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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Twenty-five years after Thomas Harris introduced the world to one of the most memorable literary villains of all time (in 1981's Red Dragon), he revisits his signature character with a chilling prequel that chronicles the horrific childhood of Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter.
As a child growing up in Lithuania, life is blissful for young Hannibal and his little sister, Mischa, living in the majestic Castle Lecter with their loving parents. Hannibal's carefree existence, however, is turned into a living nightmare when Hitler's armies invade the Soviet Union and his family is forced to flee. After more than three years surviving in the wilderness during Hitler's bloody eastern campaign, the horror of war finally finds Hannibal, and he is forced to endure a never-ending barrage of brutality: the destruction of his home, the death of his parents, the gruesome murder of his sister at the hands of starving thugs, etc. But Hannibal's life is spared when his uncle finds him and relocates him to France. Even as he matures into an educated young man, though, the haunting images of his youth compel him to seek some kind of vengeance…
With all the hype surrounding the publication of this book, there's a significant chance that the result will fall short of readers' expectations; but Harris pulls it off with a brilliantly restrained -- and powerfully moving -- story about the transformation of a sensitive, loving, intelligent boy into a cold-blooded monster. Hard-core fans of Harris's Hannibal quartet (Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs, and Hannibal) will undoubtedly enjoy this read with some fava beans and a nice Chianti… Paul Goat Allen