The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is the third novel in the Lisbeth Salander trilogy by Stieg Larsson.
.Like most people who have read “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” and “The Girl Who Played with Fire,” the previous two novels, I was excited to read how Lisbeth would complete the series.
You see there will be no fourth book, as Larsson died suddenly from a heart attack after delivering this manuscript. (Larsson did plan on writing ten books in the Millennium series, and he was well into writing the fourth book, but due to some Swedish bureaucracy another writer cannot finish it.)
Without a doubt, you must have read the previous two books to fully understand everything that happens in this book. Lisbeth Salander, the heroine of the series, is a brilliant mathematician who by a complex series of events was declared mentally incompetent by the Swedish authorities in order to protect the identity of her father, a Soviet intelligence defector. She has to prove herself innocent for three murders that occurred in the previous book.
That, and recovering from a gun shot wound to her head given to her by her father, all the while being held in police custody, means it seems unlikely that she can pull it all off by herself. But once again, Mikhail Blomkvist, her journalist friend, does the legwork in finding all the evidence of her innocence.
I have to say I was disappointed with this final book. The excessive narrative that Larsson goes into regarding the structure of the Swedish ‘secret police’, Säpo, and the autonomous organization within it, called ‘The Section’, gets just a little too dry in places.
Sure, this is all important as it shows how complicated proving Lisbeth’s innocence will be, and the depths of corruption that can occur when a governmental organization is given free reign without due diligence. But the copious detail of Lisbeth and Blomkvist’s adventure to find the truth is what Larsson fans love about the books.
Even though they are physically apart for the entire book, the relationship between them is always intriguing.
Lisbeth’s continues to be the most interesting of characters. Blomkivist continues to drink too much coffee, and survive improbably attacks on his life. I really wonder where Larsson was going to take us in the 4th book. Even so, The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is the perfect end to a (sort of) trilogy.