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Hannibal (Hannibal Lecter Series #3)

Hannibal (Hannibal Lecter Series #3)

3.9 296
by Thomas Harris

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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


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.

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Hannibal Lecter Series , #3
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Random House
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2 MB

Read an Excerpt

Chapter Twenty One

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 outside, but they contain great and graceful spaces, high silent halls no one ever sees, draped with rotting, rain-streaked silk where lesser works of the great Renaissance masters hang in the dark for years, and are illuminated by the lightning after the draperies collapse.

Here beside you is the palazzo of the Capponi, a family distinguished for a thousand years, who tore up a French king's ultimatum in his face and produced a pope.

The windows of the Palazzo Capponi are dark now, behind their iron grates. The torch rings are empty. In that pane of crazed old glass is a bullet hole from the 1940s. Go closer. Rest your head against the cold iron as the policeman did and listen. Faintly you can hear a clavier. Bach's Goldberg Variations played, not perfectly, but exceedingly well, with an engaging understanding of the music. Played not perfectly, but exceedingly well; there is perhaps a slight stiffness in the left hand.

If you believe you are beyond harm, will you go inside? Will you enter this palace so prominent in blood and glory, follow your face through the web-spanned dark, toward the exquisite chiming of the clavier? The alarms cannot see us. The wet policeman lurking in the doorway cannot see us. Come . . .

Inside the foyer the darkness is almost absolute. A long stone staircase, the stair rail cold beneath our sliding hand, the steps scooped by the hundreds of years of footfalls, uneven beneath our feet as we climb toward the music.

The tall double doors of the main salon would squeak and howl if we had to open them. For you, they are open. The music comes from the far, far corner, and from the corner comes the only light, light of many candles pouring reddish through the small door of a chapel off the corner of the room.

Cross to the music. We are dimly aware of passing large groups of draped furniture, vague shapes not quite still in the candlelight, like a sleeping herd. Above us the height of the room disappears into darkness.

The light glows redly on an ornate clavier and on the man known to Renaissance scholars as Dr. Fell, the doctor elegant, straight-backed as he leans into the music, the light reflecting off his hair and the back of his quilted silk dressing gown with a sheen like pelt.

The raised cover of the clavier is decorated with an intricate scene of banquetry, and the little figures seem to swarm in the candlelight above the strings. He plays with his eyes closed. He has no need of the sheet music. Before him on the lyre-shaped music rack of the clavier is a copy of the American trash tabloid the National Tattler. It is folded to show only the face on the front page, the face of Clarice Starling.

Our musician smiles, ends the piece, repeats the saraband once for his own pleasure and as the last quill-plucked string vibrates to silence in the great room, he opens his eyes, each pupil centered with a red pinpoint of light. He tilts his head to the side and looks at the paper before him.

He rises without sound and carries the American tabloid into the tiny, ornate chapel, built before the discovery of America. As he holds it up to the light of the candles and unfolds it, the religious icons above the altar seem to read the tabloid over his shoulder, as they would in a grocery line. The type is seventy-two-point Railroad Gothic. It says "DEATH ANGEL: CLARICE STARLING, THE FBI'S KILLING MACHINE."

Faces painted in agony and beatitude around the altar fade as he snuffs the candles. Crossing the great hall he has no need of light. A puff of air as Dr. Hannibal Lecter passes us. The great door creaks, closes with a thud we can feel in the floor. Silence.

Footsteps entering another room. In the resonances of this place, the walls feel closer, the ceiling still high--sharp sounds echo late from above--and the still air holds the smell of vellum and parchment and extinguished candlewicks.

The rustle of paper in the dark, the squeak and scrape of a chair. Dr. Lecter sits in a great armchair in the fabled Capponi Library. His eyes reflect light redly, but they do not glow red in the dark, as some of his keepers have sworn they do. The darkness is complete. He is considering. . . .

It is true that Dr. Lecter created the vacancy at the Palazzo Capponi by removing the former curator--a simple process requiring a few seconds' work on the old man and a modest outlay for two bags of cement--but once the way was clear he won the job fairly, demonstrating to the Belle Arti Committee an extraordinary linguistic capability, sight-translating medieval Italian and Latin from the densest Gothic black-letter manuscripts.

He has found a peace here that he would preserve--he has killed hardly anybody, except his predecessor, during his residence in Florence.

His appointment as translator and curator of the Capponi Library is a considerable prize to him for several reasons:

The spaces, the height of the palace rooms, are important to Dr. Lecter after his years of cramped confinement. More important, he feels a resonance with the palace; it is the only private building he has ever seen that approaches in dimension and detail the memory palace he has maintained since youth.

In the library, this unique collection of manuscripts and correspondence going back to the early thirteenth century, he can indulge a certain curiosity about himself.

Dr. Lecter believed, from fragmentary family records, that he was descended from a certain Giuliano Bevisangue, a fearsome twelfth-century figure in Tuscany, and from the Machiavelli as well as the Visconti. This was the ideal place for research. While he had a certain abstract curiosity about the matter, it was not ego-related. Dr. Lecter does not require conventional reinforcement. His ego, like his intelligence quota, and the degree of his rationality, is not measurable by conventional means.

In fact, there is no consensus in the psychiatric community that Dr. Lecter should be termed a man. He has long been regarded by his professional peers in psychiatry, many of whom fear his acid pen in the professional journals, as something entirely Other. For convenience they term him "monster."

The monster sits in the black library, his mind painting colors on the dark and a medieval air running in his head. He is considering the policeman.

Click of a switch and a low lamp comes on.

Now we can see Dr. Lecter seated at a sixteenth-century refectory table in the Capponi Library. Behind him is a wall of pigeonholed manuscripts and great canvas-covered ledgers going back eight hundred years. A fourteenth-century correspondence with a minister of the Republic of Venice is stacked before him, weighted with a small casting Michelangelo did as a study for his horned Moses, and in front of the inkstand, a laptop computer with on-line research capability through the University of Milan.

Bright red and blue among the dun and yellow piles of parchment and vellum is a copy of the National Tattler. And beside it, the Florence edition of La Nazione.

Dr. Lecter selects the Italian newspaper and reads its latest attack on Rinaldo Pazzi, prompted by an FBI disclaimer in the case of Il Mostro. "Our profile never matched Tocca," an FBI spokesman said.

La Nazione cited Pazzi's background and training in America, at the famous Quantico academy, and said he should have known better.

The case of Il Mostro did not interest Dr. Lecter at all, but Pazzi's background did. How unfortunate that he should encounter a policeman trained at Quantico, where Hannibal Lecter was a textbook case.

When Dr. Lecter looked into Rinaldo Pazzi's face at the Palazzo Vecchio, and stood close enough to smell him, he knew for certain that Pazzi suspected nothing, even though he had asked about the scar on Dr. Lecter's hand. Pazzi did not even have any serious interest in him regarding the curator's disappearance.

The policeman saw him at the exposition of torture instruments. Better to have encountered him at an orchid show.

Dr. Lecter was well aware that all the elements of epiphany were present in the policeman's head, bouncing at random with the million other things he knew.

Should Rinaldo Pazzi join the late curator of the Palazzo Vecchio down in the damp? Should Pazzi's body be found after an apparent suicide? La Nazione would be pleased to have hounded him to death.

Not now, the monster reflected, and turned to his great rolls of vellum and parchment manuscripts.

Dr. Lecter does not worry. He delighted in the writing style of Neri Capponi, banker and emissary to Venice in the fifteenth century, and read his letters, aloud from time to time, for his own pleasure late into the night.

Meet the Author

A native of Mississippi, Thomas Harris began his writing career covering crime in the United States and Mexico, and was a reporter and editor for the Associated Press in New York City.  His first novel, Black Sunday, was published in 1975, followed by Red Dragon in 1981, and The Silence of the Lambs in 1988.

From the Paperback edition.

Brief Biography

Sag Harbor, New York, and Miami Beach, Florida
Date of Birth:
April 11, 1940
Place of Birth:
Jackson, Tennessee
B.A., Baylor University, 1964

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Hannibal 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 296 reviews.
TMBreck More than 1 year ago
** spoiler alert ** When I finished The Silence of the Lambs I was so hoping that Starling would be a FBI agent well on her way to the top. In a perfect world, she would have been. However, "Hannibal" gives an all-too realistic and believable explanation of why she isn't. During the course of this book, her world collapses in on her and everything she has put her faith and trust in either abandons her (through circumstance or not) or completely turns on her. In SotL, Clarice was a young trainee who was aware of the things she would have to over-come once she actually made it out of training. However, in this book, she has becoming jaded by the reality of how much she's resented for her success and (it is at the very least implied) the fact that she had that success while being female. I actually enjoy the fact that, in the end, Clarice was left open to Hannibal's corruption because the world she valued so much had turned on her and basically left her with nothing to turn back to. I'm really a sucker for twisted versions of happy endings
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was the best book of the series.
Sadistprince-18 More than 1 year ago
I love Thomas Harris, he is original and he comes up with the most orginal characters. I have been a fan since I watched silence of the lambs back when I was a tennager, and I have read his other books except for Black Sunday, soon though. I am one of the people that loves the book, start to finish, and I found the ending fitting for this couple. The tension that started with Silence of the Lambs, carried over perfectly. Some people think that Starling acted out of character, but if you read one book right after the other one, you can pick up the hints that Harris left regarding Starlings transformation. The poor girl had a crappy life, her career with the FBI was destroyed the moment she found Jame Gumb, she gave her best years to the bureau and it got her nothing but the scorn of her male contemporaries and superiors. Being a girl, and an attractive one at that with a strong personality didn't help her either. Dr Lecter took advantage of Starlings misfortunes to bring her over to the dark side, something she avidly welcomed I might add. I wouldn't called Dr. Lecter an anti-hero, no matter how much you romanticise him, he is still a murderous cannibal. But you can't deny that his attachment to Clarice is kind of sweet. A great book, the ending might not be for everybody, but like I say. Read Silence right before Hannibal and it makes more sense.
anniemom More than 1 year ago
I thought this was the best book of the series----it is romance between two people I always thought that Yul Brynner would make a great Lector the best way to read this right after you read Silence of the lambs---it makes sense and shows that love can exist no matter what---- a person can love and be loved in return
Saunders More than 1 year ago
I read "Hannibal" over Christmas Vacation in two days, and I immediately proclaimed it as one of my favorites--and although I read (too) much, I have very few favorite books. I stayed up until 5AM the night between those two days reading it by the glow of Christmas lights. It drew me in and I simply could not put it down.
It is much better than the movie (which is still enjoyable in its own right), especially the ending. But if you want to know what that means, you'll have to read the book to find out.
Yes, it's a little gory, but nothing offensive. Another excellent thriller, "Battle Royale," was bloodier, if you want a comparison. At any rate, I figured that Krendler fellow had what was coming to him. (Read the book to find out what I mean by that.)
There's sort of a subliminal romantic twist to it too; not in the in-your-face/mushy/obnoxious style of the 90s version of the movie "Titanic" or those "Twilight" books, though. It was subtle and made the story more appealing.
I really don't want to give anything away, so I'll end my little review here. I do suggest you read it. You will not be disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If, like me you,ve read and enjoyed Harris' two previous novels, don't rush out to get this one. All of the aspects that that made SOL and Reg Dragon grippping reads are missing here. What's wrong? Well, slooow plot, poorly defined characters (Starling starts well, but by the end of the book has become a totally vague personality), weak plot, improbable plot events ( eg man eating pigs - terrifying huh?) and a general lack of tension. The book also contains long passages of descriptive prose of Florence with historical and cultural musings at length. Also changes from third person narrator to first person and first person plural, all seemingly at random. If this isn't enought to bore you, then the last 50 pages or so where the plot goes into cuckoo land will finish you off. Imagine Dr Lecter as a caring benevolent gourmand?? You get the picture. The 'horror' in this book is simply not there, because the author has let the tension go and the reader is left feeling slightly sickened by the gruesome descrptive prose, but not scared because the situations are so obviuosly contrived. Why has Harris written such a bad book? Why did for example Stephen King give it such a rave review? Who knows. Actually who cares. I got my copy of this book for free and still feel I was ripped off. Don't go out there and pay for it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book kept me interested until the end...are we really supposed to believe this? At least in a book I can put it down and think of something else, as a movie you see the people and what happens happens. I think the movie will be terrible if they don't change the ending and personally I will not be paying to see it and find out! HORRIBLE ENDING...DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE DISAPPOINTED!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is definitely one of the greatest, most moving books I have ever read. It applies to every person on earth. Once you read this book, you'll have learned life's lessons.
Sean_From_OHIO More than 1 year ago
Thomas Harris' third installment of the Hannibal Lecter series shifts the focus more to the machinations of one of his victims as he seeks revenge. Harris still envelopes the reader in the mind of Lecter, but at times he and Clarice Starling seemed to be on the back burner even though they are the most interesting characters. The ending isn't the typical one you'd expect and was a slight surprise. I would have rated this higher if more of Lecter's "appetites" were explored. Still a good book that has a high bar to live up to.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Having not read the previous 2 books (Red Dragon and the Silence of the Lambs) I cannot compare the writings of the books, having said that watching the movie Silence of the Lambs gives me an idea of what happened in the previous book.  Well written but unfortunately predictable I won’t give away the plot as there are some people out there that may have not read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Creepy, interesting and macabre. Great if you're intetested in a dark book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was absolutely incredible! It is every you would expect in a novel, especially thriller/horror. It is exceptionally well written, suspenseful, has characters you care about, thrills, chills, and just so much more. It continues right off from The Silence Of The Lambs (only seven years later, but it doesn't feel like it besides Clarice's gain in maturity) so you can follow on with what the characters are doing. The book has five parts; four in America, and one in Florence. In my opinion I felt the Florence part (Part II) was 6/5 stars. It isn't that it is better written, it is just that it had some sort of suspense or chase or action within every word. I read that whole part in three hours because I couldn't put it down. The ending was sort of surprise, but that's what made it that much better. I won't spoil it for those of you who haven't read the book yet but this book is a great read and I would recommend reading it. At first I was a little apprehensive due to many of the one, two, and three star reviews below me and everywhere on line, but in the end I discarded the comments and decided to try the novel for myself. I am glad I did! I definitely recommend this to anyone who read and like Red Dragon and The Silence Of The Lambs.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite books ever. The whole series is amazing!!!!
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