Lisbeth Salander is one of the most original and intriguing characters to appear in modern literature for a very long time. When was the last time you came across a featherweight female boxer with more than a touch of Asperger's syndrome; with strong kung-fu when it comes to computer hacking skills and an unstoppable fighting spirit when it comes to physical blows; with a photographic memory and an uncanny ability to grasp mathematics; a master of social engineering and a ghost of disguises; a formidable chess player and an enemy few people could afford to make?
It is Pipi Longstockings with breast implants, real guns and a killer PowerBook!
Whereas the first installment of the Millenium Trilogy was more on publisher Mikael Blomkvist and his quest to solve a decades old locked-room/island mystery, this second book, The Girl Who Played With Fire, gives us a ample view on Lisbeth's history as she straggles to clear her name of a triple murder. She had both motive and opportunity and all physical evidence points to her. Was she desperate enough to actually have done it? What could possibly push her over the edge?
Women trafficking, rogue agents of the Soviet GRU and the Swedish Sapo trying to keep their crimes in the shadows, biker gangs and obscure members of Lisbeth's family all interweave in a very absorbing story that kept me turning pages into the morning hours.
And amongst the fog of all this war, Lisbeth comes up with an an allegedly elegant solution to Fermat's Last Theorem on her own (no, my Mathematician friends, unfortunately the solution is not described in detail).