Wednesday, September 9, 2015
REVIEW: THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB: A LISBETH SALANDER NOVEL
It begins with a hand beating rhythmically on a mattress. Lisbeth Salander is back. The outlandish heroine of the famed Millennium Series, part computer genius, part anti-misogynist avenging angel, the girl with the dragon tattoo is once again caught in a complex tale of computer hacking and murder, leading directly to the arch institution of criminal malfeasance, the US National Security Agency.
All our favourite characters are back as well: Michael (Kalle) Blomkvist, once again fighting to keep his crusading magazine, Millennium, from corporate takeover; Inspector Jan Bublanski, leading the investigation into the murder of Sweden’s top Artificial Intelligence researcher; Salander’s comrades from Hacker Republic and Holger Palmgren, Lisbeth’s former guardian and the only person who knows the full details of her upbringing. All the tropes of the Millennium novels are here as well – the incompetent police forces, petty minded bureaucrats who mistake Michael and Lisbeth for the real villains and the deep link between criminals and the highest offices of the Swedish and American governments.
I will be honest; I was ambivalent about reading this new book. The story of Steig Larsson’s untimely death – the battle over his estate and disinheritance of his common-law wife based on archaic Swedish law by his father and brother who have commissioned this book – itself has the intrigue of a Scandinavian thriller. What enamored 80 million readers (yes, really) to the original books was their uncompromising exposure of how pursuit of power and profit leads admired exploiters into criminality and corruption. Not to mention our heroes’ relentless efforts to tell the truth and right the wrongs, at the risk of their lives. After a slow start, this novel lives up to its predecessors’ fame. David Lagercrantz's The Girl in the Spider's Web is a taut drama unfolding over barely a week in bleakest November, with a back story that encompasses decades. Remember, blood is thicker than water.