Lisbeth Salander, the brilliant and fierce heroine of the Millennium Series, recently returned to international bestseller lists in The Girl in the Spider’s Web. Salander fans know that Stieg Larsson, the author of the original Millennium Trilogy – The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest – died shortly before the series was published. International acclaim and movies in all sorts of languages followed, and Lisbeth Salander took her place among contemporary literary heroines. The author this time is David Lagercrantz, a Swedish journalist and author. His selection as the new author of the Millennium Series would probably make a good novel, too, but I digress.
For those uninitiated to the Millennium Trilogy, The Girl in the Spider’s Web can stand alone, but I recommend reading them in order. The first three books provide some pretty powerful insight into Salander and the leading man, investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist. Disturbing events in Salander’s past have given her a vicious streak with a unique moral code. Blomkvist is sort of a cross between intelligentsia and detective that manifests in brooding or sex.
In the long awaited sequel to Hornet’s Nest, Millennium, the left wing magazine Blomkvist helped to start, is nearly ready to go under. Blomkvist is moping around with an uncertain future until he is contacted by a Swedish artificial intelligence expert who believes his life is in danger. The plot thickens when Blomkvist learns that computer hacking of the highest order is involved in the threat. Though Salander’s whereabouts are unknown, her hacking skills and single mindedness are legendary, and Blomkvist senses her presence somewhere in the puzzle.
The famous scientist is murdered, leaving behind one witness: his autistic son. The plot twists that follow are what make the series so popular. A lot of the grit from the original Trilogy is missing from this novel, and I’m not sure what to make of that. It’s one of those “same but different” conundrums. The violence in the first three books was over the top sometimes, but I got it. It made sense in context. The Girl in the Spider’s Web is somewhat sanitized, but it’s a first rate thriller. The characters are full and believable, and I hope I’ll get to meet them again.
The Girl in the Spider’s Web is available through the Metro Library Network.