Thomas Harris (Series creator)
United States
Publication date
Media type
Print (Hardback & Paperback)
(First edition)
Preceded by
Followed by
Hannibal Rising is a novel written by Thomas Harris, published in 2006. It is a prequel to his three previous books that finally delivers the origin story of his legendary character, the cannibalistic serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter. It was adapted (by Harris himself) into a film in 2007.


Hannibal is eight years old at the beginning of the novel (1941), living in Lecter Castle in Lithuania, when Operation Barbarossa, Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union, turns the Baltic region into a part of the bloodiest front line of World War II.

His family is killed, and Hannibal emerges from the nightmare of the Eastern Front, a boy alone in the snow, mute, with a chain around his neck. His 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.


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