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Hannibal Mass Market Paperback – Unabridged, May 23, 2000

2,937 customer reviews
Book 3 of 4 in the Hannibal Lecter Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

Horror lit's head chef Harris serves up another course in his Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter trilogy, and it's a pièce de résistance 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Hannibal the cannibal is back again, and in this special audio version, listeners are treated to the author's unique and riveting interpretation of his characters' voices and personalities. Having escaped captivity in The Silence of the Lambs, Dr. Hannibal Lecter has been living on the sly in Europe, leading the life of a sophisticated, academic gentleman. But Hannibal has left behind one sloppy mistake: a victim named Mason Verger, who was accused of molesting his own children but managed to avoid jail provided he sought psychiatric treatment with Dr. Lecter. Hannibal has left Verger barely alive, and, bent on revenge, this man who is as much a monster as Hannibal buys off a cadre of corrupt government agents to find his nemesis. (As an interesting aside for listeners, Hannibal has left Verger lipless, and Harris's vocal rendition of this character is particularly eerie.) Simultaneously, Clarice Starling, the FBI agent who sought Dr. Lecter's assistance in finding another killer in The Silence of the Lambs, is also on his trail, while, in turn, Hannibal is seeking Clarice, for whom he shows a curious affection. As the two eventually find each other, the listener is treated to an incredibly disturbing and shocking conclusion.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Dell (May 23, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440224675
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440224679
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,937 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

115 of 135 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 19, 1999
Format: Audio Cassette
I can't recall a more elegant thriller than "Hannibal"-- in its careful, restrained use of language, its well-drawn characters, and especially in its commanding use of painstaking research. The book is replete with interesting facts about medicine, history, forensics, zoology, animal husbandry, medieval literature, art, cooking, the city of Florence, the Italian language, classical music, and wine-- all presented with Thomas' sure, confident touch.
This is not a conventional sequel, and many fans of "The Silence of the Lambs" will surely be horrified by this book's extremely shocking conclusion. Those in particular who regarded Clarice Starling as a feminist icon (including, perhaps, Jody Foster) may feel betrayed. However, I think Harris should be commended for his courage. The easiest (and most profitable) thing for him to do would have been to give us a "Silence of the Lambs" rehash, tailor-made for another blockbuster film adaptation.
Most of the plot concerns Mason Verger, a meat-packing tycoon and an early victim of Hannibal Lecter. A child molester whose victims include his own sister, Verger is as diabolical in his way as the doctor himself. Paralyzed and disfigured by his brush with Lecter, he is planning an elaborate and ghastly revenge-- which Harris describes with a morbid lyricism worthy of Edgar Allen Poe. The conflict here is between two monsters: one attractive (Lecter), one unattractive (Verger). Harris subtly encourages us to root for Lecter, giving "Hannibal" a moral landscape far more ambiguous, more disturbing, and more ironic than most thrillers.
Although I'm saving my pennies for the hardcover version, the 6-hour audio abridgement that I was lucky enough to find at my local library features a nicely understated reading by Thomas Harris himself-- speaking in a craggy, Mississippi-inflected voice that made me think of Mark Twain.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By director man on June 14, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
While Silence of the Lambs is the best film in the Hannibal series. Hannibal by far is the best of the book series. Actually it's a masterpiece, if you can handle it. The way Harris develops plot and character is amazing. It is by far the weirdest and strangest. With characters who are disturbed, crooked, or cannibals this book is not for the faint of heart. The story his Harris's best and the themes are the most thought-provoking.
The story begins with the downfall of Clarice Starling (one of the best developed character in books today); a drug bust goes wrong, Crawford can't defend her anymore from injustice, and Hannibal Lector once in a while sends her letter. Her world is falling apart and you feel for her. Meanwhile Mason Verger, a child molester who Lector deformed has revenge on his mind and will pay anything or anyone to hunt down Lector alive so he can, well you'll see. Then there is Pazzi an Italian detective who hasn't had a big break for a couple of years and decides to hunt down Lector to get Verger's fee, little does he know how cunning Lector really is. And finally the controversial ending that everyone talks about. Its shocking and unexpected, if you haven't read about it yet, I'm still not sure if I like it, but you will think about for days.
The world is a dark place even for those who are good, is there light or redemption, or is there just death and mayhem. These are questions the book raises. Almost all the characters are the definition of grey; both good and evil are inside them. Its makes you look at yourself and what you have become. And what about all the biblical undertones? Powerful, masterful, and amazing, Hannibal will shock and haunt you for weeks. It might even make you think.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By James O'Blivion on February 14, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Being one of Thomas Harris' most dedicated fans, I purchased this novel upon the day of its release and eagerly gobbled up every sinewy morsel. After finishing, completely in awe of Harris' work (as always), I was astonished that so many had been disappointed, even appalled, by this offering. Speaking as one who has gone as far as to seek out and purchase first editions of all four Harris novels, I can say this..."Hannibal" was NOT as good as "The Silence of the Lambs"...this much is true. Then again, "The Silence of the Lambs" wasn't as good as "Red Dragon" was. But "The Silence of the Lambs" was still a fine novel and a fitting sequel to "Red Dragon"...just as "Hannibal" is a fitting final entry in the series. What Harris has given us here is almost a parody, a caricature of Lecter as he appeared in the first two novels...and why not? Now that Lecter is free, is it not plausible that he would be behaving quite differently than he did while confined? As for one reviewer's note that Lecter has been transformed into a "psychopath-wizard-pharmacist-scholar-surgeon"...well, apart from being a wizard, Hannibal has always been skilled in anatomy (see the previous books for further elaboration on this point) and his training as a psychiatrist would certainly explain his knowledge of pharmaceuticals...and who can deny that the good doctor has ALWAYS been a scholar? So, why is it that the same readers who believed Lecter capable of accurately depicting the Palazzo Vecchio and the Duomo (as seen from the Belvedere, mind you) solely from memory find his actions and capabilities in this novel so far-fetched? Lecter's intelligence, let us remember, has never been successfully measured by any standardized testing.Read more ›
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