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Hannibal - Thomas Harris

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Author: Thomas Harris / Genre: Crime / Thriller

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      13.09.2009 03:14
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      No matter how it ends, this is quality writing

      Although it's not really expected that Thomas Harris can strike it rich three times in a row, he has more or less managed that with a worthy successor to his famed novels The Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon.

      The book really is quite an entertaining yarn if it somewhat, I mean, VERY, absurd. Still, the novel is written in a tone that never takes this too self-seriously, for Harris is a smart man that knows his audience are smart people. The plot involves numerous crazy moments, but revolves around a former acquaintance of Lecter's named Mason Verger, who is scarred from an outing with Lecter, where he was convinced to remove his face with glass and allow his own dogs to eat it. He plans revenge on Lecter, hoping to capture him and and kill him.

      What makes the novel what it is is obviously the presence of everyone's favourite villain, Lecter, and whilst I cannot think of him without picturing Anthony Hopkins' savage portrayal, Harris has brought the famed character to life once again with gusto. Also returning is FBI Agent Clarice Starling, rekindling her strange relations with Lecter, which is at a hint sexual, and of course, to Lecter, cullinary.

      The set pieces are undisputably fun to read, though, and whilst they were almost ready made for film adaptation by someone as refined as Ridley Scott, they jumped off the page before the film was even made anyway.

      It's a profoundly grim novel, considerably moreso than the film, particularly in relation to the character of Mason Verger, who isn't just a pederast, but has a very strange relationship with his sister, with whom he hopes he can carry on his legacy by inseminating her lesbian lover. What's most strange, though, is how the novel closes - it dispenses entirely with reality, and I'm not wholly convinced of its brilliance. It has been divisive with readers, and I'm still unsure as to whether I prefer the film ending.

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      02.03.2005 23:30
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      I have put off reading Hannibal as many people had told me that it has nothing on Thomas Harris' other books - Silence Of The Lambs and Red Dragon. I own these two in one volume and found them both to be decent reads, with Red Dragon being the superior. My father, a writer (albeit unheard of and unsuccessful, though talented, like so many writers out there) fancies himself as a critic and warned me 'not to bother' with this book but I shouldn't have listened as he has much the same to say about any 'popular' writer who is not bogged down with literary genius! Anyway, I was lent this book last week as my reading material is wearing thin and following my recent purchases (due mainly to frustration at reading the same books over & over) my relatives are beginning to get edgy - they feel I may bankrupt myself in my frenzy to find new reading material that I enjoy! I polished it off in a couple of days and so..... here is my review!

      ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*SOME FAQS~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

      Thomas Harris began his career as a reporter covering crime in America & Mexico. His first novel, Black Sunday was published in 1975 followed by Red Dragon in 1981. Red Dragon was committed to the big screen a long time before The Silence Of The Lambs made him a very popular author following the film starring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. The first adaptation of Red Dragon was entitled 'Manhunter' and was a superior, if a little '70's' film. The Silence of The Lambs was published in 1988 and this book, Hannibal, was published in 1999.

      This particular copy of Hannibal was published by Arrow Books in 1999 who are a subsidiary of Random House - in the unlikely event that you should not be able to easily obtain a copy of this book by walking into any book shop, the ISBN number is 0 09 941683 2.

      ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*THE PLOT~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

      Let me first say that the opening pages of the book are taken up with 'praise for Thomas Harris and Hannibal?, which covers six pages. In a cynical manner, I thought to myself - 'who are they trying to convince, me or themselves?' Needless to say, I didn't read it all but kind of flicked through with the thought that I hoped the book stood up to it's hype - a little like a film that you have been waiting for forever and turns out to be a let down - you could say that I didn't approach the book in the best frame of mind.

      For all of you who are not familiar with Silence Of The Lambs, Clarice Starling is a special agent with the FBI - she famously captured 'Buffalo Bill', the serial killer who kidnapped and killed women in order to make himself a 'ladysuit'. In order to do this, she consulted Hannibal Lecter, an exceptionally clever psychologist who also happened to enjoy killing people and serving them up for dinner - with a nice Chianti, of course.

      We join Clarice and Dr Lecter seven years after his escape from the FBI - Dr Lecter is living happily in Florence and Clarice is working in the Tech dept of the FBI - a job status not entirely suited to her status as the woman who caught Buffalo Bill. Hannibal Lecter blends in well with life in Florence following minor cosmetic surgery and has refrained from killing all but a few people who have got in the way of his social ambitions.

      A disgraced member of the Florence police recognises Hannibal and decides that, rather than give Lecter to the authorities, he will cash in on the multi-million pound reward offered by Mason, one of Lecter's unfortunate victims. The Policeman is called Pazzi and not long age caught the infamous monster of Florence who preyed upon couples, killing them in their cars as they embraced. Pazzi is now disgraced because the powers that be have decided that the case was never strong enough and so should not have been taken to court. Pazzi is the fall guy and suddenly, his years of loyal service and his celebrated status are replaced by disdain and ridicule.

      Needless to say, Pazzi's efforts to aid the capture of Lecter go awry and Lecter escapes back to the States where Clarice Starling is on the receiving end of all kinds of flak following a shoot-out with a criminal who used a baby to shield her escape. Clarice is soon under much more pressure and Lecter follows every word written concerning her persecution, even adding to it by writing her personal notes.

      What follows is sometimes predictable and other times not. I found the first half of the book to be quite a trudge - the second half picked up and kept my interest to the final page.....but......

      ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*CONCLUSION~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

      I enjoyed the second half of this book but I found the first half very hard going. Perhaps if this was the first Thomas Harris I had read, I would have thought better of it but I felt that, in this book, Harris tried to change the characters he had created to such good effect in the past. Whilst Clarice and Hannibal were the characters I had known previously at the beginning of the book, by the end they were barely recognisable and this ruined the book for me. I couldn't and still can't understand why an author who had created these excellent characters wanted to end them in some kind of warped fairytale.

      And that's all I'm saying!

      Thanks for reading! Kes:)

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        05.03.2004 21:28
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        Like everyone else, I had waited a long time for this third instalment in Thomas Harris?s Hannibal Lecter trilogy. Sadly, when it arrived I was disappointed. The two previous books were terrific, very similar in style, both unmistakably Harris. Hannibal, however, at least to me, appears to have been written by someone else. It begins with an abrupt catch-up to FBI Special Agent Clarice Starling. In the seven years since Dr Hannibal Lecter?s bloody escape from custody in DC, Starling, who was consulting with Lecter at the time, has been dogged by the press. Her beloved FBI hasn?t been much kinder. Her Bureau masters have bounced her from job to mediocre job, no doubt to keep her out of trouble, and themselves out of the media glare. Indeed, apart from cuddly Jack Crawford, Starling?s confidante and erstwhile boss, the author portrays the senior G-men as so many self-serving chauvinists; particularly Crawford?s boss Paul Krendler, who is just plain corrupt. Call me old-fashioned, but shouldn?t the escaped cannibal killer be the primary villain of the piece? In league with Krendler is Mason Verger, an inherently sinister and sadistic man. Verger is extremely wealthy, and figures everyone has a price. It appears he?s right. Verger will bribe anyone to get what he wants, and right now what he wants is Hannibal Lecter. The FBI wants Lecter too, of course, but Verger has Paul Krendler to help him jump the queue. Mason Verger has unfinished business with the good doctor. Years before, Lecter attacked his then-patient, leaving Verger incapacitated, horribly disfigured, and mad as hell; all of which he remains to this day. Harris?s lurid descriptions of Lecter?s attack, and of Verger?s resultant injuries, is one of the book?s saving graces. It made me want to see the movie. Finally we catch up with Lecter, now living incognito as a glorified museum curator in Florence, Italy. This is where the
        story really falls on its face. Narrative gives way to pretentiousness, as the author gets bogged down in descriptive detail. It seems the book is largely a vehicle for Harris to display his clearly extensive knowledge of the finer things in life, from fine wine to sculpture, classical music to literature. The downhill tumble continues, the introduction of uninteresting characters and tedious subplot is interrupted at intervals by more of the author?s posturing penmanship. It drags on for what seems like forever before the welcome end, which is really no ending at all. I do hope this marks the end of the Lecter saga.

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          29.08.2001 23:14
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          After all the hype surrounding the year 2000 movie of Hannibal, it is very easy to overlook the fact that it was based upon one of the best thriller books written in recent years. In my humble opinion, the film did no justice for this fantastic book, and any fans of Doctor Hannibal Lectar out there who rely on the movie world for their kicks need to get their reading glasses on. Hannibal is the third book in the trilogy surrounding Dr Lectar, written by the fantastically talented Thomas Harris. The book takes up seven years after The Silence of the Lambs finished. Hannibal Lectar has been on the run for 7 years since his escape from custody for several gruesome murders. Lectar has re-invented himself and is living and working in Florence. He is curator of a museum there and is free to indulge his passion for life's finer things. Meanwhile, in America, a man lies on a respirator, obsessing over Dr Lectar. That man is Mason Verger. He was a victim of the doctor's who unfortunately didn't die. His face has been removed and he can't breath for himself. His sole purpose in life is finding his nemesis and getting revenge. Verger is head of a huge butchery empire, and under this cover he has a trio of Sardinians tucked away with a band of cross-bred man-eating pigs, ever ready to move into place if ever Lectar is found. Clarese Starling is now a full blown FBI agent, and although she has had no more dealings with Lectar since she courted his help to find the serial killer Buffalo Bill, he is quite often in her thoughts. Back in Florence, a down on his luck detective stumbles accross the identity of Lectar, and rather than go to his superiors, he takes the information to Mason Verger in order to claim a huge reward. Of course, we already know how sharp Hannibal's mind is, and this detective is no match for him. He deals with the detective in a gruesome manner, but in doing so, he alerts the FBI to his
          presence. He must flee from his beloved Florence, and try to stay a few steps ahead of both the law and Mason Verger. The story is written in a quite ingenious manner. It is not only told from one view. Instead, we are allowed to look at the events from the perspectives of Hannibal, Starling, Verger and at times, Barnie, the big black orderly to looked after him during his years of incarseration. The chill factor and thrill level of the book never lets up from start to finish. I found that once I started, I couldn't put it down again. Thomas Harris is one of the few writers who manages to litterally have me jumping out of my seat at times. Thoughts, feelings and surroundings are described in such vivid detail that you can almost see what the characters are seeing. The chase for Hannibal goes across Europe & South America and eventually back to the US. He has a passion for the best that life can offer, and one such thing is Clarise Starling. Starling's nerves and loyalties are testing to breaking point, and right until the last few pages, you are unsure of how it will pan out. If perhaps you have seen the movie, this book is well worth a read. It is only ever like the film in places, and has a totally different ending, so you'll certainly be in for a few surprises. Bored or disapointed are not likely to be outcomes.

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            12.07.2001 01:50
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            I have never made any secret of my fascination with the macabre. I thoroughly embraced Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs and so when Hannibal became my companion on a long day or airport delays, I was in good company. From the opening page to the final line, not a word is wasted. Harris once again enthralls us with the dark mind of Dr Hannibal Lecter. He creates a novel not only of consummate evil, but also of surprising warmth and black humour. He made me retch, smile, laugh and cry with the blink of an eye. The character of Mason Verger is with out a doubt one of the most repulsive creatures I have ever had the misfortune to come across. I am almost glad to hear of how he suffered at the hands of Lecter. But I feel certain aspects of this man do not sit comfortably, his penchant for keeping the tears of children was both incredulous and somewhat inconsequential, it is obvious that this man has an unwell mind, to say the very least from the onset. This novel, in some ways can be said to elaborate further on the humanness of Hannibal, that was only really alluded to in previous novels. The idea of Lecter being a cultured, scarred man is only given further credence by Harris’s astonishing eye for detail. His knowledge of Florence and Hannibal are remarkable. Even minor characterization is insightful and valid. All too often in novels are we introduced to characters who seem to be there to plump out a dwindling storyline, but Harris makes even seemingly inconsequential information count in the figures of Barney and Margot. We greet Clarice Starling as a woman, who no matter how hard I try has the face of Jodie Foster. She is once again a strong woman with unspeakable hidden weaknesses. But it is rightly, Hannibal who resonates a powerful presence in this book. His wry sense of humour and scheming mind, once again a pleasure to behold. By the time I finished this novel all his evilness was al
            most absolved by his sheer charisma. He is a very dangerous man indeed, even more dangerous than in his previous incarnations, because now more than ever we or at least I cannot help but admire him. The ending of the novel is the climactic solution to the complex and simmering relationship that Starling and Lecter that was perhaps a little predictable and idealistic, but nevertheless a fitting end to an ultimately very human novel. I cannot recommend this book enough to those who enjoyed Harris’ previous work. It is an absolute masterpiece and for that reason I will never go to see the butchered Hollywood film.

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              09.07.2001 16:37
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              My disappointment in 'Hannibal' is profound. I was among those who had some, perhaps unrealistic, high expectations of this sequel to the seminal 'Silence of the Lambs', and I was saddened by the pulp nonsense that was presented to me on screen. In short, 'Hannibal' picks up ten years on from 'Silence of the Lambs', with lunatic killer Hannibal Lector living in Florence and posing as a museum curator. Back in the States, Clarice Starling, played this time by Julianne Moore rather than Jodie Foster, is in a career slump. After a disastrous drugs bust, she's given the job of tracking Lector down again (he still features on the FBI's ten most wanted list). Her reassignment is being manipulated somewhat by the hideously disfigured millionaire Mason Verger, the only previous victim of Hannibal's to have survived, who has placed a tremendous price on his assailant's head. Thus the scene is set for a weak plot, in which Clarice Starling does little other than mope about the FBI basement listening to old recordings of Lector, and an Italian detective tracks Hannibal down on Mason's behalf, only to meet with a messy end. Lector comes to America, ostensibly to deal with Starling's superiors (including a predictably lunatic Ray Liotta), and test Starling's faith in justice. And that last paragraph makes the plot sound much more interesting than it is. 'Hannibal' is nonsense, and it's dangerous, immoral nonsense. In 'The Silence of the Lambs', Lector was a terrifying animal, all the more disturbing because of his obvious reserves of charm and intelligence. Whenever we began to like him though, we caught a glimpse of how twisted and dangerous the character was. It was a fine line, and the main reason for that film's success is the careful way in which both director and cast walked it. We could be fascinated by Hannibal yes. But we never liked him, and being close to
              him was the stuff of nightmares. In short, it was a piece of genius. Now look at 'Hannibal'. The charm's still there, for sure. Anthony Hopkins remains one of the finer actors on this planet, and when he goes for the charm jugular, he hits the spot every time. Further, Hannibal's actually funny. He kills to the tune of entertaining one-liners, delivered with masterful timing. In short, you can't help but like Hannibal Lector. He even runs the risk of becoming a cult figure. Hence my outrage. Yes, we see Lector kill in this film, but only those who deserve it. The detective, who tracks him down, despite the warnings of others, deserves it. He had those warnings, but risked all for Verger's reward. Verger himself was a paedophile, a danger in and of him, and deserved both Lector's original disfiguring attack, and the new assault he suffers in this film. Clarice's superiors are corrupt and smug, so obviously deserve what they get. Hannibal isn't a dangerous lunatic at all - he's our moral conscience, by God! A dangerous, dangerous conceit, and one that could have been avoided by keeping the audience at arm's length from Lector. Terrify us don't charm us. Better yet, as with 'Silence', do both. Hannibal Lector should not be admired, and this film tricks us into doing just that. Having said that, this film has some redeeming features. Hopkins is superbly watchable as ever. Gary Oldman, buried under very convincing make up, is similarly good fun (again though - should these characters be good fun?) Moving on from that point, we have Ray Liotta doing… well, exactly what he always does, but it works fine here too. As for Julianne Moore, I think her performance has been unfairly judged. When I saw this film, the character I saw on screen was to a fault the same individual who once wore Jodie Fosters face. The difference, one which I think is causing people to mali
              gn the actress, is actually the material. Jodie Fosters Clarice Starling had a whole journey to make in her film, confronting her own fears, Lector himself, a second lunatic at large, and more. Moore's Starling has nothing to do but be victimised, and then meet up with Lector again because of his apparent obsession. In the first film, she was central, where in this one she's on the sidelines. There is a vague attempt to suggest a twisted connection between Lector and Starling, but it barely gets off the ground, then is forgotten about. More than the acting though, the thing that turns what might have been a nasty, pulpy excuse to delight in a sick man's mayhem into a watchable film is Ridley Scott. The direction of the movie, the visual construction of images and mood, is simply beautiful. It's almost art house, in fact, which is where a film this gorgeously painted would normally have ended up. Truly something to behold, and the thing that made the time float dreamily by me. Scott is, now more than ever, a master of cinematography, and always worth he price of a ticket. On the whole though, the direction and performances aside, this is a brutish reconsideration of a fine character. Where 'The Silence of the Lambs' disturbed us intensely through a subtle psychoanalysis of extreme cases, 'Hannibal' is nothing but a freakshow where the freaks wink into the camera and joke as they maim and mutilate. I wish I could tell you not to see it, and I would if I didn't think that the director's work had such merit. Go and see it, but feel free to plug your ears with cotton wool. How's that? In summary, everyone else involved in the film buoys up a weak script, and it doesn't deserve to be. There's nothing here to disturb you (though some scenes go for the gross-out, not ineffectively). It's a watered down, ill-conceived piece of rubbish, and they really shouldn't have bothered.

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                08.07.2001 06:26
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                The readers who have been waiting for Hannibal only want to know if it is as good as Red Dragon and The Silence Of The Lambs . . . It is a pleasure to reply in the negative. No, not as good. This one is better. It is, in fact, one of the two most frightening popular novels of our time, the other being The Exorcist . . . Hannibal is really not a sequel at all, but rather the third and most satisfying part of one very long and scary ride through the haunted palace of abnormal psychiatry . . . I hope with all my heart that Harris will write again, and sooner rather than later-novels that bravely and cleverly erase the line between popular fiction and literature are very much to be prized. A masterpiece . . . chillingly brilliant. Erica Wagner, shaven-headed lit ed of The Times, proved two things in the course of her review of this book. One, which hardly needs proving again, is that EngLit degrees and good English go together like blowflies and sirloin steak; the other, which hardly needs proving again either, is that the quality of a new book or film is inversely proportional to the hype surrounding it. At least, I assumed she'd proved the latter, and I certainly wasn't going to make any special effort to read the book and confirm my assumption. Sometime in the next decade or two would be fine: I'd come across the book, try to read it, then toss it aside as another triumph of experience over hype. Well, that sometime arrived recently and I was two down with the third to go: I came across the book and tried to read it. But the third never arrived, because I never tossed it aside. No, I finished it, and for the first two or three hundred pages I was enjoying it a lot. The hype was certainly absurd, but if you can endure the grue and the gore I think you'll be right royally entertained by Hannibal. And I could endure both easily, because I couldn't take them any more seriously than I suspect Thomas Harris hims
                elf took them. Man-eating pigs; a literally faceless psychopath making martinis with children's tears; slices of human brain being served from a living man with the top of his skull sawn off; and so on. Not so much Grande Guignolerie as Grande Drôlerie. As the polymathic Dr Lecter might put it. Though I think he would be rather more certain than he'd got it right. After all, he can sight-translate medieval Italian manuscripts as easily as he can puncture the femoral artery of an importunate pickpocket, pluck a Bach fugue from a sixteenth-century harpsichord, or bite someone's eyebrow off. A sort of supercharged Bond villain who eats people, Dr Lecter, as the title suggests, is what makes the book worth reading: you never feel worried about his possible deadly intent towards Clarice Starling because death could hold no sting for a character who never comes to life. And she in her way is as big a cliché as Hannibal is in his: a highly attractive expert shot who is far more competent than her backstabbing male superiors, with a troubled background and difficulties in forming close relationships, etc, etc. I could fill in the details in my sleep, and sleep is probably where I would have quickly been if the novel had been about Clarice rather than Hannibal. Even so, I wish Harris had been more inventive with Lecter's tastes. Even if real geniuses are automatically drawn to Bach, Château d'Yquem, and expertise in four or five major European languages, which I doubt, literary ones have been too often to make Lecter stand out easily from the crowd. No, he has to eat people while he's sipping his Château d'Yquem to do that, and even the novelty of that has been exhausted by now. So Harris has to examine a little of Lecter's troubled childhood -- watching his sister being eaten by starving German soldiers, that sort of thing -- and even suggest that Lecter is a monster with a heart, and not necessarily so
                meone else's. From which you'll gather that it's not the greatest novel ever written, but then very few novels are, and if the ending and the cod cosmologizing that accompanies it are nearly as ridiculous as the hype and the advance Harris undoubtedly earnt, there are pleasures to be had on the way there. Just don't take any of it too seriously. I'm sure Harris didn't.

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                  28.05.2001 19:57
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                  I'm not a keen reader; infact I barely ever read. This is because my attention span is too short! So a book this long was not a good choice! It took me very long time to read! The plot is VERY good, and follows nicely on from "Red dragon" and "The silence of the lambs." The introduction starts off well, with Clarice Starling getting wrongly involoved in a case. The plot then slows down, but I suppose that all adds to the tension. Without giving anything away, it gathers speed nearer the end - until the unthinkable happens! I wont say what! I havent yet seen the film; and so cannot compare the two! But if it's anything as good as the comparison between "Silence Of The Lambs" book and film, it must be good! The downside was the fact that there was too many characters; and so I got quite lost sometimes! But nevertheless, a good book!

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                    19.05.2001 16:41
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                    Having read 'silence of the lambs' I was very much looking forward to reading 'Hannibal'. I wanted to know more about him as a free man. I find Hannibal, although a murderer and a cannibal, someone who was charming, likeable, and fascinating. Which is a srange way to feel about someone so 'evil'. Clarise Starling, heroine of 'silence of the lambs' is also a character who I would like to remain 'friends' with, she is also fascinating, but for different reasons. She is honest, determined, stubborn and a bit vulnerable. We also have Mason and his sister Margot, Mason being the real evil one here and we can't feel sympathy towards him at all, even though he is suffering. I am glad he is suffering. Margot, well, she is a bit of a non-entity but she's alright! There are a few more characters who we either like or don't and on the whole I am satisfied with how they all either move on or get caught out. Except for Hannibal and Clarise. The book ending is so far-fetched, so surreal and so fairy tale-like that it is incredibly disappointing. Thomas Harris has a great way of putting words together in sentences that are like eating some of the (food) delicacies hannibal enjoys. Harris makes you savour each phrase, sometimes it is necessary to reread a paragraph just because it is pleasurable to do so. You are pulled along, aching to find out what happens to each person and then........well, nothing. Worth a read though, just for the poetic way Harris writes, but be prepared to wonder what happened to make Harris appear to suddenly either not be able to find a proper ending, or whether he just went on a flight of fancy, forgetting what he had written beforehand.

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                      15.05.2001 01:06
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                      I always swore I would never watch the movie… just as I said I would never watch Silence of the Lambs - I’m easily scared, and thought that it would have me hiding under my pillow at night, waking up in a cold sweat and all the other things that movies like Psycho had me doing. That was until I started dating a horror fanatic. Since then, I’ve got to know in intricate detail the backs of the cushions in our living room - good things to hide behind during a scary scene. He convinced me to watch silence of the lambs, and I was astounded when, I actually enjoyed it, and wasn’t overly scared by the whole thing (much to his amazement), so I agreed to go and watch Hannibal. Now those who are Silence of the Lambs fans felt that Hannibal was not great, but as a bit of an amateur at all these scary things, I didn’t think it was so bad. The book was on offer, £3.50, so I thought, "what the heck" and bought it. The main part of the book is the same as the movie, but the endings are critically different - I will not explain in-case there are those reading who have not seen the movie or who want to read the book - all I am going to say is that the book takes it one direction - the movie takes it in a totally different way. I guess this means that you don’t know what’s going to happen at the end of each. Enough of my ramblings, what’s the book about? Hannibal Lecter, is a psychologist, an intelligent man, and a cannibal. At the end of Silence of the Lambs Lecter had escaped from prison. "Hannibal" now picks up the story ?? years later. Clarice Starling finds herself in the middle of something at the FBI, someone is out to discredit her, but why? Lecter always had a "soft spot" for Clarice, she interviewed him while he was in prison - she amused him greatly. Starling is caught up in the middle of a shoot out one day, leaving one of her
                      dearest friends dead and her to carry the can for a "botched" assignment. Someone has to take the blame, and the media points the finger at Agent Starling. Lecter finds out about this in his hide-away in Florence, sending Clarice a letter about it. This is where Mason Verger enters. Verger was an old "Client" of Lecter’s - he also became a victim when Lecter fed his face piece by piece to the dogs. Now attached to a respirator, dependant on his carers, Verger wants revenge. In the same way that Lecter fed his face to the dogs, Verger wants Lecter to be fed to his specially prepared pigs. Mason Verger comes from a well to do family and is willing to pay huge amounts for the capture of Hannibal. I will not say too much more about the story, except to say that Lecter finds his way back from Florence and into Clarice’s life. Mason Verger has all he needs to give Hannibal a slow and painful death, but will he succeed? I liked the book, I thought it showed good potential. One thing did disappoint me, and that was the ending. I just don’t think that if the characters were the way that they were depicted through the start of the book and as they had been in Silence of the Lambs that the book would have ended in the way it did - kind of an anti climax for me I’m afraid. I think the "Die hard fans" would agree with me. If like me, you get it cheap, or borrow it from a friend then it’s a good enough read - but I don't think I would go out of my way to read it again, due to the bad ending.

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                        20.04.2001 22:40
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                        If you don't have the faintest idea what this is about then where have you been. It has been covering the big screen over the last few months and seems to have covered almost as many big book displays in every major book shop, but is it any good? The short anwser is yes, far better that the film in fact. I watched the movie first and the book fills in some of the missing bits that I never really noticed in the film but they make the thing hang together far better. In brief this book picks up the story a few years down the line from 'the silence of the lambs' and features the same two main characters Dr. Hannabal Lecter and FBI Agent Clarice Starling. There are also numerous new characters most notably Mason Verger as one (and only living) of Hannibal's prior victims. The ending is however a little questionable and I prefered the one used in the film. Other than that the book is better and the other plot changes/simplifications for the film are far better in the book. Won't tell you what they are as that would spoil it. A very engaging read (less than a week for the whole book) which I would recommend to any adult.

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                          16.04.2001 18:33
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                          Hannibal is the third and latest book in a set of three that have been written so far. The trilogy has achieved tremendous success with huge hitfilms made of them as well. Having not seen the films I cannot comment on them but I think that they should be a lot better than the books. The storyline of Hannibal (whilst trying not to spoil it) is Clarice Starling's career is all but over after she is blamed for the mistakes in a hashed up operation. At the same time, Lecter's only surviving victim, Mason Verger is hatching an evil plan to catch Lecter and get revenge for what happened in the past. Meanwhile, Dr. Lecter has now moved to Florence and taken up a post as a curator (getting it after the strange disapperance and murder of the previous one. I wonder who could have done that?). He has settled down and is comfortable with all his fine art etc. requirements around him. Starling gets back onto the Lecter trail as well and soon recieves letters and from him. The plot starts to get better at this point as we see all of the various people/ groups of people who are chasing the Doctor and how they are faring. However, there is one person who has not even been mentioned and he is closer than anyone else. He is Pazzi, a policeman in Florence and he has his suspicions about the true identity of Dr. Fell (Lecter's disguise). When these are confirmed he senses an opportunity for making loads of cash and contacts Mason Verger. Then the chase is on with everyone chasing the silky trail of Lecter as he goes on the run. What will become of the Dr. if he is caught. For that matter, who will catch him in the end and how will the book end? All the answers are in the book and you will have to read it for them. I found the book boring as the plot was slow to develop and I felt that nothing really happened until over half the way through. When it came, the action scenes were not very well written, hardly gripp
                          ing and very predictable. The ending was fairly gruesome and the best bit but it was still very weak and left a lot unanswered. I don't know if Thomas Harris the author plans to write another Hannibal book but I would say to him leave it there as they are getting boring now. If you want to read the story yourself, then I would actually suggest seeing at the cinema as I think it would probably be a lot better.

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                            10.04.2001 06:54
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                            I went to see Hannibal (the movie) about four hours after l had finished reading the book and found myself bored and frustrated at the story line changes in it. While I accept that visual art is a different concept to the readers imagination when reading a book, it spoiled what would otherwise have been a (reasonably) good film. Having said that I am sure that if you don't read the book first you will enjoy the film, its just that the book is so much better! Like the other two books that I have read in this series there is everything there that makes me want to carry on reading. The plot is believable (yuk!), the characters are three dimensional and the story line moves along at a pace that keeps the reader wanting to just read the next chapter. For those readers who want more than that, the way that the main characters react to each other is entirely possible. None of the characters once their lives are laid out are ones that you would challenge as false. Like every good story teller Thomas Harris has the ability to make you believe in the story that he unfolds. Without saying what it is, the book ending is much more believable than the film one. Thumbs up for the book and thumbs down for the film.

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                              27.03.2001 22:17
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                              Introduction <><><><><><> ~ ~ I’m both an avid reader and movie buff, but as I haven’t yet got round to going to see the latest Dr. Lecter film, I’ll content myself with writing an opinion on the book instead. ~ ~ I had been looking forward with great anticipation to reading “Hannibal”, the third novel by author Thomas Harris about the life and times of perhaps the world’s best known (fictional) cannibal, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. The first two books, “Red Dragon” and “Silence of the Lambs”, were totally superb, and hard to fault in any way. In fact both were so enthralling and riveting they were devoured (excuse the pun) at a single sitting, and it was with this expectation of a “cracker” of a read that I bought Thomas’s latest offering “Hannibal”. ~ ~ I did suspect however that something was “not quite right” about this book when I read in the media that BOTH stars from the original hit movie, (Silence of the Lambs) Sir Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster, had turned down the opportunity of starring once again in the film version of this book. It is to Foster’s eternal credit that she stuck to her principles and refused to be drawn by the prospect of much “filthy lucre”, stating that the character she was to play, Clarice Starling, had been very badly compromised by Thomas in this book. What it says about Sir Anthony Hopkins I leave you to judge. In my opinion, he is one of the very finest modern day actors, but let’s just say he has gone down somewhat in my estimation as a result of ultimately agreeing to play the role of Lecter in the film. Like Foster, I too was extremely disappointed by this book, and felt that Harris, (like Hopkins) had been lured by the moneymen in Hollywood into compromising his art for the sake of his bank balance. The Plot <><><>
                              <> ~ ~ This book picks up where “Silence of the Lambs” left off, and takes us to Florence in Italy, where the escaped Dr. Lecter has found himself a comfortable and lucrative position in life as the curator of a museum and art gallery. Meanwhile Clarice Starling, his main adversary and FBI agent extrodinaire, finds her career in a downward spiral after becoming involved in a shoot-out that results in one death too many. She is assigned to what her superiors see as the hapless task of trying once again to track the elusive Doctor, in order to keep her sidelined from any real action. There is an early victim of Lecter’s introduced, a millionaire called Mason Verger, who is now permanently disabled (he has no face) and who has made it his mission in life to capture his tormentor and feed him to a herd of man eating pigs, while he contentedly watches from the sidelines. (I thought Hannibal was the sick one?) Verger has offered a huge financial reward for any information leading to the ultimate capture of the good Doctor. Enter a mercenary Italian detective, who happens to stumble on Lecter’s true identity, and instead of reporting this to his superiors, decides instead to take on Hannibal single handed, thus collecting not only the reward, but the praise and plaudits that will rescue his own somewhat flagging career. Clarice is also on the trail, and the book thus moves towards its ultimate showdown. For anyone who still hasn’t seen or heard of the ending, (what planet have you been living on?) I won’t go into great detail. ~ ~ Suffice to say that, for me at any rate, it was this ending that completely ruined the whole book for me. Up until this point, Harris had been crafting his plot and his characters with his usual customary skill, and while I didn’t find the story as gripping or obsessive as his previous two novels in the trilogy, it was none the less a fine read. <
                              br>But the ending was so obviously contrived to fit in with the Hollywood moguls’ plans for the film, and to also leave the way open for yet another Lecter sequel, that it actually left me feeling quite sorry for the author. If money means that much to him then so be it, but he risks destroying totally his reputation in the literary world as a consequence. Conclusion <><><><><> ~ ~ So did I enjoy the book, and would I recommend it as a good read? On balance I would have to say yes, although with the strong reservations I have expressed above. I will still go to see the movie, and I will still buy any new books published by this fine author, but if he continues to subvert his obvious talent by succumbing to the “smell of money”, perhaps not for much longer.

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                                23.03.2001 22:48
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                                It is now seven long years since Hannibal's fantastic escape. The FBI are still on the hunt for him but so is someone else. That someone else goes by the name of Mason Verger. Mason has a score to settle with Hannibal and is out for revenge. Mason's story is a sickening one. As a young man, he loved children a little bit too much. He loved inflicting pain and misery on who ever he could and even went as far as rapping his own sister. In the end he did get found out, and was referred to see a doctor to help him with all his problems. That doctor turned out to be Dr Lecter. He tried to shock Dr Lecter with little games but in the end Lecter won. He got Mason into a drug induced state and convinced him to cut of his face and feed it to a pair of dogs had been kept in a cage without food. Dr Lecter then broke Manson's neck with a noose and left him to his death. Mason didnt die though, but he wished he had of done. He is left without an actual face. He has no nose and only one eye and looks like something from a horror film. He cant move out of his bed and is actually kept alive by an iron lung. Mason is a very weathly man and intends to to his revenge on Lecter in the worst way he can possibly dream up....let him be eaten alive by a pack of wild pigs. Money can buy most people and so Mason manages get information from the FBI before it actually manages to reach the right channels. Mason manages to track Lecter down and now its down to his men to capture him. It is a race against time and there will only be one winner.....Hannibal Lecter, Mason Verger or the FBI. Without giving too much away, this is the basic plot to the book. I found that Thomas Harris writing was quite difficult in this book and I really did need to concentrate the whole way through. He seems to say things in such around about way that I quite often had to re-read a paragraph because I couldn't understand what he was driving at. I would b
                                e very suprised if I found out that he enjoyed writing this book. It seems like he sucummed to public pressure to write a sequal to Silence of Lambs. Some parts of the book were gripping and others were boardering on being boring. It was as if he had good days and bad days writing it. The end was without a doubt a very bad day and extremely disappointing. On the whole this book was ok but not even close to being in the same league as Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs. If a copy of it happens to pass your way then give it a go, but I certainly wouldn't worry about spending some of your hard earned money on buying it!

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