Gothic hacker Lisbeth Salander returns for more adventures in the fifth and latest book in the Millennium series.
This is David Lagercrantz's second book following The Girl in the Spider's Web[/LINK]. He took over where the late Stieg Larsson left off in 2015 following a lengthy copyright battle with Larsson's fiance. In this book, Lisbeth Salander has been sentenced to two months' imprisonment in a maximum security unit despite her heroic actions in the previous book. In there, she makes friends with a young Bangladeshi woman targeted by Islamists while standing up to a bikie associate with a fascination for Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, using the guards' inability to control the latter as leverage to access the prison computer system to gather information on a secret experiment she was subjected to as a child. This she passes to Mikael Blomkvist, the head of Millennium magazine, who has rekindled an old romance with a former employee of a major stockbroking firm, whose director was also part of the same experiment. A sinister chain of events is set in place as a result, which causes the death of a major character from the previous four books. Because he was someone particularly close to Lisbeth, she takes it upon herself to bring his killer to justice, not to mention that the killer also played a big part in the experiment she was part of.
Lagercrantz appears to be moving back towards territory once occupied by The Girl who Played with Fire this time around, having taken it rather easy with The Girl in the Spider's Web. He also displays a little more political awareness with references to the twin threats of Islamism and fascism that are rearing their ugly heads across the Western world today. The chief antagonist of The Girl who Takes an Eye for an Eye can be said to be all the villains of The Girl who Kicked the Hornets' Nest rolled into one person. After taking liberties with the Marvel comics universe in the previous book, Lagercrantz proudly shows off his knowledge of jazz music this time, while also highlighting the still-ongoing discrimination against people of traveller heritage in Sweden.
Once again, the idea that those with the most to lose are the most ruthless takes centre stage, as it did in the second and third books. However, nobody escapes Salander's brand of justice, and she makes sure there is hell to pay.
Stronger than ever: Lisbeth Salander in the latest Millennium thriller, in which she tracks down those who subjected her to a secret experiment as a child
On the whole, this book is a sign of a series finding its feet again following the untimely demise of its original creator. It also provides a dose of healthy competition for the Harry Hole and Department Q thrillers written by fellow Scandinavians Jo Nesbo and Jussi Adler-Olsen respectively.