Hannibal: The Patrol by Ben Kane
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
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.
4 thoughts on “Review: Hannibal: The Patrol”
Would you recommend this before or after the rest of the Hannibal series?
It’s hard to say really.
I downloaded it from Audible when I had an optic nerve infection (in February) that mean I could see very little and certainly not enough to read anything (my sight is better, long way from where it was, but hopefully getting there). I have already bought all the Hannibal series so far, but haven’t got on to reading them. I wanted to have the set as hardbacks so tracked down the first two when he announced number three.
Let’s say that yes, read/listen to it before the others and you’ll get an idea of Ben’s style. Just don’t go expecting it to be a ‘proper’ self-contained short story, more a ‘slice’ of Ben’s Hannibal. It doesn’t cost all that much so you’re not really losing out if you don’t like it. I’d venture it was released (at the same time as several other authors suddenly released short stories) as a taster for Ben’s work in general and the Hannibal series in particular. Which it is. I think my problem with it probably is the description ‘short story’, rather than ‘extract, which would have been a better idea.
Thank you for your comment, sorry it took a while getting back – I’ve been for a couple of days in Copenhagen to see the Manic Street Preachers play Vega (they were excellent), then straight back to work.
Sounds good–I’ve been interested in starting Hannibal. I often read series out of order, just to see if they can stand alone.
Thanks for audible, huh? It’s been a huge help for me in keeping up on books.
Hope your eyes start feeling better.
Thank you very much for that.
The eyes aren’t too bad just at the moment. The problem I have (and you can get your violin out now) is that since I was a young child, my right eye has only ever been (max) 50% of that of my left eye. The left eye has always been perfect. More than perfect if you believe the eye specialist over here. As I understand it, in ‘normal’ people, if they get this infection in one eye, they don’t usually treat it, because the other one can take over for the duration and they aren’t really sure if the treatment they can give works. In my case though, with the infection in my good eye, I was nearly blind. So I got hormone treatment to kill the infection and allow the body to heal. All estimates are around four or five months before it is back where it was. Though, of course, there’s no absolute guarantee it will all come back. I got it at the end of January and got treatment at the start of Feb, so I have around a month to go before I can start thinking this is as good as it gets. I’ve got enough vision to read and work, so that’s ok. Colours have come back to nearly where they were, but when I’ve eaten or when my pulse is high, the vision is worse. It’s like you’re trying to see through a permanent white mist. They also do an MR scan of your brain, because they aren’t sure where the infection comes from, outside or inside – but that’s another story.
I’ve kept the Audible account because, like you, it helps get through some books when it isn’t physically possible to read a book – like on my cycle to work, for instance. I’m enjoying Anthony Riches’ ‘Fortress of Spears’ at the moment. Also, it’s ‘hyggelig’ (cozy, comfortable, pleasant, nice, as the Danes over here would say) to be read to 🙂