Bill Crider (abc@wt.net)
Tue, 30 Mar 1999 16:32:48 -0600 (CST) Here's the whole story on Thomas Harris, from PW online. Sorry about
occupying so much bandwidth.

Bill Crider

Break out the fava beans and Chianti:. Serial killer Hannibal
"the Cannibal" Lecter returns in Hannibal, Thomas Harris' finally
delivered, long-awaited sequel to The Silence of the Lambs, his
blockbuster bestseller that has sold some 10 million copies
worldwide since its 1988 publication.

Today, Delacorte announced it will publish the new book, a
480-page, $27.95 hardcover, on June 8 in a one-day national
laydown. Based on just one day's response from accounts, Dell,
which holds U.S. and Canada hard/soft rights to the book,
projected that a 500,000-copy first printing is looking likely and
"will probably go up," said president and publisher Carole Baron.
The book is also a Main Selection of the Book of the Month
Club with an audio version to be published simultaneously by
Random Audio.

According to Delacorte, the new novel opens seven years after
Dr. Lecter's stunning escape from the authorities, the climax of
the earlier book, as one of his earlier victims uses FBI Agent
Clarice Starling, also featured in Silence, as bait to draw the
doctor out in the open to wreak revenge. Baron wouldn't divulge
much more of the plot, but did note that a scene of the book takes
place in Florence, which brings to mind the rumors that popped
up in 1994 when Harris attended the Milan-based trial of Pietro
Pacciani, a farmer accused of being a serial killer. Harris was seen
chatting extensively with the detective who launched the
investigation, fueling speculation that Pacciani might be the
subject of his next book. Baron would only say that "none of
what you've read about the plot before in the papers is true," and
that Harris "has written the kind of rich, complex book that
booksellers will love to sell."

Baron, who said she knew for the last six months or so that the
manuscript might be coming this year, received Hannibal from the
reclusive Harris on March 23. It has been quite a wait; over a
decade ago, she signed Harris to a reported $5,750,000 two-book
deal, of which this sequel is the first book (BOMC's deal was
also at this time). Harris's first two books, Black Sunday (1973)
and Red Dragon (1981) were published by Putnam in hardcover,
then reprinted by Bantam; Baron acquired the paperback rights
for these books for Dell at the time of her deal. St. Martin's is the
U.S. publisher of The Silence of the Lambs; after the news of the
sequel delivery, SMP announced a 300,000 re-release of a mass
market edition of the book, to feature a new cover, as well as a yet
undetermined new printing of a trade paperback edition of the
book, which had been issued last year at the book's tenth

According to Harris's literary agent, Mort Janklow, all those
involved in the Academy Award winning 1991 film adaptation
of The Silence of the Lambs--director Jonathan Demme, actors
Anthony Hopkins (Lecter) and Jodie Foster (Starling)--have just
been sent a copy of Hannibal. The rights background for this
book, even for Hollywood, is particularly complex. Dino De
Laurentiis has some claim on the Lecter character since he
produced Manhunter, the film adaptation of the Red Dragon,
in which the character of Lecter first appears. De Laurentiis
previously hammered out a one-picture agreement with Orion
for its release of its The Silence of the Lambs adaptation.
Additionally, due to a 1992 out-of-court settlement, De Laurentiis
must give Universal to first negotiation/last refusal opportunity
to bid on domestic rights to this sequel; if De Laurentiis chooses
not to exercise his rights to produce the sequel, Universal will
have right to take its place.--Judy Quinn

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