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[312] The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest – Stieg Larsson

” The only reasonable explanation I can give is that over the years the Section developed into a cult in the true sense of the word. They became like Knutby, or the pastor Jim Jones, or something like that. They write their own laws, within which concepts like right and wrong have ceased to re relevant. And through these laws they imagine themselves isolated from normal society. ” [24:446]

The last sentence of the quote reminds me of Rasolnikov from Crime and Punishment. Above the law. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest picks up the one loose end from the previous installment, The Girl Who Played with Fire, the leaves readers on the edge of the seat. What’s becoming of the hacker with a photogenic memory?Although the quirky Lisbeth Salander’s history has been revealed, she is now fighting for her life in more than one ways. Lying in critical condition, a bullet wound in her head, she is to stand trial for three murders upon recovery. Journalist Mikhail Blomkvist once again puts his life at risk to expose the insidiousness and insinuations of the security police, which has subjected Salander to a lifetime of injustice.

Her constitutional rights are being violated by the very people who ought to be protecting her. [11:212]

While the previous book saturates in quick action and violence, the final novel of the Millennium trilogy is committed to a more subdued plot set in motion by espionage and counter espionage. Unbeknowst to Stieg Larsson that this would be the last book over (he planned for 10 in this series), Lisbeth Salander exists predominantly in the background despite she alone is the heart of the matter. From the age of twelve, she has been a victim of cruel conspiracy. Some high-level secret clique in the security police has decided to conspire against her in order to protect a pathological murderer who was a source of valuable information. The goal is to bury the girl so deep, with the help of psychiatrist who fabricated diagnostic report that would lock her up in the asylum, that she will never come back to haunt them.

How is it that civil servants in the Swedish government will go so far as to commit murder? [24:445]

Running parallel to Lisbeth’s story is a case of sexual harassment and hate mails against Erika Berger, who has taken the chief editor job at Sweden’s largest newspaper. With the stalker still at large, she is caught between loyalties as Millennium is about to run a story that exposes her new boss’s exploit of child labor in Vietnam. On top of Lisbeth Salander’s struggle to prove her mental competence and innocence, Stieg Larsson also imbues a world view about justice: to denounce those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable to suffer abuse, violence, and injustice.

565 pp. Hardback. [Read/Skim/Toss] [Buy/Borrow]