This is the story of the monster Hannibal Lecter's formative years. These experiences as a child and young adult led to his remarkable contribution to the fields of medicine, music, painting and forensics. We begin in World War II at the medieval castle in Lithuania built by Dr. Lecter's forebear, Hannibal the Grim. The child Hannibal survives the horrors of the Eastern Front and escapes the grim Soviet aftermath to find refuge in France with the widow of his uncle, mysterious and beautiful Japanese descended from Lady Murasaki Shikibu, author of the Tale of Genji. Her kind and wise attentions help him understand his unbearable recollections of the war. Remembering, he finds the means to visit the outlaw predators that changed him forever as they battened on helpless during the collapse of the Eastern Front. Hannibal helps these war criminals toward self-knowledge even as we see his own nature become clear to him.