Synopses & Reviews
Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy is now available in a complete hardcover set.
All across America, readers are talking about Stieg Larsson’s best-selling novels, set in Sweden and featuring Lisbeth Salander—“one of the most original and memorable heroines to surface in a recent thriller” (The New York Times). The trilogy is an international sensation that will grab you and keep you “reading with eyes wide open” (San Francisco Chronicle). “[It] is intricately plotted, lavishly detailed but written with a breakneck pace and verve” (The Independent, U.K.), but “be warned: the trilogy is seriously addictive.” (The Guardian, U.K.).
“Believe the hype . . . It’s gripping stuff.”
“Stieg Larsson clearly loved his brave misfit Lisbeth. And so will you.”
“Larsson has bottled lightning.”
—Los Angeles Times
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families disappeared without a trace more than forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to try to discover what happened to her. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist recently sidelined by a libel conviction, to investigate. Blomkvist is aided by the pierced and tattooed computer prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption on their way to discovering the truth of Harriet Vanger’s fate.
The Girl Who Played with Fire
Mikael Blomkvist, now the crusading publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation. On the eve of its publication, the two reporters responsible for the article are murdered, and the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to his friend Lisbeth Salander. Blomkvist, convinced of Salander’s innocence, plunges into an investigation of the murders. Meanwhile, Salander herself is drawn into a murderous game of cat and mouse, which forces her to face her dark past.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
Lisbeth Salander lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She’s fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she’ll be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders. With the help of Mikael Blomkvist, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. On her own, she will plot revenge—against the man who tried to kill her, and against the corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life.
“Unique and fascinating . . . Like a blast of cold, fresh air.”—Chicago Tribune
“Wildly suspenseful . . . Intelligent, ingeniously plotted, utterly engrossing.”
—The Washington Post
“A gripping, stay-up-all-night read.” —Entertainment Weekly
"Warning — addictive thriller. All who taste it get hooked!" Elle
"Salander is...a complete original, larger than life yet firmly grounded in realistic detail, utterly independent yet at her core a wounded and frightened child." Booklist (starred review)
"[T]he plot has the requisite chases, cliffhangers and bloodshed. Not to mention Fermat's theorem. Fans of postmodern mystery will revel in Larsson's latest." Kirkus Reviews
"This is complex and compelling storytelling at its best, propelled by one of the most fascinating characters in recent crime fiction." Library Journal
"Mr. Larsson's two central characters...transcend their genre and insinuate themselves in the reader's mind through their oddball individuality, their professional competence and, surprisingly, their emotional vulnerability." New York Times
The electrifying follow-up to the phenomenal best seller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
("An intelligent, ingeniously plotted, utterly engrossing thriller", The Washington Post
), and this time it is Lisbeth Salander, the troubled, wise-beyond-her-years genius hacker, who is the focus and fierce heart of the story.
Mikael Blomkvist — crusading journalist and publisher of the magazine Millennium — has decided to publish a story exposing an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden, implicating well-known and highly placed members of Swedish society, business, and government.
On the eve of publication, the two reporters responsible for the story are brutally murdered. But perhaps more shocking for Blomkvist: the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to Lisbeth Salander.
Now, as Blomkvist — alone in his belief in her innocence — plunges into his own investigation of the slayings, Salander is drawn into a murderous hunt in which she is the prey, and which compels her to revisit her dark past in an effort to settle with it once and for all.
About the Author
Stieg Larsson was the editor-in-chief of the anti-racist magazine Expo. He was a leading expert on right-wing extremist organisations. He died in 2004, soon after delivering the text of the novels that make up the Millennium Trilogy.
Reading Group Guide
1. Have you read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
? How did your knowledge-or lack of knowledge-about that novel affect your reading of this one?
2. Discuss the prologue. What did you think was going on? At what point did you fully understand it?
3. On page 22, Larsson writes, “Within mathematics, assertions must always be proven mathematically and expressed in a valid and scientifically correct formula.” What does this have to do with the plot of the novel? Why is Salander so intrigued by mathematics?
4. Outwardly, Salander is supremely self-assured. Why does she have breast augmentation surgery?
5. Ultimately, does Salander's agreement with Nils Erik Bjurman pay off? In what ways?
6. Revenge is a major theme of the novel. Who seeks it, and what are the results?
7. Discuss gender politics as they affect the plot: the treatment of Salander, Erika Berger, Miriam Wu, and Sonja Modig and the trafficking of Eastern European women. What do you think Larsson was trying to say about the role of women in society?
8. On page 105, Berger thinks about Blomkvist: “He was a man with such shifting traits that he sometimes appeared to have multiple personalities.” Given that the reader is allowed inside Blomkvist's head, does this seem like an accurate description to you? How is Berger right in her assessment, and how is she wrong?
9. Twice in the novel, Salander and Blomkvist refer to his assertion that “friendship is built on two things-respect and trust.” Who is a true friend to Salander? Is she a true friend to anyone? What about Blomkvist? Is he a good friend to Salander, to Berger, and to others?
10. Discuss the arrangement agreed to by Berger, Blomkvist, and Gregor Beckman. How does this benefit each of them? Does it hurt them?
11. When Dag Svensson and Mia Johansson were murdered, what was your first response? Who did you think was the killer? Who did you think was Bjurman's killer?
12. Why does Blomkvist give Salander the benefit of the doubt, when so many others don't?
13. When newspaper articles begin to appear featuring interviews with long-ago acquaintances of Salander, did it change your perception of her character? Discuss the nature of truth in these instances: Is it possible both sides were remembering accurately?
14. Discuss Dr. Peter Teleborian. What role does he play, and why?
15. Why does Berger put off telling Blomkvist about her new job? What will the ramifications of the new job be?
16. On page 323, Salander thinks, “There are no innocents. There are, however, different degrees of responsibility.” What is the significance of this statement? How does Salander use this notion to guide her actions?
17. On page 463, Blomkvist calls Salander “the woman who hated men who hate women.” Is this an accurate assessment? How did she end up this way? How does it affect her behavior?
18. In what ways is Salander like her father and half brother? In what ways is she different?
19. Toward the end of the novel, does Blomkvist do the right thing by having Berger deliver only part of the story to Jan Bublanski and Modig? What do you think he should have done
20. Holger Palmgren tells Dragan Armansky on page 490, “What happens tonight will happen, no matter what you or I think. It has been written in the stars since [Salander] was born.” Why does he feel this way? Is he right? How does his inaction affect the outcome of the story?
21. Discuss the ending. Were you satisfied? What more, if anything, would you like to have had happen?
22. If Stieg Larsson were still alive, what one question would you most like to ask him?
The questions, discussion topics, and reading list that follow are intended to enhance your reading group's discussion of The Girl Who Played with Fire, Stieg Larsson's propulsive follow-up to his best-selling debut, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.