Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris

Purchased:  May 30, 2009
Read:  Feb 2010
Hannibal Rising
by:Thomas Harris


Published by: Delacorte Press

Genre:  Thriller

Pages: 336

Author’s Website:

Author’s Twitter:

Recommendable for people who:
Hannibal fans (of course), historical fiction lovers, thriller & crime drama fans

The Book:



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.

My Thoughts:

Hannibal Rising is not the "scare fest" I expected it to be. Not like the other Hannibal books at all really. I found I could not put it down though.  I have read a lot of other reviews on Hannibal Rising, and most of them are BAD reviews.  I’m not sure I understand the low marks.  This book wasn’t intended to be the "thriller" "horror" "gore" fests of the adult Hannibal, but a way for his "fans" to see "how" exactly he became who he became.

I have to say, I rather enjoyed the book.  I mean, I started and managed to finish it in one sitting.  That says something in itself right there, doesn’t it?  My interest in starting the book was to learn why Hannibal became "the monster". My attention to finish the book was because of the description of the times, the love for his sister, the remorse and angst, the intrigue.  And then I cried.

“The little boy Hannibal died in 1945 out there in the snow trying to save his sister. His heart died with Mischa. What is he now? There is not a word for it yet. For lack of a better word, we’ll call him a monster.”
– Hannibal Rising, p. 243

I don’t mean a small shed tear, like one would spill if they’d just READ something sad. I mean full on gails, that made me put the book away for a moment to gather myself. At that moment, my heart truly ached for the boy Hannibal, I grieved for and with him.

The evoking of emotion is a necessity for good writing. In my opinion this book is just that. GOOD WRITING.

Despite numerous bad reviews elsewhere, I still recommend this book.  Just go into it knowing you are going to be reading about a very young Hannibal.  Hannibal BEFORE the evil Hannibal you already know.  You will find you care for him, worry for him, and in the end – understand him.

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