Here's the scoop on the fourth Lecter novel -- Thomas Harris' ''Behind the Mask'' examines the killer cannibal's childhood

By EW Staff
Updated January 17, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

If Darth Vader can get the how-he-became-evil prequel treatment in this summer’s Revenge of the Sith, why not Hannibal Lecter? Following 1999’s Hannibal, Thomas Harris’ fourth Lecter novel will illuminate the early life of his famous killer cannibal in Behind the Mask, a new thriller that follows the erudite eater from childhood to his early 20s. ”For the first time,” says Harris’ agent, Mort Janklow, ”you’ll find him to be a very sympathetic figure. And,” he adds, ”it’s gonna make an amazing movie.” Pass the popcorn.