This story kicks off where The Girl Who Played With Fire left off - with Lisbeth Salander in hospital after being shot in the head. There are dark forces ranged against her. It turns out that she is at the centre of a tangle of corruption involving a government department which has gone rogue. One pull of the thread from her and the whole thing will unravel. So some very powerful people are trying to bring her down.
On her side are Blomkvist and the journalists at Millennium magazine and her old employers at Milton Security. They work together to try and figure the whole thing out. Some of the police working on the case are also suspicious of the official facts and try and uncover the truth.
I was glad that I started reading this relatively soon after finishing The Girl Who Played with Fire. I think I would've been completely lost otherwise. As it was I had some trouble remembering who was who, particularly in the case of the police and government where there seemed to be departments within departments.
Maybe I just wasn't in the right frame of mind for it but I did feel that this one was a bit busy. I didn't understand the need for the sub-plot concerning Erica Berger's move from being editor of Millennium to being editor of a national daily paper. Maybe to show that powerful, successful women sometimes have to deal with sexism just like more vulnerable women like Salander have to? Anyway, for me it was just another set of characters I had to remember.
I am glad I read it, though it wasn't my favourite of the trilogy. I thought it had a satisfying ending. I've read that Stieg Larsson planned to write more in the series and I can see that the last line left it open for that. It's a shame he never got to continue.