An odd little animal, this. This is an excellent way to ease yourself into Ben Kane’s best-selling Hannibal series proper. Which is what I’m doing.
However, calling it a ‘short story’, does suggest it is more of a completeness than it actually is. It is like a sketch, a series of incidents and ideas that could possibly be further developed into a novel, if Ben had wished. Though, what it seemed like to me to be most like was, an outtake. A passage that didn’t make the cut – for whatever reason – to the final book. If Hannibal were a film (now, there’s an idea) released on DVD or BluRay, then this would be in the elongated not released in cinema’s director’s cut version on the second disc.
It’s also more about ‘Mutt’, than ‘Hannibal’ or even ‘Hanno’ (and brief though my time with him was, it was long enough to build up a liking for the character). The Carthagenians – and remember, they’re not Romans – are on the afore-mentioned patrol through Cisalpine Gaul and stumble across some of the afore-mentioned Gauls. The wrong type of Gauls, as it turns out. Their bacon is saved by the right kind of Gauls and they get taken to sample Gaulish hospitality (stop thinking of Asterix!). Then they themselves run into a Roman patrol. And there is ends. One minute here, next minute gone.
It’s a thoroughly entertaining, teaser for Ben’s Hannibal series and while I have the whole series (so far) sitting poised to be read on the shelf over there *points over there* I may have inadvertently done the right thing here. I listened to the Audiobook version. So now reading this I have the very wonderful Michael Praed’s voice in my head for when I get stuck into the proper thing. And that, based on this, is a very good thing.
I’ll recommend it as a good taster for the main Hannibal course, but no more.