The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire (Vintage) then you probably don't need to read this review of Stieg Larsson's finale to the Millennium trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, to know how amazingly fun these books are.
Hornet's Nest begins right where Played With Fire concluded. In essance the two books follow the same story lines, where as the The Dragon Tattoo was more or less a closed story (except for some surviving characters, obviously).
The third volume is a bit of a different beast, however. Unlike the second book, which is action packed, Hornet's Nest is more of a chess game between a nearly defunct secret spy agency and savvy media types and honest officers of the law. The beautiful (in that wild and crazy way) Lizbeth Salander takes a bit of a back seat in this one, giving page time to those around her, who over the course of the three books, have become her friends, whether she realizes it or not.
As Blomkvist and the rest of the Knights of the Idiot Table (the name the very likable journalist gives to those fighting to keep Salander out of prison) use every tool at their disposal to track down and trap those who are perpetrating one of Sweden's grandest displays of injustice, Salander has her own personal battles to fight. After the conclusion of the last book Salander finds herself sharing a hospital floor with the man she hates more than any other, her father. The Russian spy and criminal, Zalachenko, brutalized her mother for so many years and is the source of Salader's life long struggles. With Zala hellbent on Salander exiting the hospital via the morgue, our femme fatale must find a way to defend herself before its too late.
More than anything THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST is about showdowns. The last hundred pages are as satisfying as any I've read in a long time and any of you waiting for an excuse to jump into this final installment need look no further than this review. I had my worries about how it would all end, given that the author is deceased and this was originally planned as a ten book series. However, I had nothing to fear. Most everything is tied up at the end. There are a few loose threads that make one wonder what direction Larsson may have ventured in future books, but unfortunetely, it is not to be. A shame. I could read a hundred more The Girl Who books and never get bored.
Good bye Blomkvist and the rest of the Knights of the Idiots Table.
Good bye Lizbeth, you more than all will be sadly missed.
(Once more Reg Keeland does a commendable job of translating the text from Swedish.)