Hannibal Lecter emerges from the nightmare of the Eastern Front, a boy in the snow, mute, with a chain around his neck. He seems utterly alone, but he has brought his demons with him. Hannibal’s uncle, a noted painter, finds him in a Soviet orphanage and brings him to France, where Hannibal will live with his uncle and his uncle’s beautiful and exotic wife, Lady Murasaki. Lady Murasaki helps Hannibal to heal. With her help he flourishes, becoming the youngest person ever admitted to medical school in France. But Hannibal’s demons visit him and torment him. When he is old enough, he visits them in turn. He discovers he has gifts beyond the academic, and in that epiphany, Hannibal Lecter becomes death’s prodigy.
Hannibal Rising is the last book in the Hannibal series. It begins with a Hannibal who is an innocent little boy born in an aristocratic family & despite the war is leading a happy life with his family. Tragedy strikes when his family is killed & his little sister Mischa is cannibalized in front of his own eyes. The book covers his journey from innocence to cannibalism & to revenge.
What I liked:
- I loved the little glimpse we had in the life of Hannibal Lecter when he was a little boy. The time we see him spending with his sister Mischa, his mother, Mr Jakov, Ceaser, etc tell us that his story might have turned out quite differently had he not been a witness to his own sister being cannibalized. The boy, though strange & aloof, was no murderer & certainly not a cannibal. Even as a child all he wanted was justice.
- Mischa was such an adorable little girl. Her ‘Anibaa’ really shatters your heart & you wish you could do anything to reunite brother & sister. 😦 Hence I was really grateful that the author didn’t concentrate on the method of her murder too much. Hannibal forgetting some parts & not seeing some others was a blessing to the reader.
- The book made me cheer enough for the bad guy, if Hannibal can be called bad here. He wants to avenge his sister’s horrific death & somehow you cannot help but be really happy when he traces down each of those monsters & murders them.
- The little references to Japanese cultures & traditions through Lady Murasaki were interesting.
What I did not like:
- “What is left in you to love?” Unnecessarily cruel! 😦
- The descriptions of Hannibal drawing, cutting, presenting all the cut cadavers & then the detailed descriptions of him tracking down & sneaking up on Grutas & co. were unnecessarily drawn out.
I loved this entire series & except for the first book, Red Dragon, found all of them engaging. I had read Silence of the Lambs nearly a year back but my interest in the series was rekindled when I started watching NBC’s Hannibal. As the show is coming to an end I thought I needed to read the books which inspired such a lovely show. I will write more on the show when it ends in a few weeks time. But till then it was great to finally read the novels completely & learn more of the wonderful Dr. Lecter, especially some of it from his own POV. 🙂
Some quotes from the book:
“Are you looking for sympathy? You’ll find it in the dictionary between shit and syphilis”
“Mischa, we take comfort in knowing there is no God. That you are not enslaved in Heaven, made to kiss God’s ass forever. What you have is better than Paradise. You have blessed oblivion. I miss you every day.”
“Hannibal had entered his heart’s long winter. He slept soundly and was not visited in dreams as humans are.”