Hannibal Lecter by Thomas Harris
Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris is the 4th in the Hannibal Lecter series if taken by publishing date.
However, in chronological order, this would be 1st. It is actually the prequel to the other three books. This is the story of Hannibal Lecter’s early years.
It opens in Lithuania when Hannibal is just 8 years old. He is living in a castle with his parents and little sister Mischa. WWII is raging. The family escapes into the woods to a lodge, with a few hidden treasures, but leaving most of their wealth behind. Three years later, their hiding place is bombed, with only the children surviving. Five deserters appear and loot what remains, keeping Hannibal and Mischa in the barn. When supplies run low, Hannibal realizes they are being kept for meat. He survives and ends up back in the castle, which is now an orphanage, where his Uncle Robert and and his wife, Lady Murasaki rescue him and he goes to live in France. Hannibal forms a close bond to Murasaki, and kills a butcher who had slighted her in the past. However, Hannibal has not forgotten his past, Mischa, nor the five deserters. He will get his revenge.
Harris says he only wrote this prequel because others said it would be done with or without his help. I am glad he did as I can’t see others writing in his style, or with his knowledge of Hannibal. Although I didn’t like it quite as much as the other three books, it did provide some insight as to what made the man/psycho/cannibal.
Re-Read: November 2015
Favorite Quotes from Hannibal Rising:
“THE DOOR TO DR. HANNIBAL LECTER’S memory palace is in the darkness at the center of his mind and it has a latch that can be found by touch alone.”
“Are you looking for sympathy? You’ll find it in the dictionary between shit and syphilis”