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Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

     Third novel in the Millennium Trilogy written by Swedish author Stieg Larsson; this book continues the story of Lisbeth Salander, genius computer hacker and sexual and psychological abuse victim in her struggle against the government agencies who have conspired against her since childhood. Lisbeth is supported in her fight by Mikael Blomkvist, crusading journalist and editor of a left-wing political journal who fearlessly works against government corruption and for victims’ rights. Together they investigate a special “section” within Sapo, the Swedish secret service.

     How have they become involved in this mission? In the second book of the series, the reader discovers that Lisbeth is the daughter of former Soviet agent Alexander Zalachenko, who defected to Sweden during the 1970s. Zalachenko is a prize for the Swedish secret service and all sorts of rules are bent to preserve his cooperation, including sweeping his abuse of Lisbeth’s mother under the rug. And Lisbeth also has a German half-brother through Zalachenko, named Niedermann, a murderous strongman. In her quest to bring them to justice, Lisbeth is shot in the head and buried alive; she manages to escape and wound her father. Blomkvist comes to her rescue and Lisbeth, near death, is brought to the hospital to have a bullet removed from her brain.

    Lisbeth’s survival and her efforts to uncover information through computer hacking, Blomkvist’s efforts and those of a whole cast of characters from the police, Sapo, Lisbeth’s friends, and more are detailed in more than 600 pages of nail-biting plot; a worthy ride to justice. And more than that, the reader is able to see Lisbeth’s personality relax and grow into an individual who begins to trust others.

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