A young autistic boy sees his father shot dead; can his savant ability bring a criminal gang to book…?
A compelling read! For anyone who enjoys a thriller of greater than average depth, this is an excellent example.
The Girl In The Spider’s Web is the fourth in the late Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series featuring the unique pairing, Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. Salander is a brilliant computer operator, a super hacker, while Blomkvist is an investigative reporter seeking his next inspiration.
The first three books were ‘written for relaxation’ by Larsson and published after his untimely death in 2004 at just 50 years of age; this latest offering was written by David Lagercrantz. A few years ago I read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the first in the series, and found it to my liking. Despite the change of penmanship, I believe the new work to be not only a natural extension of the original concept but equally well written.
The storyline contains many elements and many individuals, ranging between Russian criminals in the East and the US National Security Agency in the West but all link, naturally enough, through the Swedish characters. One of the most important of these is August Balder, 8 years of age, ASD, and a savant. August sees his father murdered and his computer stolen. The father, Hans, sensing he is in danger, deletes his life work on super intelligence and self-teaching algorithms, but a link may yet remain.
Just minutes before his death, Balder rings Mikael Blomkvist.
In the meantime, Salander is targeted by a group of ruthless hackers, cyber gangsters known as The Spiders (hence the name of the book).
There is a need for caution in saying too much about the book lest it be a spoiler. Safe to say, there is a lot of intrigue, with Swedish police, Swedish intelligence, the NSA, and the involvement, association and motivation of the cast. The plot is busy but never loses direction or, more importantly, the reader’s interest. For someone of a technical bent, there are enough references to RSA encryption, quantum computing, Fermat’s little theorem – and more – to keep the active mind exercised… but never become a burden to the story.
Although the continuing of an author’s work by others is not unique (I can immediately think of five others, but there will be more) it is not always as successful as this. There has been an amount of controversy relating to The Girl In The Spider’s Web. Larsson’s family wanted it written and engaged David Lagercrantz; Larsson’s partner of 32 years, Eva Gabrielsson, did not. Sorry, Eva but I, for one, hope it will be a partnership that continues and goes from strength to strength. A healthy four stars!