By David Lagercrantz
Renowned journalist Mikael Blomkvist is struggling. Although his name is still well-known from the major scoops in he wrote in the past, he now seems to be moving toward the realm of obsolete as society and technology shift away from traditional journalism. Moreover, his beloved Millennium magazine faces its worst funding crisis yet. Frustrated and dejected, Blomkvist decides to take yet another story tip that hardly seems worth his time, until a slender, brilliant hacker comes into the story. The story explodes just as Blomkvist starts out. A computer genius working on advanced AI technology has been murdered, and his computer stolen. Equally at stake are the future of the AI program, which could easily be put to use for nefarious purposes in the wrong hands, and the future of a young boy with autism, August. August is the son of the computer genius and witnessed the murder, but he has never spoken a word in his life. As before, Salander’s hacking skills help Blomkvist in his road of discovery, revealing ties not only between the AI genius and the National Security Association in the United States, but also a Russo-Swedish criminal gang that seems to have personal connections to Salander herself.
“The Girl in the Spider’s Web” by David Lagercrantz is the fourth book in the Millenium series. Published years after “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” and taken up after the death of Stieg Larsson, Lagercrantz brings back the familiar cast of characters. Lagercrantz plays on the irony that Blomkvist is outdated in a world that is quickly becoming more and more technologically connected by putting him in the middle of a scoop packed full of some of the most cutting-edge technological advances in the world. Both he and Salander are connected to and mirrored by the boy with autism, August. Blomkvist and August are connected by the story of his murdered father, and by their general disinterest in technology (August has a love for puzzles, Blomkvist for old-fashioned journalism). Salander is connected to August by literally rescuing him from an attempt on his life, and she shares some character traits with August in that both of them show an aversion to social interaction and a knack for difficult mathematical formulas. Continuing the trend of earlier Millennium novels, this story also moves at lightning speed with shocking revelations and tantalizing plot twists.
I have to say it, I’m not in love with this book. I could see the bare bones of Larsson’s characters in the story written by Lagercrantz, but they often acted in ways I would never have expected from the original characters. Lagercrantz threw in plot twists and cliff hangers in a way that doesn’t jive with Larsson’s writing either. Am I a purist when it comes to series cannon? Yes. Was it entertaining to read nonetheless? Yes. Will I read the next one? Absolutely. It’s still a fun and enthralling story, and certainly worth reading.