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The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz

We have gathered all the fantastic reviews our Book Club Members have sent us this month.

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Alan Lawson

As in the Stieg Larsson trilogy, the dysfunctional punk hacker Lisbeth Salander assists investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist in his war against political and corporate corruption. She remains a dangerous loose cannon, likely to blow herself up at any time. Blomkvist is the same dissolute journalist. A new character is an extremely autistic, savant child, called August.

Like Larsson before him, Lagercrantz runs two stories, the dominant one involving Blomkvist and one Salander, before they eventually collide: “Shut up and listen”, she says. The plot is complex and involves hacking NASA, artificial intelligence and a professor who is a leading authority on it and whose life is threatened. So Blomkvist gets the scent of another expose and Salander uses her hacking skills to take the law into her own hands again.

The story is well paced and speeds up towards the end. It is more elegantly written that the Larsson books, which were published posthumously, without being tidied up by Larsson. There is less graphic violence than in the Larsson trilogy. Lagercrantz leaves the relationship between Blomkvist and Salander unresolved, leaving scope for a further novel or novels. Some will like the ending, some won’t. Read it yourself.

Jacqueline Wright

In this book David Lagerkrantz has tried to continue the late Stieg Larsson's "girl" trilogy but, in my opinion, not very successfully. I found his style of writing very disjointed, jumping frome one set of characters to another without really establishing a plot. I did not understand the "cyber" language or the complicated mathematical formulae. I regret to say that had I not felt obliged to read and give a review I would probably have given up half way through.

Julie Wall

Not so much a ‘who done it’ as a ‘who knows what’. It is several years since I read the original books, so it took me a while to pick up the thread of the story and the characters; had I not been reading it for the book club I may have given up. Persistence is well rewarded though, as the plot is richly woven, and the background of the protagonists, particularly Lisbeth Salander is expanded in a believable way. A real warning for those of us who assume our online life is secure, David Lagercrantz has picked up the baton and run with it triumphantly.

Jane Standley

This crime thriller by David Lagercrantz is a follow up to the famous trilogy by Stieg Larsson and was written with his family’s permission. Given Larsson’s huge popularity, I am ashamed that I’ve not read him and came to this as a novice.

So I was very grateful for the brief character biographies at the beginning as new characters are introduced thick and fast and I was keen to get on with the plot. But I came to find the style of the introductions, with back stories which are sometimes irrelevant, rather repetitive and clunky. It seemed that much of the characterisation was by report rather than by dialogue and actions. I did enjoy the plot, though. It kept me turning the pages and it was satisfying as one recognised the connections. The book also posed some interesting and topical questions, such as what happens to mere mortals once intelligent computers can produce yet more intelligent offspring? That said, some of the technical detail was over my head but may well be appreciated by others. If there was another in the series, would I read it? Maybe, but I will certainly try the original trilogy.

Sheila McCullough

The Girl in the Spider’s Web (David Lagercrantz) – review from Sheila McCullough This book is written by David Lagerkrantz as a sequel to Stieg Larsen’s “Girl with the dragon tattoo” trilogy. Lagerkrantz has made a good job of emulating Larsen’s style and the book seems similar in plotline to Larsen’s novels.

If you are someone with a passionate interest in the minutiae of computer hacking and the operation of national security systems and industrial espionage, you will certainly enjoy this book. Not being such a person I found it tedious in the extreme. I only read to the end because Viking asked me to review it.

Most of the book I found really uninteresting. It is not helped by the fact that all the characters are so unsympathetic. Frankly (apart from the young autistic boy) I could summon up no interest in what happened to any of them.

The book will do nothing for Sweden’s tourist trade as it portrays a country with abysmal weather and populated by psychopaths, the mentally unstable and the pathologically selfish. There is not a single pleasant character in the whole book. Sorry, but I really don’t recommend reading this book.

Cassandra MacEwan

What a joy to have Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist back. David Lagercrantz has succeeded admirably in his follow up to the series by the late Stieg Larsson.

Lagercrantz captures the intrigue and suspense of the original books in the way he presents Larsson's unique characters having to deal with situations and issues such autism and Artificial Intelligence, both relevant nowadays. The latter was particularly interesting in the way the author explored the subject and its significance.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable read and I was very sorry when I reached the end. Perhaps we can hope for another one, especially in view of the ending when Lisbeth comes to visit Mikael which seemed more like a beginning than an ending.

Helena Edwards

David Lagercrantz has made an excellent job of continuing the Millennium series begun by Stieg Larsson, featuring the crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist. From beginning to end, there is a sense of tension, with dark forces at work. Not only are the live of individuals in danger – including a vulnerable child who knows a valuable secret –but national security itself is at stake. No one is safe: no one is above suspicion. Storylines and complicated sub-plots interweave and the action unfolds at a breathless pace. While it was the ruthless character of Lisbeth Salander, surely one of the most compelling fictional heroines ever, who kept me returning to the book, I also enjoyed meeting a range of new characters - creepy but complex villains, and police officers with an all too believable flair for messing up. Highly recommended.

Richard Crawley

A review of ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’ by David Lagercrantz, continuing Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series.

Welcome to Stockholm’s merciless winter where forces even more cruel are at work. It is a world of high tech espionage, intrigue, murder and betrayal. Into the struggle to crack national encryption codes is thrown a young boy, gifted with extraordinary mathematical power – an idiot savant with the ability to draw in exact detail from memory what he has only fleetingly seen. He becomes a pawn in the game protected only by Lisbeth Salander the heroine of Stieg Larsson’s preceding trilogy.

Mikael Blomkvist, as in the preceding novels, is drawn into the centre of events but now his career in journalism is under threat as is the future of the Millennium magazine itself. He is entangled in a story that could save his reputation but has to contend with both the police and the dark world of computer hacking if the boy is to be saved.

The action builds gradually towards a thrilling and violent climax. The wounded Lisbeth struggles to protect the boy from ruthless assassins closing in for the kill. Their commander is the mysterious Thanos whose identity comes as a shocking revelation and leaves a loose end that promises a further sequel: bring it on!

Alison Johnson

Having read the 'Millennium' series by Stieg Larsson I was delighted to have been asked to review the much awaited sequel by David Lagercrantz. Initially I was gripped by the story but soon got swamped by all the tech-talk and discussions about 'black holes' and 'singularity theory' went right over my head. I therefore struggled to retain an interest in the book despite wanting to know what happened to the young savant August after witnessing his father’s murder and the relationship between the crusading journalist Blomkvist and the complex Salander. I tried several times to return to the book but got defeated each time so, unfortunately, this book was not for me.