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The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

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The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

Millennium Trilogy, Book 3
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Lisbeth Salander--the heart of Larsson's two previous novels--is under close supervision in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She's fighting for her life in more ways than one: when...
Lisbeth Salander--the heart of Larsson's two previous novels--is under close supervision in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She's fighting for her life in more ways than one: when...
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  • Lisbeth Salander--the heart of Larsson's two previous novels--is under close supervision in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She's fighting for her life in more ways than one: when she's well enough, she'll stand trial for three murders. With the help of her friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will have to prove her innocence, and to identify the corrupt politicians who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse. And, on her own, she will plot her revenge--against the man who tried to kill her and the government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life.

    Once upon a time, she was a victim. Now Lisbeth Salander is ready to fight back.


    From the Hardcover edition.

 
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    chapter 1

    Friday, April 8

    Dr. Jonasson was woken by a nurse five minutes before the helicopter was expected to land. It was just before 1:30 in the morning.

    "What?" he said, confused.

    "Rescue Service helicopter coming in. Two patients. An injured man and a younger woman. The woman has gunshot wounds."

    "All right," Jonasson said wearily.

    Although he had slept for only half an hour, he felt groggy. He was on the night shift in the ER at Sahlgrenska hospital in Göteborg. It had been a strenuous evening.

    By 12:30 the steady flow of emergency cases had eased off. He had made a round to check on the state of his patients and then gone back to the staff bedroom to try to rest for a while. He was on duty until 6:00, and seldom got the chance to sleep even if no emergency patients came in. But this time he had fallen asleep almost as soon as he turned out the light.

    Jonasson saw lightning out over the sea. He knew that the helicopter was coming in the nick of time. All of a sudden a heavy downpour lashed at the window. The storm had moved in over Göteborg.

    He heard the sound of the chopper and watched as it banked through the storm squalls down towards the helipad. For a second he held his breath when the pilot seemed to have difficulty controlling the aircraft. Then it vanished from his field of vision and he heard the engine slowing to land. He took a hasty swallow of his tea and set down the cup.

    Jonasson met the emergency team in the admissions area. The other doctor on duty took on the first patient who was wheeled in-an elderly man with his head bandaged, apparently with a serious wound to the face. Jonasson was left with the second patient, the woman who had been shot. He did a quick visual examination: it looked like she was a teenager, very dirty and bloody, and severely wounded. He lifted the blanket that the Rescue Service had wrapped around her body and saw that the wounds to her hip and shoulder were bandaged with duct tape, which he considered a pretty clever idea. The tape kept bacteria out and blood in. One bullet had entered her hip and gone straight through the muscle tissue. He gently raised her shoulder and located the entry wound in her back. There was no exit wound: the round was still inside her shoulder. He hoped it had not penetrated her lung, and since he did not see any blood in the woman's mouth he concluded that probably it had not.

    "Radiology," he told the nurse in attendance. That was all he needed to say.

    Then he cut away the bandage that the emergency team had wrapped around her skull. He froze when he saw another entry wound. The woman had been shot in the head, and there was no exit wound there either.

    Jonasson paused for a second, looking down at the girl. He felt dejected. He often described his job as being like that of a goalkeeper. Every day people came to his place of work in varying conditions but with one objective: to get help.

    Jonasson was the goalkeeper who stood between the patient and Fonus Funeral Service. His job was to decide what to do. If he made the wrong decision, the patient might die or perhaps wake up disabled for life. Most often he made the right decision, because the vast majority of injured people had an obvious and specific problem. A stab wound to the lung or a crushing injury after a car crash were both particular and recognizable problems that could be dealt with. The survival of the patient depended on the extent of the damage and on Jonasson's skill.

    There were two kinds of injury that he hated. One was a serious burn case, because no matter what measures he took the burns would almost inevitably result...

Reviews-
  • Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

    "A thoroughly gripping read . . . Lisbeth Salander, Stieg Larsson's fierce pixie of a heroine, is one of the most original characters in a thriller to come along in a while--a gamin, Audrey Hepburn look-alike but with tattoos and piercings, the take-no-prisoners attitude of Lara Croft and the cool, unsentimental intellect of Mr. Spock . . . Owes less to the Silence of the Lambs horror genre than to something by John le Carré."

  • Newsweek "The literary equivalent of a caffeine rush . . . Larsson was one of those rare writers who could keep you up until 3 a.m. and then make you want to rush home the next night to do it again . . . Larsson is something like John Grisham [but] Larsson held an extra ace: the creation of Salander."
  • Alan Cheuse, Chicago Tribune "It's over! And I feel the same sense of pleasure and loss that I did when I watched the finale of 'The Sopranos' and the last episodes of 'Battlestar Galactica' . . . Salander is, I promise, someone you will never forget . . . Anyone who enjoys grounding their imaginations in hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of exciting pages about the way we live now ought to take advantage of this trilogy."
  • Guardian "Larsson has produced a coup de foudre, a novel that is complex, satisfying, clever, moral . . . This is a grown-up novel for grown-up readers, who want something more than a quick fix and a car chase. And it's why the Millennium trilogy is rightly a publishing phenomenon all over the world."
  • People "A heart-stopping showdown showcases one of crime fiction's most unforgettable characters--and cements Larsson's rep as one of its most passionate and original voices."
  • Sunday Times (UK)
    "Confirms Larsson as one of the great talents of contemporary crime fiction."
  • Publishers Weekly "Exhilarating . . . Larsson's was an undeniably powerful voice in crime fiction that will be sorely missed."
  • Kirkus Reviews "Fast-paced enough to make those Jason Bourne films seem like Regency dramas."
  • The Economist "Larsson's vivid characters, the depth of the detail across the three books, the powerfully imaginative plot, and the sheer verve of the writing make the trilogy a masterpiece of its genre."
  • Booklist "There are few characters as formidable as Lisbeth Salander in contemporary fiction of any kind . . . She dominates the stage like Lear . . . She will be sorely missed."
  • Times (UK) "Larsson's work is original, inventive, shocking, disturbing, and challenging . . . His novels have brought a much needed freshness into the world of crime fiction."
  • Evening Standard "Fans will not be disappointed: this is another roller-coaster ride that keeps you reading far too late into the night."
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The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Millennium Trilogy, Book 3
Stieg Larsson
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Millennium Trilogy, Book 3
Stieg Larsson
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