According to Wikipedia, Harris wrote this prequel (of Red Dragon, another prequel) because a movie producer threatened to have it written by somebody else. The drop in quality is palpable. The story is about Hannibal's childhood and coming of age and flits exotically between Lithuania and France with an even more exotic Japanese character thrown in the mix along with a garnishing of Japanese literature and poetry. The resulting soup is very contrived. There are also some ridiculous baddies along with a papier mache French policeman who all drive large trucks through large plot holes.
Another disappointment and relatively speaking, a huge one at that.