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.
Totally not what I expected from this prequel/sequel. The writing did not flow for me and I struggled to keep the characters all separate and identify who was who and what was what. A bit of a weak reasoning behind what "caused" Hannibal to be Hannibal the Cannibal. In fact, I felt there was a big contradiction in the explanation as Hannibal was so disgusted by the Cannibalism that went on during the war (ok it was his sister they ate) that I did not truly believe that he would resort to it himself.
I am left wanting a further book to bridge the significant gap between this one and the rest of the Hannibal Lector books.
I originally gave it 3 stars out of 5 but when I actually sat down to write my thoughts and feelings, I downgraded to 2 stars as I could not justify any more than that.