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A book by Thomas Harris

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Welcome him to the palace of your mind

  • Feb 24, 2007
Pros: Creepy (not the brain thing, I expected that), insights into Hannibal's mind

Cons: Found myself a little disappointed with the ending, surprisingly

The Bottom Line: Overall, enjoyable.

Ever since I saw the movie Hannibal, I’ve wanted to read the book. I totally dig on Anthony Hopkins. Took long enough to get this thing though…

Hannibal is the next book in line after Silence of the Lambs. I’m not sure if it really is labeled as a sequel or not, because it can kind of stand alone, but I figure as long as you have the basic information about Dr. Lecter, Clarice Starling, and their previous, ah, relationship (if you will), then you’re good as gold.

Dr. Hannibal Lecter, aka Hannibal the Cannibal, escaped his confinement in Silence of the Lambs and is breathing fresh air. He’s traveled to Italy and is enjoying all the scents and sights and good things the city has to offer. He’s even taken on the spot as curator of Palazzo Capponi. No one recognizes him and life is good.

Not so for Clarice Starling. Her position in the FBI is slowly being poisoned by the inner politics of jealous members, and an incident has left her disheartened and doubtful. Dr. Lecter has not forgotten about her. A single letter to her stirs up everyone – including the one victim of Lecter’s that lived. Mason Verger, left in a horrific state, wants his revenge on Lecter and knows that Clarice will be the tastiest bait he can provide. And when an Inspector Pazzi suddenly realizes that one Dr. Fell is actually Dr. Lecter, the wheels begin turning in the scramble for Lecter’s life, and maybe even Clarice’s as well.

Reading this book actually makes me want to see the movie again. Though I can’t picture Anthony Hopkins as Thomas Harris’s Dr. Lecter, he is very enticing nonetheless. But on the subject of this book, it’s a very engaging read. True, it can get boring a few times when you certain parts, but in the end it turns out that those parts were necessary and you don’t regret reading them anymore. For example, Harris gives us an entire chapter devoted to just Inspector Pazzi’s past and a major criminal abduction that eventually was turned over and sort of ruined him. While reading this I thought, “Why do I care?” Later, while it is possible that we could have done without all that information and maybe just the basics, you do get a sense of, “Ok, that’s more understandable now.”

I like that we are allowed into Lecter’s mind in this book, mostly getting that recurring memory of his sister Mischa, which was particularly horrific. Other things in this book seemed kind of strange, such as Mason’s sister and her motives. Interesting, but still weird.

Again, Harris writes this with a few strange quirks of his own. As in Silence of the Lambs, many chapters began in a present tense style before going back into the more commonplace past tense. I was ready for that and it didn’t bother me as much, but what did throw me off was the sudden appearance of “we” and “you” in this book. Like all of a sudden Harris has decided to involve the reader more than just reading. It does work in a very odd way, so I can’t really fault him for it, but I could see the possibility that others will not accept it as easily. It is pretty abrupt when it does show up. There was one extended incident where even I started to wonder, “Ok, how long is this going to go on?”

If you haven’t seen the movie, expect to be reading some interesting and, ah, slightly messy stuff. After you read this, just know that the movie is pretty darn close to the book with a few necessary and understandable cuts (not in the gore department either, heh), so beware. There are a few times when I wish Harris would detail the action a little more as it tends to happen so quickly I have to reread parts to make sure I hadn’t missed anything or that I was entirely sure of what happened.

It takes a while for Hannibal and Clarice to meet up, so if you were hoping for a reunion around the middle of the book, you’re going to be disappointed. It isn’t until around page 400 of the 486 page book. From then it was interesting, and went as I expected (not sure what you expect, heh heh), but as for the final end, I’m not quite satisfied. I can say it was not what I was expecting, and while I find it interesting, it doesn’t quite work for me. I was hoping for something in between the movie end and what I got here (both are complete opposites). This ending was almost too fairy-tale like for me. Too easy, too happy. I couldn’t entirely believe it. Not with Starling’s character.

Oh well, you can’t please everyone. That’s fine. It was still a good read. :)



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More Hannibal (book) reviews
Quick Tip by . July 01, 2010
Harris at his best.
review by . December 15, 2008
It's been seven years since Special Agent Clarice Starling visited Hannibal Lecter in the asylum in Silence of the Lambs. She's still with the FBI, although out of favor after a recent shoot-out. Wealthy recluse Mason Verger has been planning Hannibal's demise since he was under Lecter's psychiatric care. That association left Verger paralyzed and mutilated, with only thoughts of revenge to keep him alive. An Italian inspector has found Lecter living the good life in Florence, and is about to bring …
review by . December 05, 2002
It seems that many people did not like this book, but after listening to the unabridged performance on audio cassette, I found the story compelling and psychologically intriguing, once you cut through the campy melodrama. Grant you, some of the characters, in particular, the hideously incapacitated Mason Verger, are portrayed as one-dimensional over-the-top drones on a mission that simply drive the story's action rather than provide psychological intrigue. Clarice who in 'Silence of the Lambs' was …
review by . February 08, 2001
Whether the main character of this genre of novels is called Dracula, Nosferatu, Charlie Manson or Hannibal Lecter the driver is similar: we seem to have a long history of lust for incredible gore and horror. Perhaps Thomas Harris understands this universal need as he has introduced an elegant yet smarmy character who is charismatic enough to survive three books. With the highly publicized film version of Hannibal about to be released the timing seems right to find out just how far the author could …
review by . July 16, 2000
there's very little to say in re characterisation and plot that hasn't been said in the other 2228 reviews of this book. I loved it, read it in a day, but thought the ending was a bit of a cop-out. I have three nitpicks. #1: the two officers Starling was helping in the initial police raid were called Burke and Hare. Oh pulleeeease! #2: The quadraplegic baddie was far too batman-esque. I mean, what's with the twenty four-hour tie him up and leave him there to escape method of killing him? MASON, …
review by . August 02, 1999
I have a thousand things to do; deadlines yap at my heels like wolves learning to hunt. But all was set aside this Monday morning, so I could finish this book. It is brilliant. It is terrifying. And finally it is satisfying. The plot is well-known to anyone reading the reviews. The narrative moves along swiftly, always compelling you to read one more page, one more page before you finally sleep. Not since the Old Testament have good and evil flowed together so finely, the basic ideas of justice …
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Nicole ()
Ranked #166
Age: 27 Currently: Freelancing my butt off and querying my other novel, Blood for Wolves. Who likes seriously factured fairy tales? =D      Like books? Then take it from a real, live … more
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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 asManhunter), Hannibal diabolically helps the FBI track a fascinating serial killer. (Takes one to know one.) InThe 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.

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ISBN-10: 0440224675
ISBN-13: 978-0440224679
Author: Thomas Harris
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: Dell
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"Stunningly brilliant."
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