I’ve been fascinated with Hannibal Lecter since watching the movie The Silence of the Lambs (TSOTL) and then reading the books by Thomas Harris. TSOTL remains my favourite among all the books and even after reading the latest installment, Hannibal Rising, this hasn’t changed.
This is not to say that Hannibal Rising isn’t a good book. It’s a good book, just not in the TSOTL league for me. Hannibal Rising is about Hannibal’s childhood in Lithuania, sometime during World War II, and the trauma he faces during those years.
Orphaned, he subsequently moves to Paris to live with his uncle and the Lady Murasaki, his uncle’s wife, who’s Japanese. The book tells of Hannibal’s struggles with his past, his relationship with his aunt, and gives glimpses of why he became who he is–a psychopath.
You can read this book without having read any of the other Hannibal books so don’t let that stop you. I’m not sure how I’d rate Hannibal Rising but I think it’s closer to Red Dragon, which doesn’t feature as much of Hannibal, in terms of likeability than the sequel to TSOTL, Hannibal, which I thought was not up to the mark.
Either way, if you’re a Lecter fan, then this is a must-read for you.
PS: The movie version of the book was released in the US recently and I’m looking forward to watching it here. You have to, when Rhys Ifans, more famous for playing the delightful Welshman in Notting Hill, plays one of the bad guys.