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
"[R]emarkable...intelligent, ingeniously plotted, utterly engrossing....The story starts off at a leisurely pace, but the reader soon surrenders to Larsson's skillful narrative....It's a book that lingers in the mind." Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post Book World
"Sweden may be the land of blondes, Ikea, and the Midnight Sun, but Larsson, who died in 2004, brilliantly exposes its dark heart: sexual violence against women, a Nazi past, and corporate corruption. Highly recommended." Library Journal
"A blockbuster story....The plot is interesting and credible but above all the heroine is splendidly original....An extraordinary book." Literary Review
"Larsson has two great stories (and two star-worthy characters) here, and...the novel...offers compelling chunks of investigative journalism, high-tech sleuthing, and psychosexual drama." Booklist
"As vivid as bloodstains on snow." Lee Child
"This is a striking novel, full of passion, an evocative sense of place and subtle insights into venal, corrupt minds....The journalist and the hacker are ingenious creations." The Observer
"What a cracking novel! I haven't read such a stunning thriller debut for years. The way Larsson interweaves his two stories had me in thrall from beginning to end. Brilliantly written and totally gripping." Minette Walters
"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a striking novel. Just when I was thinking there wasn't anything new on the horizon, along comes Stieg Larsson with this wonderfully unique story. I was completely absorbed." Michael Connelly
"[A] big, intricately plotted, darkly humorous work, rich with ironies, quirky but believable characters and a literary playfulness that only a master of the genre and its history could bring off." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"[A] compelling, well-woven tale that succeeds in transporting the reader to rural Sweden for a good crime story." Los Angeles Times
A sensation across Europe—millions of copies sold
A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue.
Its about the disappearance forty years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden . . . and about her octogenarian uncle, determined to know the truth about what he believes was her murder.
Its about Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently at the wrong end of a libel case, hired to get to the bottom of Harriets disappearance . . . and about Lisbeth Salander, a twenty-four-year-old pierced and tattooed genius hacker possessed of the hard-earned wisdom of someone twice her age—and a terrifying capacity for ruthlessness to go with it—who assists Blomkvist with the investigation. This unlikely team discovers a vein of nearly unfathomable iniquity running through the Vanger family, astonishing corruption in the highest echelons of Swedish industrialism—and an unexpected connection between themselves.
Its a contagiously exciting, stunningly intelligent novel about society at its most hidden, and about the intimate lives of a brilliantly realized cast of characters, all of them forced to face the darker aspects of their world and of their own lives.
A sensation across Europe — millions of copies sold!
A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue.
It's about the disappearance forty years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden...and about her octogenarian uncle, determined to know the truth about what he believes was her murder.
It's about Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently at the wrong end of a libel case, hired to get to the bottom of Harriet's disappearance...and about Lisbeth Salander, a twenty-four-year-old pierced and tattooed genius hacker possessed of the hard-earned wisdom of someone twice her age — and a terrifying capacity for ruthlessness to go with it — who assists Blomkvist with the investigation. This unlikely team discovers a vein of nearly unfathomable iniquity running through the Vanger family, astonishing corruption in the highest echelons of Swedish industrialism — and an unexpected connection between themselves.
It's a contagiously exciting, stunningly intelligent novel about society at its most hidden, and about the intimate lives of a brilliantly realized cast of characters, all of them forced to face the darker aspects of their world and of their own lives.
In this European publishing sensation, a crusading journalist joins forces with a 24-year-old pierced and tattooed genius hacker to investigate the whereabouts of a missing woman from one of the wealthiest families in Sweden.
About the Author
'Stieg Larsson, who lived in Sweden, was the editor in chief of the magazine Expo and a leading expert on antidemocratic, right-wing extremist and Nazi organizations. He died in 2004, shortly after delivering the manuscripts for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.'
Reading Group Guide
1. Who do you consider the novel's protagonist, Lisbeth or Mikael? Why?
2. What point was Larsson trying to make with the themes running through this novel? How do issues such as man's brutality to women, journalistic integrity, and more general notions of trust tie in with each other throughout the book?
3. What function do the sex-crime statistics on each section's title page serve?
4. Re-read the passage from Mikael's book on page 84. What is its significance, in terms of the plot?
5. On page 126, Henrik tells Mikael, "If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s never engage in a fight you're sure to lose. On the other hand, never let anyone who has insulted you get away with it. Bide your time and strike back when you're in a position of strength—even if you no longer need to strike back." Over the course of the novel, who puts this advice to the best use? How, and why?
6. How does the involvement of several Vanger brothers with Swedish fascist groups cloud Mikael's investigation into Harriet’s disappearance? What role does Harald play?
7. Why does Henrik become an investor in Millennium? Does his plan succeed?
8. Discuss the character of Lisbeth. Some think she is a "perfect victim" (page 324), others find her intimidating, and Mikael wonders if she has Asperger's, but the reader is allowed to see exactly how her mind works. How do you see her? How do you think she sees herself?
9. What do you think about the way Lisbeth turns the tables on Bjurman? Is it admirable, or a sign that she's unstable?
10. On page 202, Lisbeth says her new tattoo is "a reminder." Of what?
11. Several times in the novel, Mikae'’s journalistic ethics are challenged. Do you consider him to be ethical? In your opinion, is anyone in the novel truly honorable? Who, and why?
12. After reserving judgment for most of his investigation, on page 238 Mikael determines that Harriet was, in fact, murdered and that he's hunting for a killer. What prompts this decision? How does this affect the rest of his investigation?
13. Discuss the role of parents in the novel. Who is a good parent, and why? How might Harriet's story have changed if her mother had behaved differently? What about Lisbeth's? Is Mikael a good father?
14. Blackmail is used several times in the novel, for different ends. Who uses it most effectively, and why?
15. On page 400, Mikael tells Lisbeth that to him, friendship requires mutual respect and trust. By those standards, who in this novel is a good friend? Is Mikael? What about Anita?
16. Discuss Henrik's request that Mikael never publish the Vanger story. Is it a reasonable request? Does Mikael's acquiescence change your opinion of him? Do Lisbeth's demands mitigate his ethical breach?
17. What ultimately drives Lisbeth to take action against Wennerström on her own? Does she go too far?
18. Re-read Mikael's statement about the media's responsibility at the top of page 454. Can you think of a situation in the American media that is analogous to the Wennerström affair?
19. Discuss the ending. Was it satisfying to you? Why or why not?
The questions, discussion topics, and reading list that follow are intended to enhance your reading group's discussion of Stieg Larsson's extraordinary thriller, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.