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Hannibal Rising Hardcover – Deckle Edge, December 5, 2006

Book 4 of 4 in the Hannibal Lecter Series

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press; 1st edition (December 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385339410
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385339414
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.7 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (459 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #535,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Discover the origins of one of the most feared villains of all time in Thomas Harris's Hannibal Rising, a novel that promises to reveal the "evolution of Hannibal Lecter's evil." Thomas Harris first introduced readers to Hannibal Lecter in Red Dragon, a tale wrapped around FBI agent Will Graham (the man who hunted Lecter down) and his ability to "get inside the mind of the killer." Graham consults Dr. Lecter (the man who nearly killed him) on the case, and the legend of the nefarious Dr. Lecter was born. Harris's masterful and mesmerizing follow up, The Silence of the Lambs wowed fans, but it was Jonathan Demme's terrifying, Oscar-winning (Best Actor, Actress, Director, Picture and Adapted Screenplay) film, and Anthony Hopkins's extraordinary (and arguably over the top) performance that made "Hannibal the Cannibal" a household name. Hannibal, the third book in the Lecter saga made Lecter the prey and seemingly wrapped up the tale of the cannibalistic psychiatrist, but never revealed the source of the doctor's...gifts. Fans have been waiting decades to find out how the good doctor became "death's prodigy," making Hannibal Rising one of the most anticipated books of 2006 (and movies of 2007). --Daphne Durham

Hannibal Rising: An Excerpt


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. This curious portal opens on immense and well-lit spaces, early baroque, and corridors and chambers rivaling in number those of the Topkapi Museum.

Everywhere there are exhibits, well-spaced and lighted, each keyed to memories that lead to other memories in geometric progression.

Spaces devoted to Hannibal Lecter's earliest years differ from the other archives in being incomplete. Some are static scenes, fragmentary, like painted Attic shards held together by blank plaster. Other rooms hold sound and motion, great snakes wrestling and heaving in the dark and lit in flashes. Pleas and screaming fill some places on the grounds where Hannibal himself cannot go. But the corridors do not echo screaming, and there is music if you like.

The palace is a construction begun early in Hannibal's student life. In his years of confinement he improved and enlarged his palace, and its riches sustained him for long periods while warders denied him his books.

Here in the hot darkness of his mind, let us feel together for the latch. Finding it, let us elect for music in the corridors and, looking neither left nor right, go to the Hall of the Beginning where the displays are most fragmentary.

We will add to them what we have learned elsewhere, in war records and police records, from interviews and forensics and the mute postures of the dead. Robert Lecter's letters, recently unearthed, may help us establish the vital statistics of Hannibal, who altered dates freely to confound the authorities and his chroniclers. By our efforts we may watch as the beast within turns from the teat and, working upwind, enters the world.

Chapter 6

Lothar heard it first as he drew water, the roar of an engine in low gear and cracking of branches. He left the bucket on the well and in his haste he came into the lodge without wiping his feet.

A Soviet tank, a T-34 in winter camouflage of snow and straw, crashed up the horse trail and into the clearing. Painted on the turret in Russian were AVENGE OUR SOVIET GIRLS and WIPE OUT THE FASCIST VERMIN. Two soldiers in white rode on the back over the radiators. The turret swiveled to point the tank's cannon at the house. A hatch opened and a gunner in hooded winter white stood behind a machine gun. The tank commander stood in the other hatch with a megaphone. He repeated his message in Russian and in German, barking over the diesel clatter of the tank engine.

"We want water, we will not harm you or take your food unless a shot comes from the house. If we are fired on, every one of you will die. Now come outside. Gunner, lock and load. If you do not see faces by the count of ten, fire." A loud clack as the machine gun's bolt went back.

Count Lecter stepped outside, standing straight in the sunshine, his hands visible. "Take the water. We are no harm to you."

The tank commander put his megaphone aside. "Everyone outside where I can see you."

The count and the tank commander looked at each other for a long moment. The tank commander showed his palms.

The count showed his palms. The count turned to the house. "Come."

When the commander saw the family he said, "The children can stay inside where it's warm."

And to his gunner and crew, "Cover them. Watch the upstairs windows. Start the pump. You can smoke."

The machine gunner pushed up his goggles and lit a cigarette. He was no more than a boy, the skin of his face paler around his eyes. He saw Mischa peeping around the door facing and smiled at her.

Among the fuel and water drums lashed to the tank was a small petrol-powered pump with a rope starter.

The tank driver snaked a hose with a screen filter down the well and after many pulls on the rope the pump clattered, squealed, and primed itself.

The noise covered the scream of the Stuka dive bomber until it was almost on them, the tank's gunner swiveling his muzzle around, cranking hard to elevate his gun, firing as the airplane's winking cannon stitched the ground. Rounds screamed off the tank, the gunner hit, still firing with his remaining arm.

The Stuka's windscreen starred with fractures, the pilot's goggles filled with blood and the dive bomber, still carrying one of its eggs, hit treetops, plowed into the garden and its fuel exploded, cannon under the wings still firing after the impact. Hannibal, on the floor of the lodge, Mischa partly under him, saw his mother lying in the yard, bloody and her dress on fire.

"Stay here!" to Mischa and he ran to his mother, ammunition in the airplane cooking off now, slow and then faster, casings flying backward striking the snow, flames licking around the remaining bomb beneath the wing. The pilot sat in the cockpit, dead, his face burned to a death's head in flaming scarf and helmet, his gunner dead behind him.

Lothar alone survived in the yard and he raised a bloody arm to the boy. Then Mischa ran to her mother, out into the yard and Lothar tried to reach her and pull her down as she passed, but a cannon round from the flaming plane slammed through him, blood spattering the baby and Mischa raised her arms and screamed into the sky. Hannibal heaped snow onto the fire in his mother's clothes, stood up and ran to Mischa amid the random shots and carried her into the lodge, into the cellar. The shots outside slowed and stopped as bullets melted in the breeches of the cannon. The sky darkened and snow came again, hissing on the hot metal.

Darkness, and snow again. Hannibal among the corpses, how much later he did not know, snow drifting down to dust his mother's eyelashes and her hair. She was the only corpse not blackened and crisped. Hannibal tugged at her, but her body was frozen to the ground. He pressed his face against her. Her bosom was frozen hard, her heart silent. He put a napkin over her face and piled snow on her. Dark shapes moved at the edge of the woods. His torch reflected on wolves' eyes. He shouted at them and waved a shovel. Mischa was determined to come out to her mother—he had to choose. He took Mischa back inside and left the dead to the dark.

Mr. Jakov's book was undamaged beside his blackened hand until a wolf ate the leather cover and amid the scattered pages of Huyghens' Treatise on Light licked Mr. Jakov's brains off the snow. Hannibal and Mischa heard snuffling and growling outside. Hannibal built up the fire. To cover the noise he tried to get Mischa to sing; he sang to her. She clutched his coat in her fists.

"Ein Mannlein . . ."

Snowflakes on the windows. In the corner of a pane, a dark circle appeared, made by the tip of a glove. In the dark circle a pale blue eye.

Excerpted from HANNIBAL RISING by Thomas Harris Copyright © 2006 byThomas Harris.

The Hannibal Lecter Books

Red Dragon

The Silence of the Lambs


The Hannibal Lecter DVDs


Red Dragon

The Silence of the Lambs


From Publishers Weekly

Twenty-five years after Hannibal Lecter, a cross between Professor Moriarty and Jack the Ripper, first invaded the imaginations of countless readers worldwide in Red Dragon, bestseller Harris has crafted an unmemorable prequel that's intended to explain the origins of Lecter's evil. Fans of Harris's previous Lecter novel, Hannibal (1999), already know the major trauma that transformed the young Lecter-the murder of his beloved younger sister, Mischa, during WWII-which the author describes in more grisly detail. Lecter also has an unusual love interest, his uncle's Japanese wife, Lady Murasaki, but the bulk of the narrative focuses on Lecter's quest for revenge on those he holds responsible for Mischa's death. Unfortunately, the prose and plotting lack the suspenseful power of Red Dragon or The Silence of the Lambs, and will leave many feeling that with such a masterful monster as Lecter, less is more.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Customer Reviews

Words fail to say just how bad this book is.
Stanley Hauer
Not at all convinced that this is what made the Hannibal Lecter we all love to fear (Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs).
Disjointed, characters not developed, too many things left hanging.
J.R. Yannelli

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 74 people found the following review helpful By C.J. Vincent on December 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
First of all, if you are expecting yet another Red Dragon, Silence or Hannibal, this isn't quite it, nor was it intended to be. It's mostly the story of an 8-18 year old boy in Lithuania/France during the brutal Eastern Front and its aftermath in WWII. There are plenty of linkages as the character that is Hannibal is connected to the one we know from reading the previous three works (obviously, he turns into that guy), but he surely doesn't start out that way. I feel the need to defend this against the other reviews on this site, because it appears people had the wrong expectations regarding what this work was going to be. Don't let it stop you from buying and enjoying Harris' mind, because there are definitely flashes of Dragon/Silence here, but only that. This book is more about the semi-plotted revenge of a bright artistic teenager and his final revelation. The death of one and the beginning of another. One more thing, if you thought Hannibal wasn't a good book, then stop reading Harris altogether and don't bother reading this one. Keep my review in perspective, because I thought Hannibal was 5 stars and one of the most entertaining books I have ever read and the ending was brilliant, not stupid, because it is the last thing you would have expected. Harris isn't for the "happy ever after" crowd by any means. The ending of Hannibal is even better after you read this book. This one is for true Harris lovers, others need not apply, nor should you listen to them.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Tom Benton on February 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As a longtime fan of Thomas Harris' novels featuring Hannibal Lecter, I was very excited to read HANNIBAL RISING. The premise intrigued me: I'm one of those people who loves the recent slew of prequels, and the idea of learning the ghastly origins of Hannibal Lecter sounded simply delectable to me. [...] HANNIBAL RISING is not the equivalent of RED DRAGON or THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS - perhaps not even of HANNIBAL, for that matter. But I disagree with those many who have simply dismissed HANNIBAL RISING as "crap". True, it's not a great read, but it is certainly a fun one.

The book opens during Hitler's "Blitzkrieg" operation during World War II, when Axis troops spread across Europe and placed the majority of it under Nazi control. The Lecter family, which consists of the cultured Count and Countess as well as their talented son Hannibal and his little sister, Mischa, flees to their cabin in the woods of Poland to escape from the invading SS. Of course, things go to hell when a fighter plane crashes into the cabin, burning Hannibal's parents and leaving he and his sister to fend for themselves. Then a band of starving Russian thieves come across the cabin, and with nothing left to eat, they turn to Hannibal and his sister ...

The rest of the book deals with Hannibal as a disturbed teenager trying to deal with the pain over the loss with his sister when he is taken in by his uncle Robert and his dazzling wife, Lady Muraski, and subsequently his life as a young medical student in Paris, where he finally begins planning his revenge on the fiends who murdered his sister.

HANNIBAL RISING has nothing - NOTHING - in common with any of the previous Hannibal Lecter books.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By white_raven23 on February 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Wow. Lot of negative reviews for this book. Now some points I will agree on with many of you....but for different reasons. I agree, most chapters were kind of choppy and not well laid out. BUT I was paying attention when I read the Prologue, and I understood that Harris was going for that intentionally as these chapters do represent the least developed rooms in Hannibal's memory palace. It does make sense.

Now as for more specific complaints that other's have touched on:

"The reasons for the cannibalism remain unclear": Folks if you really are interested in cannibalism, you will pick up and read other books on the subject. I have. The gulf between the regular joe and the serial killer is huge. Enough happens in Hannibal's developmental years to make the passage across that gulf pretty clear and comprehensive. There isn't much of a gulf between the serial killer and cannibalism. If anything, it's a natural progression. If a serial killer remains free and active long enough, cannibalism is going to be experimented with. So the cannibalism really isn't that interesting. It's a forgone conclusion.

"I wasn't convinced that those kinds of events in childhood would make someone be that way.": Well that's nice. But people making this assessment are looking at it from their point of view, which has likely always been safe, comfortable, and always well-fed. And you really should be careful about making declarative statements like that without making sure there isn't a REAL LIFE precedent. Go to Wikipedia and look up ANDREI CHIKATILO. Read about him. Look familiar? This is the real life example Harris is quite obviously using for Hannibal's childhood. The difference between the two, is that Andrei was insecure, disorganized, and inadequate. Hannibal is not.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Olly Buxton on January 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
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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