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on 16 September 2015
I really enjoyed Hannibal Rising, more so than any other book in the series. Thomas Harris was always a master storyteller, but here I feel he’s at his finest, and you can tell that he’s done his research, too. The novel acts as a prequel, and it tells the story of the young Hannibal Lecter and his struggles during the Second World War in Eastern Europe, when he was little more than a boy.

And many ways, that’s what makes this work stand out from Harris’ other work – in many ways, it’s almost a different genre to the other books in the series, touching on historical and military thrillers, as well as its traditional blood and gore. Add that to the fact that it’s also his most recent, at least at the time of writing, and that he hasn’t written another book for the last eight years, and you can see why this is a little bit special.

Not all of the critics agreed, but what do I care? I rate my books on how much I enjoy them, and I loved this – I’d go so far as to say that if you haven’t read any of the Hannibal books, you should start here. After all, you’ll get to see his character develop, and it’s arguably the best Thomas Harris novel in my opinion, and so what have you got to lose?
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on 29 May 2009
Thomas Harris is probably one of the least prolific novel writers around with one every 11 years or so. However, when you have a character as successful as Hannibal Lector you have the luxury to take your time. `Hannibal Rising' tracks Lector from his childhood into his late teens and helps uncover why he became the killer he did. Like in previous Lector novels he comes across as a dark anti-hero more than a villain. His role here as dark avenger is more pronounced than ever as it is a book about righteous vengeance. Arguably Harris has gone too far down the path of making Lector a sympathetic character.

Despite this, the book is well written and enjoyable. Lector is a great character both blessed and cursed with an intelligence that helps him, but also made him evil. Despite the books genius leading man the novel itself is pretty straight forward and easy to read going for basic action thrills rather than intellectual stimulus. As a fun action romp `Rising' really works and as always Lector is a very engaging character, although I was a little let down by the ending and the over analysis of Lector. No matter how justified some of his actions may have been the way he goes about them means that I will always see him as a psychopath and never a hero. Although the book is a prequel I would suggest reading the books in the order they were written as you will miss the subtleties that Harris has added to the book. Overall, a fun read.
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on 8 May 2010
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. Although i would say this is not quite as good as Red Dragon or Silence of the Lambs it is on par with Hannibal. The plot is solid and very believable and the charectures are awesome and savage especially Grutus.
The book is not as graphic as the other 3 but still leaves plenty to the imagination.
A solid page turner that lives up to the Hannibal series.
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on 17 March 2009
I picked this book up before I actually read Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs or Hannibal. Some may view this as a bit of an error on my part, but I am pleased that I read them this way round. I feel that this book is beautifully written. We are told of the horrors that the young Hannibal had to face when taken as a prisoner in the war. Harris uses powerful imagery in order to engage the reader and to make us understand a bit more of the story into Hannibal's complex inner world. Here we see Hannibal as the frightened little boy emerging out of the war with a penchant for getting revenge on those who tore apart his family and his household. For the reader the question emerges of whether Hannibal had just turned into a product of his own environment or whether he was always a monster in the making. Here we encounter one of the only things that Hannibal ever loved, his family and his little sister.

Where some see this book as a bit of a let down, I see this book as a crucial element in Hannibal's story. From the beautiful language that Harris uses we are given a deeper look into our main protagonist's history. One could use this book as a start in the Hannibal story or a satisfying conclusion. Either way I feel that it is a great read.
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on 12 July 2014
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. Following that I watched Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal, only to discover the Prequel that was written to coincide with the film, Hannibal Rising.

I personally thought it was a befitting prequel to the story of Hannibal Lecter, and explained his life leading up to the events that take place in Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs very well. I did however feel as though the publishers had attempted to make the book look much longer than it actually was. The font was quite large for an adults novel and I felt as though it only added to the feeling that some of it was quite rushed. That being said, I still enjoyed it as an insight into Hannibal Lecter's childhood and past, which filled in some of the blanks from the TV series.

I would recommend this book as a light read and for anyone who wants to see what made the infamous character all that he was set to become.
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on 4 April 2009
having seen the film which was very dark, gruesome and totally opposite to the book. not great detail in how he killed the people (some of which was changed in the movie, to be actually more vile than the book) more focus on how hannibal become the entity that he was in the other books. kinda disaapointed with it
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on 26 August 2007
Just before I picked up 'Hannibal Rising', I had finished a book which I found boring and uninteresting. I was quickly looking to get back into the good stuff with this novel, and Thomas Harris didn't disappoint.

This story is a prequel to the other Hannibal Lecter titles (Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal), and starts off in Lithuania, ending all the way in France. We see Hannibal Lecter as a child, and finally can understand what created the genius monster as we all know him in the other books. You grow to feel so much for this character, that at times you find yourself wanting him to succeed in his maniacal schemes. And the origin of the genius is also briefly discussed and we learn how Hannibal is able to process several chains of thought simultaneously. All of these ingredients make a fascinating novel.

I wouldn't say this is the best in the Lecter series, far from it in fact, but it is a worthy addition.
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on 25 July 2013
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 rather than part 1.
I will now be reading the next instalment but must admit I took a sneak preview on the "look inside" option on Amazon. My slight worry was that Red Dragon would be written un the same style as Rising. It appears that is not the case.
That is really my only criticism of the book in that the authors style tok some getting used to. Once you get passed that the book is entertaining if not brilliant.
So where does the inherent evil of Hannibal come from?
I was left thinking simply that he was born that way rather that it being created y early life experiences.
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on 28 February 2008
Hannibal rising is Thomas Harris's latest installment in the life and times of Dr Hannibal Lecture. I'd read pretty bad reviews for this book, so while wanting to read it, my expectations were low. However, I actually found it to be an enjoyable read. certainly not a brilliant book, but all in all, not bad.

Hannibal rising is where it all begins for Hannibal. The story starts with his life in lithuania and having to flee the family home because of the second world war. horrid things befalls the family, especially hannibals beloved little sister Mischa, at the hands of some renegades. The whole family is wiped out and hannibal lives for several years in an orphange before being rescued by his aunt and uncle in paris. he subsequently becomes the youngest person admitted to medical school in france. however, he is tortured by his past and it becomes increasingly clear that he also deeply affected by it to the extent that he makes it his mission to seek revenge on those responsible for the death of his young sister.

in my opinion part of the problem with this book for many is the fact that they have devoured so much of Hannibal that they have built up a picture in their mind of what started the ball rolling. Perhaps even a sense of ownership of the character. Harris was therefore faced with an impossible task of writing a book that showed how it all started. he doesnt answer all the questions, and perhaps nor should he. this is just a particular stage in his life, we still dont know what happend after medical school and before his arrest (another book perhaps?).

the book isnt a masterpiece, but its enjoyable nonetheless. its an easy read and shows an insight into the incredibly complex mind of hannibal. if you expect the book to provide all the answers for you, you will be disappointed but if all you expect is some insight into what tipped hannibal over the edge then read it. we just cant seem to get enough of the good Dr, but I suspect enough is enough for harris and hannibal himself
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on 13 October 2014
A very good read. Not as good as Red Dragon or Silence of the Lambs but far better than Hannibal. It is an intriguing revenge story. However it does not explain the creation of the monster that is Hannibal Lector in a manner that is satisfactory. A lot of his violent actions are for revenge and not just maniacal killing. If anything you feel more sympathetic to the character than seeing him as a monster. You feel that way right up to the conclusion of the book. Good story just doesn't offer a fully satisfactory explanation of the character you would expect from an origin story.
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