Prologue The door to Dr. Hannibal Lecter's memory palace is in the darkness at the center of his mind and it has a latch that can be found by touch alone. This curious portal opens on immense and well-lit spaces, early baroque, and corridors and chambers rivaling in number those of the Topkapi Museum. Everywhere there are exhibits, well-spaced and lighted, each keyed to memories that lead to other memories in geometric progression. Spaces devoted to Hannibal Lecter's earliest years differ from the other archives in being incomplete. Some are static scenes, fragmentary, like painted Attic shards held together by blank plaster. Other rooms hold sound and motion, great snakes wrestling and heaving in the dark and lit in flashes. Pleas and screaming fill some places on the grounds where Hannibal himself cannot go. But the corridors do not echo screaming, and there is music if you like. The palace is a construction begun early in Hannibal's student life. In his years of confinement he improved and enlarged his palace, and its riches sustained him for long periods while warders denied him his books. Here in the hot darkness of his mind, let us feel together for the latch. Finding it, let us elect for music in the corridors and, looking neither left nor right, go to the Hall of the Beginning where the displays are most fragmentary. We will add to them what we have learned elsewhere, in war records and police records, from interviews and forensics and the mute postures of the dead. Robert Lecter's letters, recently unearthed, may help us establish the vital statistics of Hannibal, who altered dates freely to confound the authorities and his chroniclers. By our efforts we may watch as the beast within turns from the teat and, working upwind, enters the world. Chapter 6 "Do you know what today is?" Hannibal asked over his breakfast gruel at the lodge. "It's the day the sun reaches Uncle Elgar's window." "What time will it appear?" Mr. Jakov asked, as though he didn't know. "It will peep around the tower at ten-thirty," Hannibal said. "That was in 1941," Mr. Jakov said. "Do you mean to say the moment of arrival will be the same?" "Yes." "But the year is more than 365 days long." "But, Mr. Jakov, this is the year after leap year. So wasl941, the last time we watched." "Then does the calendar adjust perfectly, or do we live by gross corrections?" A thorn popped in the fire. "I think those are separate questions," Hannibal said. Mr. Jakov was pleased, but his response was just another question: "Will the year 2000 be a leap year?" "Noyes, yes, it will be a leap year." "But it is divisible by one hundred," Mr. Jakov said. "It's also divisible by four hundred," Hannibal said. "Exactly so," Mr. Jakov said. "It will be the first time the Gregorian rule is applied. Perhaps, on that day, surviving all gross corrections, you will remember our talk. In this strange place." He raised his cup. "Next year in Lecter Castle." Lothar heard it first as he drew water, the roar of an engine in low gear and cracking of branches. He left the bucket on the well and in his haste he came into the lodge without wiping his feet. A Soviet tank, a T-34 in winter camouflage of snow and straw, crashed up the horse trail and into the clearing. Painted on the turret in Russian were AVENGE OUR SOVIET GIRLS and WIPE OUT THE FASCIST VERMIN. Two soldiers in white rode on the back over the radiators. The turret swiveled to point the tank's cannon at the house. A hatch opened and a gunner in hooded winter white stood behind a machine gun. The tanHarris, Thomas is the author of 'Hannibal Rising', published 2006 under ISBN 9780385339414 and ISBN 0385339410.