THE GIRL IN THE EAGLE’S TALONS – A Lisbeth Salander Novel, by Karin Smirnoff
This superb new outing for Lisbeth Salander, the seventh in the series playing out the late Stieg Larsson’s vision for a 10-book sequence of his Millennium series, gets written for the first time by a Swedish woman. Karen Smirnoff kicks the whole series up a notch with her tight plotting, exploration of complex family and friendship dynamics, insights into the characters’ motivations and feelings, feminist spin, and overall thrilling read.
The action brings us to a small northern town in Sweden, Gasskas, in, where journalist Mikael Blomkvist has come to attend his mostly estranged daughter’s wedding to the town’s head commissioner, Henry Salo, as well as to further beyond with his only grandson. Blomkkist has quit his Stockholm magazine Millennium, as the print side closed to move instead to podcasts which Blomkvist disdains. Salo, a wheeler, dealer and overall not great guy, has been focused on luring companies to base wind turbine electric production facilities in the vast woods and mountains around town – with an eye to lining his own pocket in the process. Plus, he’s been cheating big time on his bride to be. Standing in his way on the energy deal: his Mom living in a remote cabin in the woods and refusing to leave her property, as well as a clan of reindeer herders whose living is threatened by the potential shutting down of grazing land.
At the same time, Lisbeth Salander arrives at Gassdas because her 13-year-old niece’s Mom (Lisbeth’s sister-in-law) has vanished along with access to $400 million in bitcoin. Overcoming her deep loner tendencies, Lisbeth sets out to vigilantly protect her niece and search for the girl’s missing mother. Her niece, Svala, who’s being watched and clearly in danger, emerges a fierce independent spirit as she partners with Lisbeth to figure out what’s going on and bring back her mother alive. Look to Svala to emerge as a young Lisbeth Salander in the making.
Lastly, there’s Marcus Branco, a sadistic, wheelchair bound CEO who’s intent on winning the energy deal in Gassdas, and who has secretly bought land including a large underground former Swedish military installment. Marcus orders the kidnapping of Blomkvist’s grandson to put pressure on Salo to award the deal to his company.
As Svala’s mom ends up having been kidnapped and Blomkvist’s grandson in the clutches of a serial killer, Lisbeth and Blomkvist once again have to team up to set things right. Throw in a corrupt biker gang, drug smugglers, a long-lost brother, and a gang of neo-Nazi’s, and the action keeps ratcheting up.
Thanks to Knoff, Pantheon, Vintage and Anchor, and NetGalley for an advanced reader’s copy.