The Girl in the Eagle's Talons: A Lisbeth Salander Novel (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Series)
“Smirnoff, who lives in Sweden, has done an excellent job, one that should reassure Larsson’s fans that the series is in good hands.”
Lisbeth Salander, the brilliant computer hacker who is both reclusive and aggressive, is back in The Girl in the Eagle’s Talons, the seventh in the Millennium series. The first three of this series of Swedish crime novels starting with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo were written by the late Steig Larsson. After his death, the next three were the work of David Lagercrantz and now, the first woman—Karin Smirnhoff—has taken over the franchise.
Now the part-owner of an internet security company, Salander still finds refuge in numbers, which to her are so much more trustworthy and manageable than people.
“Decoding the human factor is not like identifying a data breach,” writes Smirnoff in a description of Salander’s personality style. “It requires something different. The ability to read between the lines, perhaps. With very few exceptions, relationships with other people take too much energy. Most people who give want something in return.”
That’s why the choice of Salander to become guardian for Svala, her genius 13-year-old niece, is problematic to say the least. Add to that, Svala is dealing with a host of crises that would negatively impact even a stable adult let alone a young girl with a dead father and a missing mother whose drug-dealing stepfather is hunting for her to take advantage of her outstanding mathematical capabilities.
In other words, Svala has a host of complicated issues impacting her life. And it’s up to Salander, who can barely take care of herself, to keep Svala safe. Mikael Blomkvist, the journalist who has partnered with Salander to solve crimes in the past, is dealing with his own significant life changes. His daughter is about to marry a man whose grandiosity and desire to earn vast sums of money has led him into an alliance with shady characters. He’s also jobless as Millennium, the investigative newsmagazine where he’s worked for decades, has folded.
Carrying on a series after the death of the original author is difficult. But Smirnoff, whose previous novels have sold over seven hundred thousand copies, captures the essence of Larsson’s characters who are complex and flawed but real and likeable as well. The book, translated by Sarah Death, moves quickly, and though at times the substantial number of characters may be somewhat difficult to keep track of, there is a list at the beginning of the book to refer to if needed.
In all, Smirnoff, who lives in Sweden, has done an excellent job, one that should reassure Larsson’s fans that the series is in good hands.