Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hannibal Rising

How productive I've been at work. I finished "Hannibal Rising" by Thomas Harris, my second completed book in the last couple of days. I guess I continued to stay in a Thomas Harris mood after finishing "Red Dragon" yesterday. From Harris' website:

"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."

I enjoyed "Hannibal Rising" much more than I thought I would initially even though I would rank it as my least favorite of the Harris books involving Hannibal Lecter. Basically the novel follows the story of Lecter's upbringing in Lithuania during Russia's push into eastern Europe during World War II, to his relocation to France to live with his uncle after the war, and finally into his maturity to a promising young medical student.

The demons of his past are what ultimately mold Lecter into the monster we know so well from "The Silence of the Lambs" and "Hannibal." Early in the novel I had figured out where the story was going but I have to hand it to Harris for throwing a big curve ball near the climax of the book. The read was very satisfying to me at it's conclusion though there is still much of Lecter's young life to explore; the novel end with Lecter heading to Johns Hopkin's Medical Center in Baltimore on an internship. Should Harris decide another Hannibal Lecter novel is in order, I would happily buy and read it. Recommended.

By the way, has anyone seen the movie? Is it any good? The reviews were dreadful.

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