Murasaki. Whilst there, he flourishes as a medical student. Uncle Robert dies, and Hannibal remains with Murasaki. The book is easily sectioned off in this way, and eventually turns into a grim revenge tale as Hannibal chases down those soldiers responsible for his sister's death.

And that's it, really. Garnish with a well-turned, ominously poetic sentence or two, then expand with lots of mediocre or downright bad ones, and you have Hannibal Rising. It is both a ridiculous affair and a perfectly enjoyable book. Employ knives of intelligence to get the cut of its jib, and it obviously falls apart - especially when stood against Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs and even Hannibal (which I will unashamedly praise to anyone interested).
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harris Rises; The Wound Man waits in the wings 17 Jan 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I don't think I've ever seen a book bagged as savagely on Amazon as this - so much so that, despite having pre-ordered and received my copy, I almost didn't bother to read it.

what a pleasant surprise, then to find a beautifully crafted, clever, literary novel, developing ever further one of the most complex characters of modern fiction, packed full of the same metaphor and figure as was Hannibal - a further stage in Thomas Harris' development from author of intelligent thrillers to a proper, literary, writer. Unlike most people, I liked Hannibal, but thought it was a bit baroque for its own good. With Hannibal Rising, Thomas Harris has kept the melody, but cut the ornamentation down to a plainsong.

The character Hannibal Lecter's progress from his walk-on part in Red Dragon is intriguing: Thomas Harris can scarcely have expected, let alone intended, that a character seemingly named for the sake of a cheesy rhyme would, er, consume thirty years of his professional life. In Red Dragon Hannibal Lecter was mostly a bogeyman (at that point he displayed the classic psychopathic trait of childhood cruelty to animals - which has long since been revised into an uncommon affinity for assorted birds and horses): only in the novel Hannibal did Harris really begin to extend a figure who transpired to be more supernatural than human (there are unmistakable resonances of Dracula) and not really immoral at all. Perhaps this is Harris' most shocking initiative of all: A heartless psychopath, via a preference for eating only the rude, is now given a full moral basis and, what's more, we're on his side as he wields the knife. That's a pretty subversive shift in perspective, and Harris has executed it without us even realising what he was up to. Yet people still complain.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Dr Hannibal Lecter is the only cannibal I've ever wanted to succeed. A truly engaging character who it is a little to easy to empathise with.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
One of the thing's I love about book's is that they have little scenes which you never see in the movies because unfortunately the film's showing time is limited. The Hannibal rising movie was brilliant but for most of the time the book's will alway's be better.This has been my favorite book out of the whole series so far, but I have yet to read the others.Recomended for people who love crime,thriller's.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great prequel 30 May 2012
I'm very surprised to see so many negative reviews for this book, I enjoyed it very much. I think the people who are saying this made Hannibal less scary and he should not have been made a sympathetic character have entirely missed the point of the novel - he was a normal child, he became corrupted through very human feelings, and then his heart freezes and he becomes the monster Hannibal Lecter. The Hannibal we see throughout this novel is not the same one as in Silence of the Lambs or Red Dragon or Hannibal. The novel ends by saying he is no longer human. In this novel he was motivated by revenge and justice and we can probably all sympathise with him even if we wouldn't take the same course of action. Afterwards, who knows what he is motivated by? This book did not reveal all and doesn't give us much more insight into the Hannibal we know from the sequels. You can still enjoy him as a fathomless monster.

There are worthy criticisms of this book, like the strange omission of mentioning his sixth finger, but they are small matters.

The language here is beautiful. I see that other reviewers were also reminded of Memoirs of a Geisha, and perhaps it doesn't help that the Japanese maid has the same name as Sayuri before she became a geisha, but besides being Japanese, enjoying nature and using flowery language, Lady Murasaki is nothing like Sayuri. I was reminded more often of Perfume by Patrick Suskind, especially with Lecter's 'memory palace', the French setting and the darkly comic tone that the book sometimes took. I find Grenouille and Lecter both credible, complex and intriguing 'bad guy' protagonists.

I hope Lecter fans will not be put off by the bad reviews. I think the main criticisms of this novel are not justified if you just pay attention to what Thomas Harris actually writes.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Hannibal Rising
I found out about Hannibal Rising after watching NBC's Hannibal. I had never been overly interested in the story of Hannibal Lecter before the TV series took my attention. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Miss.Sapph
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth it
Ordered the entire series and each came nicely packaged in great condition, however my copy of Red Dragon had a noticeable crease across the front cover. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Ella MacKrell
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor
Not a patch on previous novels, seemed to me like someone else had wrote this. Characters had no depth. Read more
Published 1 month ago by verbal kint
3.0 out of 5 stars I liked it
My first encounter with the infamous Hannibal Lecter and probably the right place to start.
No doubt I am in the minority as most readers will have this prequel as part 4... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Steveatki
2.0 out of 5 stars Not like the others
Found it very slow to start and didn't feel it created the tension of the other books hence the rating
Published 16 months ago by karlo
2.0 out of 5 stars confusing and plodding
Despite his reputation I did not enjoy Harris' latest book at all. A lot of the time I was left in confusion, due entirely to Harris' writing style. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Hambletta-Maud
1.0 out of 5 stars garbage
garbage -- pure and simple. Nothing more than a cynical marketing exercise. Hannibal Lecter is a great literary villain but this cheapjack book totally de-mystifies the original. Read more
Published on 20 Jun 2011 by mikeymouse
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as his others
This book pales in comparison with Harris's other works and I found it to be slightly boring at times. Read more
Published on 5 Nov 2010 by Margie Greyvenstein author of 'Masked Gods'
4.0 out of 5 stars Harris strikes again.
This is the last one in the Hannibal Lecture series i have read. It was a very solid read that kept the pages turning throughout. Read more
Published on 8 May 2010 by Mr. J. A. Watson
4.0 out of 5 stars Non-stop enjoyment!
Bravo to Thomas Harris for producing another great work! The sentences just flow and I didn't want to put it down. Read more
Published on 30 Sep 2009 by Mr. Renos Erotocritou
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