Summary and book reviews of Hannibal by Thomas Harris

Hannibal

by Thomas Harris

Hannibal
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  • First Published:
    Jun 1999, 480 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2000, 672 pages

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Book Summary

Prepare to travel to hell and beyond as a master storyteller permanently alters the world you thought you knew.

Invite Hannibal Lecter into the palace of your mind and be invited into his mind palace in turn. Note the similarities in yours and his, the high vaulted chambers of your dreams, the shadowed halls, the locked storerooms where you dare not go, the scrap of half-forgotten music, the muffled cries from behind a wall.

In one of the most eagerly anticipated literary events of the decade, Thomas Harris takes us once again into the mind of a killer, crafting a chilling portrait of insidiously evolving evil--a tour de force of psychological suspense.

Seven years have passed since Dr. Hannibal Lecter escaped from custody, seven years since FBI Special Agent Clarice Starling interviewed him in a maximum security hospital for the criminally insane. The doctor is still at large, pursuing his own ineffable interests, savoring the scents, the essences of an unguarded world. But Starling has never forgotten her encounters with Dr. Lecter, and the metallic rasp of his seldom-used voice still sounds in her dreams.

Mason Verger remembers Dr. Lecter, too, and is obsessed with revenge. He was Dr. Lecter's sixth victim, and he has survived to rule his own butcher's empire. From his respirator, Verger monitors every twitch in his worldwide web. Soon he sees that to draw the doctor, he must have the most exquisite and innocent-appearing bait; he must have what Dr. Lecter likes best.

Powerful, hypnotic, utterly original, Hannibal is a dazzling feast for the imagination. Prepare to travel to hell and beyond as a master storyteller permanently alters the world you thought you knew.

Chapter 21

The Christian martyr San Miniato picked up his severed head from the sand of the Roman amphitheater in Florence and carried it beneath his arm to the mountainside across the river where he lies in his splendid church, tradition says.

Certainly San Miniato's body, erect or not, passed en route along the ancient street where we now stand, the Via de' Bardi. The evening gathers now and the street is empty, the fan pattern of the cobbles shining in a winter drizzle not cold enough to kill the smell of cats. We are among the palaces built six hundred years ago by the merchant princes, the kingmakers and connivers of Renaissance Florence. Within bow-shot across the Arno River are the cruel spikes of the Signoria, where the monk Savonarola was hanged and burned, and that great meat house of hanging Christs, the Uffizi museum.

These family palaces, pressed together in an ancient street, frozen in the modern Italian bureaucracy, are prison architecture on the ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

USA Today

Thomas Harris, the man who wrote the great thriller The Silence of the Lambs, serves up what can only be described as morally reprehensible slop in his book Hannibal.

When Silence came out 11 years ago, serial killers seemed more of a novelty, particularly one who was both brilliant and aristocratic.... But fantasy violence doesn't seem so entertaining after seeing teen-agers run screaming from high school. It seems sick to sit in the cozy comfort of one's living room and read for fun and pleasure about the squeals human beings make when their ears are cut off.

No one should deny Harris his right to publish novels. But bookselling is in a sick, sad place when Hannibal is this summer's must-read."

The San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

Hannibal starts out strong, steadily improves and then, perhaps anticipating the fate of its eponymous anti-hero, goes straight to hell.

New York Times Book Review - Stephen King

It is...one of the two most frightening popular novels of our time, the other being The Exorcist....[A] novel full of rough bumps and little insights....[An] authentic witch's brew, eye of newt and haunch of redneck....[N]ovels that so bravely and cleverly erase the line between popular fiction and literature are very much to be prized.

Library Journal

Although Harris's occasional lapses into baroque language and the novel's confusing, dreamy ending mar an otherwise perfect thriller, enormous patron demand makes this a necessary purchase in even the smallest public library.

Publishers Weekly

This narrative roils along a herky-jerky vector but remains always mesmerizing, as Harris's prose and insights, particularly his reveries about Hannibal, boast power and an overripe beauty.

Reader Reviews

nrvj

Thomas Harris turns a poet in his description of Hannibal. This book is not to be read for the gory of it or to understand Hannibal, it is to be read for Harris' vision of Hannibal. He takes descriptive writing to a new dizzy height.

Doug Schwartz

Although I don't read many books this had to of been the best PERIOD.......................................


Phil

A Grave Disappointment
I enjoyed reading the book from the beginning right near the end. And being a sadistic person, I was excited with what was about to happen to Dr. Lecter. Then all of a sudden, a stupid twist. I clearly don't understand what Harris was thinking of ...   Read More

Anonymous

Quite a disappointment for fans of the previous books, like myself. The writing is still great, if more affected, but the characters have become cliched and the book plods at an uneven pace. The author attempts to humanize Hannibal and even tries ...   Read More

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