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Publisher's Summary

He is one of the most haunting characters in all of literature.

At last the evolution of his evil is revealed.

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.

Serial thriller: don't miss more from Thomas Harris.
©2006 Yazoo Fabrications, Inc.; (P)2006 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

What members say

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  • Overall

Use a pro to do the job

What a beautifully written book. I am sorry that the same cannot be said about the reader. Why a pro like Mr. Harris is at writing would not use a pro reading his book is a mystery. He wouldn't use his gardner to cut his hair or his publisher to write his book, so why does he think he is an expert out of his field? If this book is reread by a really good reader, I would listen to it again.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


What an extraordinary prequel to the other Hannibal books. Now we understand our friend Hannibal so much better. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

  • Overall
  • Allison
  • Philadelphia, PA, USA
  • 04-16-07


Simply fanastic. Harris has done it again. His ability to have you visualize the scene with his intricate detail of the slightest details is what enhances the story telling. He grips your attention from start to finish and still refuses to release it long after the book is over. You just want to tell everyone to read it so you can relive the mezmorizing details over and over. Like I said "FANTASTIC".

  • Overall

Hard to follow

My husband and I listened to this book on a long drive, during which we could devote much of our attention to the story. We both had a difficult time keeping up with what was going on and who the characters were. (Between the two of us, we've listened to about 50 audiobooks by a variety of authors and have never had this problem.) I would find myself quite lost only to be snapped back to the present with some gruesome illustration of the characters' actions, still not knowing who was involved and why.

To me, this problem is limited to this part of the Hannibal series; I've read "Red Dragon" and read & listened to "Silence of the Lambs" without any difficulty.

  • Overall
  • Shane
  • Indianapolis, IN, United States
  • 02-19-07

Bad, Bad, Bad

Even one star seems to high for this selection. Big fan of the Hannibal series. I believe that it ends here for me. I will choose to fill in the gaps myself. This book was horrible. There was not really a story at all. You still don't understand why he does what he does. It makes sense why he went after the characters in this book but why did he continue. Disappointing does not even cover how I feel about this book. Harris should be ashamed to have this published.

  • Overall

Not what I expected

This was interesting and what I would call good but not great.

  • Overall

Better read it instead

I have listened to about 30 books now from, and this is the first I have ever felt the need to comment on. I was excited to see this book become available on audio so quickly after it was published. Now, I realize that the release of the book, movie, and audio all at once must have been done so that nobody would have time to realize how bad any one of them was and hurt the income from the others. This book is only mediocre on paper, but it is even less than that on audio. Others have already commented on the mismatch of the reader's voice, and I did not heed their warning before downloading. SAVE YOUR DOWNLOAD CREDITS!

  • Overall
  • Dustin
  • jenkinsburg, GA, USA
  • 02-02-07


After Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, and Red Dragon I was expecting more. This book was entertaining, however, parts of it seemed unlikely and out of character. It seemed over and over again that blind stupid luck saves our anti-hero; something completly out of place when viewed in the context of the other books. A decent read, but in large, a disapointment.

  • Overall

A Bit of History

The book was slow to start, but once you get into it, I could not shut it off!! It was very intriguing to find out how Hannibal became the man he is now. I always wondered what provoked him.

I really recommend this book to those who love mystery and some compelling psychology!!

  • Overall
  • Mark
  • Diamond Bar, CA, USA
  • 01-13-07

Not worthy

The story is fair with a few suspense moments but hardly worth the time. I wish the story would have focused more on Hannibal as a person and his persona. Instead the story meanders around WWII, Nazi, stolen art, and art dealers. It got boring quikly to be honest. Focus on Hannibal - He's the character I came to learn about. Less on the horrors of Nazi's and more on Hannibal please.

Dont even get me started on the narrator. He has a very warm southern drawl. Nice to listen to but out of place for this book IMO.

WoolPatrol says Pass unless your bored