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Hannibal Lecter books in order: the complete series

Looking for Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Lecter books in order? Look no further!

The infamous Hannibal Lecter is a forensic psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer who is one of the most surprising, terrifying and chilling characters ever imagined.

Created by Thomas Harris in the 1980s, Hannibal Lecter has been adapted to television and film and is known the world over, but there’s nothing better than getting lost in the original stories.

Disturbing, dangerous and curiously delectable to thriller fans. A one-of-a-kind series that’s a true crime classic!

Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Lecter books in order:

Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

1. Red Dragon (1981)

Will Graham was a brilliant profiler of criminals for the FBI – until he suffered terrible injuries in the process of capturing Dr Hannibal ‘the Cannibal’ Lecter.

Years later, a serial killer nicknamed ‘the Tooth Fairy’ is massacring entire families each full moon. With the FBI desperate for progress, Will reluctantly agrees to consult. But he soon realises that he alone can’t crack the case; he needs the help of the only mind even better than his own at understanding the mentalities of psychopaths.

The mind of Hannibal Lecter.

But Hannibal is playing his own twisted game from the asylum for the criminally insane. Will isn’t alone in getting advice from the cannibal. So is the Tooth Fairy – the man haunted by visions of the murderous Red Dragon…

The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

2. The Silence of the Lambs (1988)

FBI trainee Clarice Starling has an elusive serial killer to hunt. Only one man can help. Psychopathic cannibal Hannibal Lecter…

The serial killer nicknamed ‘Buffalo Bill’ has been capturing and starving women, then murdering and skinning them. FBI rookie Clarice Starling is assigned to solicit help from imprisoned psychopath Dr Hannibal ‘the Cannibal’ Lecter, whose insight into the depraved minds of serial killers is second to none.

But in exchange for inviting her into the darkest chambers of his mind, Hannibal begins to probe at hers, demanding knowledge of her childhood demons as the price of understanding Buffalo Bill’s.

Clarice knows how dangerous this man is, and the terrible things he can do with this information. But women are still disappearing, and time is running out…

Hannibal by Thomas Harris

3. Hannibal (1999)

Hannibal Lecter has been on the run for seven years. And seven years after he helped FBI Special Agent Clarice Starling bring down Buffalo Bill, her career is collapsing after a disastrous drug bust.

Meanwhile, seven years after violently escaping from custody, Hannibal Lecter is hunted by Mason Verger, a psychopathic former client obsessed with feeding him to wild boars.

With the one-time partners at a low ebb, Hannibal is the one to reach out to Clarice, who has been plagued by dreams of his rasping voice.

It has been seven years since they both came to realise they shared more than they expected. Seven years since their last meeting. Seven years to lay plans for the next one…

Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris

4. Hannibal Rising (2006)

Hannibal Lecter emerges from the nightmare of the Eastern Front of World War II, a boy in the snow, mute, with a chain around his neck. He will not speak of what happened to him and his family. 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. There, Hannibal lives with his uncle and his uncle’s beautiful and exotic wife, Lady Murasaki, who helps him to heal – and flourish.

But Hannibal’s demons are not so easily defeated. Throughout his young life, they visit him and torment him. When he is old enough, he visits them in turn – and in the fog of traumatic memory, he discovers that he has gifts far beyond what he imagined…

There you have it – Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Lecter books in order! How many have you read? Let us know in the comments below…

Books Like Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Lecter:


    I have read all four and think that my favourite is the forth.

    Spectacular series books! Though, Hannibal Lecter was a maniac, I can’t help but to admire him greatly. A monster of absolute, impeccable tastes. I love Sir Anthony Hopkins. I thoroughly enjoyed every book in this installment series. I think Jodie Foster was awesome. Too bad they couldn’t revive her for Hannibal but Juliane Moore was the obvious replacement. Hannibal was a bit graphic but still worthy of an epic movie. Thank you so much for the great books and the movies too!

    I have managed to obtain all four of the books for my collection. Have only read one of them so far. Thanks for writing them.

    The books chronologically take place in the order you mentioned, Laura. They were published in the order of the article. I hope that clears things up.

    Based on your description of the books, the series seems to begin with Hannibal Rising… THEN The Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs & Hannibal last… Is it not best to read them in chronological order???

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