The Girl Who Lived Twice By David Lagercrantz
The sixth Lisbeth Salander story--the crime-fiction phenomenon that has sold more than 90 million copies worldwide.
Lisbeth Salander--the fierce, unstoppable girl with the dragon tattoo--has disappeared. She's sold her apartment in Stockholm. She's gone silent electronically. She's told no one where she is. And no one is aware that at long last she's got her primal enemy, her twin sister, Camilla, squarely in her sights.
Mikael Blomkvist is trying to reach Lisbeth. He needs her help unraveling the identity of a man who lived and died on the streets in Stockholm--a man who does not exist in any official records and whose garbled last words hinted at possible damaging knowledge of people in the highest echelons of government and industry. In his pocket was a crumpled piece of paper with Blomkvist's phone number on it.
Once again, Salander and Blomkvist will come to each other's aid, moving in tandem toward the truths they each seek. In the end, it will be Blomkvist--in a moment of unimaginable self-sacrifice--who will make it possible for Lisbeth to face the most important battle of her life, and, finally, to put her past to rest.
"A quest for revenge and atonement that plumbs the depths of Russian troll factories and scales the heights of Mount Everest." –TIME
About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
The city which until recently had held no interest for her now beckoned, and it crossed her mind that she should just drop everything and go out on a binge. But that was idiotic, she had to remain disciplined. She had more or less been living at her laptop recently, sometimes she hardly slept. And yet she looked much neater than she had for a long time. She had had her hair cut short. Her piercings were gone and she was wearing a white shirt and her black suit, just as she had at the funeral, not actually to honour Holger, but because it had become habit and she wanted to blend in better.
She had resolved to strike first, not wait like some cornered prey, and that was why she now found herself in Moscow, and why she had arranged for cameras to be installed at Fiskargatan in Stockholm. But she was paying a higher price than expected. Not only because it brought back her past and kept her awake at night. It was also the fact that her enemies were hiding behind smokescreens and impossible encryptions, and she had to spend hours covering her tracks. She was living like a prisoner on the run. Nothing of what she was searching for came easily to her, and it was only now, after a month’s work, that she was nearing her objective. But it was hard to know for certain, and sometimes she wondered if the enemy was, in spite of everything, always one step ahead.
Today, when she had been out on reconnaissance, she had felt she was being watched, and sometimes at night she would listen for footsteps in the hotel corridor, especially those of one man – she was sure it was a man – suffering from dysmetria, an irregularity in his gait, who often slowed down outside her door, and who seemed to be listening too.
She pressed rewind. Again Blomkvist came out of the apartment on Fiskargatan with a hang-dog look, and she reflected on that as she drained her glass of whisky. Dark clouds drifted over the State Duma towards Red Square and the Kremlin. A storm was on its way, and that was perhaps just as well. She got up and considered taking a shower or a bath, then settled for changing her shirt, choosing a black one. That seemed appropriate. From a hidden compartment in her suitcase she retrieved her Beretta Cheetah, the pistol she had bought on her second day in Moscow, and slotted it into the holster under her jacket. She sat on the bed and contemplated the room.
She did not like it, nor the hotel for that matter. It was too luxurious, too ostentatious, and it was not just that there were men like her father socialising down in the bar, pompous shits with a sense of unconditional entitlement to their mistresses and subordinates. There were also eyes on her, and word could be passed to the intelligence services or to gangsters. Often she found herself sitting as she was now, fists clenched, ready for a fight.
She went into the bathroom and splashed cold water on her face. It didn’t help much. Her forehead was tense from lack of sleep, her head ached. Was it time to go, so soon? Probably just as well. She listened first for sounds from the corridor, then slipped out. Her room was on the twentieth floor, close to the lifts. A man of middle age was already waiting, good-looking with short hair, wearing jeans and a leather jacket and a black shirt just like hers. She knew she had seen him somewhere before. There was something strange about his eyes, they shone with different colours. She ignored him and stared at the floor as they rode down in the lift.
She stepped into the lobby and went straight out into the square. Ahead of her the large glass dome sparkled in the dark. Beneath this revolving map of the world was a four-storey shopping centre. On top, a bronze statue of St George and the Dragon. St George was Moscow’s patron saint and she ran into him everywhere in the city, with his sword raised. Sometimes she put a hand to her left shoulder blade, a gesture of protection for her own dragon. Or she would caress an old bullet wound in the same shoulder, or her hip, where there was a scar from a knife injury, as if to remind herself of past pain.
Her mind was on conflagrations and disasters, and she thought also of her mother. Yet she was still careful to avoid surveillance cameras. Her movements were therefore tense and irregular as she hurried towards Tverskoy Boulevard, the large, splendid avenue with its parks and gardens, and she did not pause until she reached Versailles, one of the fanciest restaurants in the city.
The building looked like a baroque palace, with columns, gold ornaments and crystal, an entire glittering seventeenth-century pastiche. She wanted nothing more than to get far away. But tonight a party was to be held there, for the city’s wealthiest, and from a distance she could observe the preparations. So far the only people there were small groups of beautiful young women, most likely call girls hired for the occasion. The staff were also hard at work making the final arrangements.
As she drew closer she caught sight of the host. Vladimir Kuznetsov. He was at the front entrance in a white dinner jacket and patent-leather shoes, and even though he was not old, barely fifty, he looked like Santa Claus with his white hair and beard, and a fat belly at odds with his thin legs. Officially he was something of a success story, a petty criminal fallen on hard times who had turned his life around to become a celebrity chef specialising in bear steak and mushroom sauces. But covertly he ran a string of troll factories that spewed out fake news, often with an anti-Semitic undertone. Kuznetsov had not only caused chaos and influenced political elections. He also had blood on his hands.
He was guilty of fomenting genocide and had turned hatred into big business. The mere sight of him at the entrance gave Salander a boost. She felt the outline of her Beretta in its holster and looked around her. Kuznetsov was tugging nervously at his beard – it was to be his big night.
A string quartet, which Salander knew would be followed by the Russian Swing jazz band, was playing inside. A re
The Girl Who Lived Twice, David Lagercrantz