Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Played With Fire

"...enthralling until the end."


Lisbeth Salander has adopted a new persona. With new surgical implants in her breasts and a multi million dollar bank account she is keen to forget her past and enjoy the benefits of her newly affluent lifestyle. But her past is not so easily disposed of. Her official guardian, the psychotic Nils Bjurman is seeking revenge for her treatment of him, in particular the crude tattoo he now has on his body. In addition, the original owners of the money that she has appropriated want it back.

Everything comes to a head when she becomes the sole suspect in a triple murder inquiry. Forced to go into hiding, only the investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist believes her innocence. But Blomkvist unearths some unsettling facts about Lisbeth that forces him to reassess his belief in her innocence. Has she been dragged unwillingly into these murders or has her search for vengeance culminated in violence and death?

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In this sequel to the award-winning Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Larsson picks up the story of Lisbeth Salander and her violent past. The character of Salander, although fleshed out in the first novel, is given more depth here. We find out the reason behind her mistrust of people and her obsessive behaviour. What's more, she becomes a more ambivalent figure than in the first book. Whereas her initial behaviour towards her guardian can be seen as meting out rough justice in response to her abuse, in this novel some of her actions are less easy to condone. Mikael Blomkvist's character, however, remains consistent. Although his private life continues to be complicated he maintains a touching belief in Lisbeth's innocence even after everyone else has given up on her. The pace of the novel is at times patchy and is extremely slow at the beginning. However, after the killings the pace picks up and is enthralling until the end. The conclusion of the novel stretches the credulity of the reader further than anything that I have read recently. However this is still an enjoyable read and highly recommended.

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