One of Larsson's key achievements as a writer was to create an innovative kind of heroine for the crime novel. His unconventional sleuth, the highly intelligent computer hacker Lisbeth Salander, is a confrontational young woman, whose Goth accoutrements sometimes alienate those around her (except the individuals she opts to have sexual relations with – strictly, that is, according to the rules she lays down). In the second book in the Millennium sequence, The Girl Who Played with Fire (as in its its predecessor), Lisbeth's closest ally is the older journalist Mikael Blomqvist, even though she has abruptly ended her emotional relationship with him. Lisbeth has left all she knows behinds her and has begun a relationship with a gauche young lover. But after a grim revenge run-in with a man who has abused her, she becomes a suspect in three murders, and is the subject of a nationwide search. Blomqvist, however, is convinced of her innocence (he has just been responsible for a blistering report on the sex trafficking industry in Sweden), and is determined to help her – whether she wants his help or not.
As with Larsson’s earlier book, this is highly compelling fare, with tautly orchestrated suspense; it's often grisly and uncompromising (not a problem for many readers), and the massive text may be longer than is good for it, but Larsson admirers won't begrudge the late author a word,and will be impatient for the third (and, regrettably, concluding) book in the sequence. --Barry Forshaw
The Girl Who Played with Fire is that rare thing - a sequel that is even better than the book that went before … it is to be read in great hungry chunks - Observer.
It is rare to find a thriller in which the female characters are allowed so much space to be. Lisbeth Salander really is a wonderful creation - Scotsman.
Astonishing novels … Larsson came up with an entirely new kind of heroine for the crime story … as with Larsson's first novel, this is wonderful stuff - Daily Express.
A year ago, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo won ecstatic praise from British critics and readers. Now its successor, The Girl who Played with Fire has outsold the likes of Patricia Cornwell and James Patterson … once more, another figure seizes the book by the scruff of its neck and binds the reader in fetters of fascination - Independent.
As with the first book, this complex novel is not just a thrilling read, but tackles head-on the kind of issues that Larsson himself railed against in society, such as endemic establishment corruption and the exploitation of women - Daily Mail.
Pascale Frey, Elle
Anders Wennberg, Gefle Dagblad
The huge pleasure of these books is Salander, a fascinating creation.
Rachel Johnson, Sunday Times.
Times Literary Supplement
Scotland on Sunday
From the Inside Flap
Lisbeth Salander, computer genius and woman of independent means, has learned to use every weapon in the book to achieve her ends. She does not forget and she does not forgive, and wherever she finds corruption or abuse - most especially of women - she is relentless. She decides to wage war on the elusive figures of the sex-trafficking industry, using her prodigious skills as a hacker to further an investigation launched by her one-time friend Mikael Blomkvist, the publisher of Millennium magazine. But hardly has she emerged from her hidden apartment than she is embroiled in a double murder, and sought by the police for a third. Not only does evidence point to her being mentally deranged, but her prints are on the murder weapon. The only way Salander can be reached is by computer. But she in turn can break into almost any network she chooses. For cunning, for resolve, for ruthlessness she cannot be matched. But now, hunted not only by Inspector Bublanski's team but also by every force in Sweden, she is beyond the reach of any protection. She is also the prey of terrifyingly violent men, who will stop at nothing to protect their criminal schemes. Salander must unearth and expose the truth before her pursuers find her. The Girl Who Played with Fire is the second volume of Stieg Larsson's magnificent Millennium Trilogy.
From the Back Cover
Millennium Magazine. Special Report: Mikael Blomkvist investigates. The Millennium publisher has launched the most explosive and far-reaching exposé of the multi-billion kronor sex-trafficking industry in Sweden, and its international links. Double killing in Stockholm apartment: Two found dead. Suspected murder weapon recovered close to the scene. Police are baffled by apparently professional killing in residential neighbourhood. Lisbeth Salander sought by every police force in Sweden: The chief suspect in three killings, former security analyst Salander eludes nationwide search. Inspector Bublanksi leads the Stockholm team. The sequel to the bestselling The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. “In spite of its dark unearthings Stieg Larsson has written a feat of a book, with central characters you will not forget” Michael Ondaatje. Crusading author and liberal journalist Stieg Larsson died after delivering to his Swedish publisher the novels that are the Millennium Trilogy. Tragically, he did not live to enjoy the phenomenon that his work has become.
About the Author
Stieg Larsson was the editor-in-chief of the anti-racist magazine Expo. He was a leading expert on right-wing extremist organisations. He died in 2004, soon after delivering the text of the novels that make up the Millennium Trilogy.