It had been a long time since I had read fiction at any length having being busy with work and myriad such excuses. So when I had made up my mind that enough is enough, I went around, asked and looked for a good read. Given the history of my reading habits, I knew nothing short of great would get me interested. And then I found Stieg Larsson of The Millenium Trilogy fame and his lead protagonist Lisbeth Salander.
At the very outset I will admit that I have been bowled over completely by the contemporary and adult storyline, that involves themes like hacking, espionage, secret service, sex, activist journalism, and a potpourri of themes without losing the actual thread of the story.
Lisbeth Salander is one awe-inspiring woman, inherently moral and very much the sociopath in the everyday sense of the word. But she's much like John Nash, in that they share the common belief that if I can think, I can do pretty much everything. Remember that John Nash defeated schizophrenia by thinking and analyzing. Lisbeth Salander destroys the secret behind the all powerful sapo, the most clandestine of operations in the Swedish secret service. While some reviewers frown upon the use of violence by her as illegal, I like the fact that an individual is able to defend her own space when the system has not only ditched her, but also has systematically exploited her for its own needs and ends. Her individualism stands out almost in an Ayn Rand way - remorseless and unrelenting. And it is probably the same when she bonds with people she likes and respects - complete and without inhibition.
The other main character is that of Mikael Blomkvist, an investigative journalist who lives to make that next expose that will bring down the most corrupt, whether it be humongous corporations or secret within sapo. He also lives to make love to strong women. And he does both with nuance and flair, treating them like the art that they really are.
The book left me flipping pages as fast as I my eyes could travel and my brain could process. Besides the storyline of murder, mystery and intrigue, the book trio also paints such beautiful colors and bleak shades of gray of the Swedish people, culture and countryside, that by the end you feel that you know it all. And did I add that all topics are dealt in such detail so as to leave the layman spellbound and the connoisseur impressed.
My recommendation: If you haven't read the trilogy, your should. Period.
I am also eagerly waiting the Hollywood version of the trilogy - hopefully they pick a good team and do justice.