Yesterday's Publishers' Weekly contained this little nugget of information:
"Thomas Harris’ next book featuring Hannibal Lecter will be released Dec. 5, according to an announcement from Bantam Dell Publishing Group. Hannibal Rising will have a first printing of 1.5 million copies and will be published simultanesouly (sic) as a Random House Audiobook and in a large print edition."
The funny thing is, a few weeks ago, I was in a Border's bookstore waiting for a friend to find the book she was looking for. I came across a shelf of Harris' books and found myself thinking it had been a long time since his last release. I opened up each of his four books and checked the copyright date. Here's the list of his books and the year they were copyrighted:
1975 Black Sunday
1981 Red Dragon (six years later)
1988 The Silence of the Lambs (seven years later)
1999 Hannibal (eleven years later)
I remember thinking that The Silence of the Lambs had been such a huge success, Harris had been able to take a leisurely approach to his next novel. My follow-up thought was, "Well, I don't think Hannibal did quite as well. I wonder if he's back to the six/seven year schedule."
Hannibal was savaged by the critics and by many readers who didn't care for it (including me). The over-the-top tone gave me the unsettling feeling he was mocking the fans of Hannibal Lector. Maybe Harris felt trapped by the success of his character. Maybe, he felt a love/hate relationship with Hannibal. I don't know. I just remember feeling let down by a book I'd eagerly awaited.
If the book is published in December, Harris will be right back on schedule with seven years since his last book.
Harris is a terrific writer, and I am looking forward to the new book . . . and the inevitable movie. All four of Harris' books have been made into films.