Ten years have passed since Dr. Hannibal Lecter escaped from custody, ten years since FBI Agent Clarice Starling interviewed him in a maximum-security hospital for the criminally insane. The doctor is now at large in Europe, pursuing his own interests and savoring the scents and essences of an unguarded world. But, Starling has never forgotten her encounters with Dr. Lecter, and the metallic rasp of his seldom-used voice still haunts her dreams. Mason Verger remembers Dr. Lecter, as well, and is obsessed with revenge. Verger was Dr. Lecter's sixth victim, and though hideously disfigured, has survived to rule a vast financial empire. Verger soon realizes that in order to draw the doctor out into the open, he must use someone Lecter cannot resist as bait: Clarice Starling.