Here’s my take on the 2007 Swedish novel “The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest” by Stieg Larrson. It’s the last novel in a trilogy about a hacker, Lisbeth Salander. Essentially, the novel’s ideas have been done to death in the past, but this novel reinterprets those old ideas in a different way to mainly appeal commercially to a diverse audience. This is not my summary of the novel, because you can get a summary on the internet, but here’s what ideas stood out to me in this 600 plus page novel.
To start, here’s something interesting about Lisbeth Salander. She has a secret address. She uses the hide out for police-if they bother her.
In this novel, Mikhael Blomkvist points out the police destroyed Liz’s reputation. The police called Liz a lesbian, satanist, and gang member. The police defamed, libelled, and slandered Liz.
We learn, too, Mikhael doesn’t like the police. He won’t even help in a police investigation. The fact that three cops are dead doesn’t seem to matter to him. The police really rubbed Mikhael the wrong way.
The story is simple enough in this book. Basically, government officials conspired against Liz, because they wanted to protect a cold war Russian defector, Alexander Zalachenko a.k.a Zala, Liz’s father.
This book teaches us something about Liz. She has been subjected to a life of injustice. All her life she has nothing but grief from the justice.
As well, we learn Liz’s country. She comes from Stockholm, Sweden.
The novel shows us Liz is not a normal girl. For example, she has top secret documents on her father, a Sapo agent and Russian gangsta. Normal girls don’t just have state secrets laying around the house.
Throughout the book, Mikhael claims Liz is innocent. He maintains Liz’s rights have been severely violated by the police. He may be right about the police.
There are some common things between the US and Sweden in this novel. For one, both countries have an APB/All Points Bulletin. This is one common thing between the two different police forces.
The book goes into great detail about a Sapo/security police scandal. It gets into how high government officials in Sapo conspired with a psychiatrist to declare Liz incompetent and lock her up in an asylum. Apparently, Liz could bring down some important people in Sapo.
This novel teaches us about Liz’s weapons of choice. She uses a taser. Plus, she uses a can of mace. She is a small woman who has to use weapons to protect herself.
The book gets into Swedish biker Clubs across Sweden. Apparently, bikers do a lot of killing and need property to bury the bodies. These bikers bury bodies at their warehouse.
In this novel, Liz’s father is undercover. Apparently, his cover is an old man on disability pension. In reality, Zala is a Russian spy defector from the days of the cold war who now works in a secret invisible unit within Sapo.
Being a Russian defector in Sweden, Zala has a lawyer: His name is Martin, a tax lawyer. Apparently, Martin did some work for an eastern mafia. Now, Martin watches over Zala.
This novel dedicates 1/3 of pages to The Section. That is, a secret division within Sapo/Security Police. This org spies on the spies and is located outside of Sapo headquarters. Nobody except the high government officials who occupy it know of it’s existence.
The novel tells us that The Section is corrupt. We learn corrupt top government officials can start a constitutional crisis in Sweden. The book gets into this whole mess.
The novel points out constitutional crisis differences between Sweden and the USA. For example, in the USA, cross examination can be done in a court of law of high government officials, or high officials can be summoned to appear before a congressional committee/hearing where a report is made to the Attorney General who decides if there are charges. But in Sweden, there is only a newly established Constitutional Protection Unit to deal with such a constitutional crisis; there is no court cross examination or Congressional committee, so high government officials get away with murder, essentially. Forget about civil rights in Sweden the novel points out.
If such a constitutional crisis occurs In Sweden, a constitutional committee is convened and it can be given authority to cross examined top government officials. Of course, such an investigation can only be green lighted by the Prime Minister.
A big issue of the novel is top government officials of The Section falsify a birth certificate and other government documents of Zala, the Russian defector.
The novel gets into Zala, the former Russian spy who was granted immunity in Sweden. It reveals Zala showed up in Sweden on Election Day in 1976. Zala defected because he was running from political enemies.
The book, too, looks at Peter Teleborian, a psychiatrist. Peter was the profiler of Lisbeth when she was committed to an asylum as a child. Teleborian and The Section work together to silence Liz.
The book looks at The Section’s director, Evert Gullberg. He is the director of the security police. He spies on the spies. Later appointed to “the section for special analysis.” The book reveals Gullberg as the last line of defence for Sweden.
The novel reveals The Section can never be referred to in writing. It could never be infiltrated and it’s task was to watch over national security. The Section could carry out wire tapping without warrants or not justify itself to a higher government level. The Section resembles the CIA or NSA or some black op not formally on congressional budgets.
The novel gets into James Jesus Angleton of the CIA. Angleton was running counterintelligence in the CIA on subversive organizations like the Black Panthers, communists, skin heads, and The American Indian Movement. The novel draws comparisons between Gullberg and Angleton.
The Section was sanctioned by the highest authority in Sweden. The Prime Minister, of a social Democrat government, signed and sanctioned The Section.
The Section had a variety of duties. One was to monitor the Prime Minister. They kept tabs on the PM.
This book looks at Lisbeth’s guardian, Nils Bjurman, a lawyer and social worker. Oddly, The Section keeps Nils on the payroll and in line with treason charges, if he speaks about Zala.
The Section is tasked with the job of controlling Zala. The Section manipulates Zala, and they plan his future. The Section watches the Russian spy.
The novel gets into red jumpers. These are ex-KGB types who defect to other countries. Today, we call them undocumented immigrants or something of that sort.
Needhan, a core member of The Section, advises Liz be recruited; however, Gullberg isn’t in agreement with Needham. Here, The Section tries to co-opt Liz; consequently, The Section fails due to Gullberg, who is tasked with protecting Zala.
The Section bugs Millennium magazine offices and employees. The Section keeps tabs on it’s subjects. The Section likes to manipulate and control Swedish citizens.
As a child, we learn Lisbeth was locked away in a psychiatric hospital. Liz was kept in the psych ward to stop her from blowing the gaff on Zala. The Section wanted to keep Liz under wraps.
The novel says Lisbeth has a variety of natural talents. For instance, she had a photographic memory. Plus, she is a hacker. And she is small, but she can handle herself.
Oddly, The Section wants all copies of Zala’s file. But you can’t really get rid of digital copies these days can you? The novel is out of date in this regard.
Near the middle of the novel, Evert Gullberg shoots Zala. Next, he tries to shoot Liz. But Evert survives an attempted suicide, which in the movie he dies.
The background of Evert Gullberg is heavily explored in the book. Apparently, he was a military/lawyer type. The movie does not get into Evert’s background at all like the book.
The book says a lot about cold war Russia. That is, Russian secrets never really die or go away. All the old guard and their secrets remain among us in today’s world.
The novel teaches us The Section is Sweden’s last line of defense. It’s job is to watch over the security of Sweden and everything else is unimportant. The Section are the ones that don’t exist. Evert Gullberg says: “We’re the ones nobody will thank. We make the decisions nobody else wants to make least of all the politicians.”
The Section resembles a secret service. It’s kind of like the Queen’s secret service, MI-6, the CIA. It could even be the US secret service.
The book points out many times Zala’s origins. He was a defected Soviet agent. On top of this, he was a Russian gangsta. Now you know some Russian secrets never die or go away.
The Section watches it’s own people like some kind of big brother. Sapo or The Section is an organization assigned to spy on citizens. It steps on civil rights, or what we would call rights in the US.
The novel mentions a few scandals of countries. First, it mentions Watergate. Also, it mentions how the French sent secret service frogmen to New Zealand to blow up Green Peace. It touched on a few scandals of intel orgs.
Sweden talks of a need for a special investigator like Alexis Morrison or Ken Starr, an investigator who was only accountable to a panel of judges.
Sweden does not force their high officials to appear before Congress like the USA. This means The Swedes are untouchable at high government levels.
The Section used conspiracy to try to eliminate Lisbeth 15 yrs earlier. This happened when Liz was placed in a psych ward. The Section had to keep her there, because she was going to spill the beans on her father, a former Russian spy who defected.
The novel tells us Liz is special. She had Asperger’s and was autistic. She can’t relate to certain social situations according to the novel.
All her life, Liz had to fight the government of social democrats. In 1991 Swedish civil servants protected her father Russian defector Zala. The Section had their man, Teleborian, write damaging psych reports on Liz, in order to keep her locked up.
This novel shows a dark purpose of magazines for the justice system. That is, a prosecutor plants damaging info in a SMP magazine to go out about Liz. The prosecutor leaks a story, which is a lie to damage Liz’s reputation before a trial. It’s hoped a jury will be influenced.
The novel gets into the UN a.k.a United Nations. The book says the UN has a list of companies that use child labor. Millennium magazine does a story on this International trade stuff. The UN is painted as a good guy in this novel.
Blomkvist quits and his sister, Annika, a lawyer, heads to court in this book. The lawyer wants to revoke Liz’s declaration of incompetence. The Section is fighting to quiet Liz on her father.
The book gets into the Swedish Constitution. It talks about a Constitutional Protection Unit that keeps track of Nazi skinheads and militant vegans. This unit fights for the constitutional rights of its citizens.
Needless to say, Liz had created a constitutional crisis. Her rights have been violated by The Section. The unit must act.
Swedish authorities helped cover up crime against citizens. If word got out about what The Section did to Liz it would damage the social democrats. The left and right political parties could capitalize and win votes, which the current government does not want.
The Section resembles the steel Russian government: it implements its policies without regard to civil rights. On the other hand, the Constitutional Protection Unit resembles the clay governments of the UK/USA, where civil rights hinder government implementation of policy. The Section is an attack on democracy, or democracy is attacking The Section.
This novel is current when you think about it. That is, it involves old cold war Russian spies; some problems or secrets never go away. We still have this problem of Russia vs the UK/USA.
The book has some good hacker exploits. For example, a hacker named Trinity takes control of a nuclear submarine. Trinity belongs to the Hacker Republic. The novel could of went further into hacker culture.
There is talk of catchers in the book. Basically, a catcher is a device, RFTS or random freq tracking. It catches and records cellphone convos.
Liz’s scandal is something the social democrat government may not survive. Just think what a far left or far right could do with such knowledge. The social democrats would be finished if they don’t help Liz.
Sapo lacks oversight of parliament. Like Jesus Angleton of the CIA. Sapo would violate a USA constitution.
Here’s something to think about when it comes to the UN and the book of Revelations in the bible. The UN, an 8th king that can only be supported by an alliance of 10 countries, claims to represent peace; but it really is a “disgusting thing” in the bible, that tries to take on Jesus’s role of peace maker. The UN, the usurper, goes off into destruction in the bible. But I think It’s funny how such a concocted narrative by the UN got sway in the minds of the people about bringing peace.
Of course, the novel ends with Liz winning her trial. The Section goes to jail. And Liz is freed to kill her evil brother, Ronald Niedermann.
This story appeals to clay governments or people in support of civil rights. It does not support governments like Russia who are steel; that is, they implement government policy without regard for the people’s rights.
The novel ends with Liz a billionaire. She sets up WASP Enterprises with stolen billions. She sets up strings of P.O. boxes with millions in them. She goes and lives abroad.
To conclude, the novel rehashed old ideas. The hacker story has been done to death, so the author had to write this old idea in a new way to appeal in today’s world. Basically, you see a novel that is written to appeal to diverse groups in society .