Rebel super-hacker Lisbeth Salander is back in the fifth book in the Millennium series, this time battling neo-Nazi prison gangs and honor killings as well as trying to uncover the secrets about her troubled childhood.
The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye is the long-awaited return of Salander, the small but combative computer wizard and hobby quantum physicist, that was introduced to readers in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, published in 2005.
The best-selling series, which made the “Nordic Noir” genre of gritty Scandinavian crime novels popular globally, was created by author and reporter Stieg Larsson who had completed the first three novels before he died in a heart attack in 2004.
Author David Lagercrantz was commissioned to write a fourth novel, published in 2015, and this time around he delves deeper into the mystery of her childhood where she often witnessed her mother being abused by her father.
“The big question is, of course, why does Lisbeth Salander have a big dragon tattoo on her back, and you can be sure that a girl like her wouldn’t [get] a dragon tattoo without a very good reason,” Lagercrantz said.
“I had to find something, you know, that was really heavy and mythical, and when I did, I sort of had a story. I’ve added more darkness to Lisbeth Salander.”
The book, which was released Thursday, also draws inspiration from issues Sweden has grappled with in recent years, such as a resurgent far-right movement and honor killings — both fiercely debated topics in the Nordic country.
“Sweden is now changing so quickly and that is something I have to deal with as well,” Lagercrantz said.
Sweden was shocked after members of a neo-Nazi cell conducted a string of bombings in the city of Gothenburg around the turn of the year, while the far-right Nordic Resistance Movement has stepped up its activity.
As a reporter, Larsson devoted much of his life to investigating Sweden’s far-right movement. In 1995, he co-founded the anti-Fascist magazine Expo and worked there until his death.
“That was the core of Stieg Larsson, to fight intolerance, racism and Fascism,” said Lagercrantz.
Honor killings have also been on the agenda. A recent report by Swedish public service radio showed 10 of the 105 murders in Sweden last year were honor killings. The government has launched an investigation and said it is reviewing relevant legislation.
The original three books have been translated into 50 languages and sold more than 80 million copies while the fourth sequel, the first penned by Lagercrantz, has sold 6 million.