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Extended Audio Sample The Girl Who Played with Fire, by Stieg Larsson Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.00000635941114 out of 54.00000635941114 out of 54.00000635941114 out of 54.00000635941114 out of 54.00000635941114 out of 5 4.00 (316,067 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stieg Larsson Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Millennium Series Release Date:
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The sequel to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire takes up Lisbeth Salander's story where it was left off in the first book. At the end of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Lisbeth disappeared from Mikael's life because he was involved with another woman. Together, they solved the mystery of the disappearance of a girl named Harriet, but their romantic involvement didn't work out. At the beginning of The Girl Who Played with Fire, we learn that Lisbeth made her way over to the Caribbean and we see her behaving heroically during a hurricane where she saves a woman whose husband is trying to kill her for her money.

After this minor adventure in a warm land, Lisbeth once again returns to Sweden where she inadvertently gets involved in a number of homicides. The main two homicides are those of Dag Svensson and Mia Johansson, journalists who are preparing an exposé for Millenium magazine—the magazine that Mikael works for. Through this exposé, they plan to reveal how people who are high up in the Swedish government are actually involved in sex-trafficking. However, before they can blow the lid off this conspiracy, they are murdered and Lisbeth's fingerprints are found on the murder weapon. It turns out that Lisbeth visited them shortly before the murder because she found out that their research led them to someone named Zala, a figure from Lisbeth's own past.

The other homicide is that of Lisbeth's legal guardian, a lawyer named Nils Bjurman, who previously raped Lisbeth and tried to keep her from controlling her finances. Lisbeth got back at him by torturing him and tattooing him as a rapist. But this was not the end of the matter because in this book, we see that Nils has become obsessed with destroying her. When he is killed at around the same time as the two journalists, Lisbeth becomes the main suspect.

Although Lisbeth goes underground, she and Mikael collaborate once more and uncover what the two dead journalists were researching. In a stunning finale, Lisbeth almost dies, but hangs together just long enough to get back at the man trying to kill her.

Although there's no romance between Lisbeth and Mikael in this book, we learn a lot about Lisbeth's past and how she came to be the person she is today. She's a tough heroine but she's also strangely vulnerable and in this book, she becomes more humanized for us.

Stieg Larsson was raised in northern Sweden where his father worked in a smelting plant. Although his parents later moved to Stockholm, they left Larsson behind with his grandparents because Stockholm was too cramped and crowded. So he stayed in a house in the country and used cross-country skis to go to school. During his lifetime, he did not publish his novels but was instead active in the science fiction community, publishing fanzine issues. He was also an activist who sought avidly to counteract the extreme right and the growing white-power culture in Sweden. As a result, he received many death threats and although he had a life-long partner in Eva Gabrielsson, he didn't marry her, in an effort to reduce the security risks.

The electrifying follow-up to the phenomenal best seller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and this time it is Lisbeth Salander—the troubled, wise-beyond-her-years genius hacker—who is the focus and fierce heart of the story.

Mikael Blomkvist, crusading journalist and publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to publish a story exposing an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden, implicating well-known and highly placed members of Swedish society, business, and government. On the eve of publication, the two reporters responsible for the story are brutally murdered…and the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to Lisbeth Salander.

Now, as Blomkvist, alone in his belief in her innocence, plunges into his own investigation of the slayings, Salander is drawn into a murderous hunt in which she is the prey, and which compels her to revisit her dark past in an effort to settle with it once and for all.

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Quotes & Awards

  • The Girl Who Played with Fire will likely confirm Larsson’s position as the most successful crime novelist in the world. Slate
  • “Larsson has bottled lightning . . . Formally at least, The Girl Who Played with Fire is a muscle car. But a European engine purrs beneath its hood . . . It buzzes with ideas [and] fizzes with fury. Los Angeles Times
  • A dynamite thriller. Liz Smith, Variety
  • The huge pleasure of these books is Salander, a fascinating creation with a complete and complex psychology . . . Salander is recognisably a Lara Croft for grown-ups–a female Terminator. The Guardian
  • “Addictive . . . We are in the hands of a master . . . Salander and Blomkvist [are] the finest and strangest partnership in crime fiction since Holmes and Watson . . . Stunningly memorable. Scotland on Sunday
  • The Girl Who Played with Fire is that rare thing–a sequel that is even better than the book that went before . . . A combination of urgent, multilayered thriller, traditional police procedural and articulate examination of the way a supposedly open-minded country like Sweden treats its vulnerable women and children. The Observer
  • With the spiky and sassy Salander, Larsson created the most original heroine to emerge in crime fiction for many years . . . She seizes the book by the scruff of its neck and binds the reader in fetters of fascination. The Independent
  • This second novel is even more gripping and astonishing than the first. What makes it outstanding is the author’s ability to handle dozens of characters and parallel narratives without losing tension. Larsson was a fantastic storyteller. This novel will leave readers on the edge of their seats. The Sunday Times (London)
  • The best thriller I’ve read in ages . . . If you want a book to take on your lifetime trip on the Trans-Siberian railway, The Girl Who Played With Fire is the one.”
  • Evening Herald (Ireland)
  • “Boasts an intricate, puzzle-like story line…even as it accelerates toward its startling and violent conclusion.”

    New York Times

  • These books grabbed me and kept me reading with eyes wide open with the same force as the best of the series on the TV monitor . . . Move over, Tony Soprano . . . Blomkvist is a wonderfully appealing character. And the girl of the title is one of the most fascinating characters in modern genre fiction. Alan Cheuse, San Francisco Chronicle
  • A nail-biting tale of murder and cover-ups in which the victims are tantalizingly hard to distinguish from the villains. . . Believe the hype . . . It’s gripping stuff. People
  • “Another gripping, stay-up-all-night read. Entertainment Weekly
  • “Lisbeth Salander [is] one of the most startling, engaging heroines in recent memory . . . Some of the books’ appeal comes from the Swedish setting, but most of it is a result of the author writing from the heart, not from a formula. Larsson clearly loved his brave misfit Lisbeth. And so will you. USA Today
  • The Girl Who Played with Fire confirms the impression left by Dragon Tattoo. Here is a writer with two skills useful in entertaining readers royally: creating characters who are complex, believable, and appealing even when they act against their own best interest; and parceling out information in a consistently enthralling way. Washington Post

    “Lisbeth Salander was one of the most original and memorable heroines to surface in a recent thriller: picture Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft endowed with Mr. Spock’s intense braininess and Scarlett O’Hara’s spunky instinct for survival . . . Now Salander is back in an even more central role . . . The reason it works is the same reason that Dragon Tattoo worked: Salander and Blomkvist transcend their genre and insinuate themselves in the reader’s mind through their oddball individuality, their professional competence and, surprisingly, their emotional vulnerability.
  • A suspenseful, remarkably moving novel . . . This is the best Scandinavian novel to be published in the U.S. since Smilla’s Sense of Snow . . . Salander is one of those characters who come along only rarely in fiction: a complete original, larger than life yet firmly grounded in realistic detail, utterly independent yet at her core a wounded and frightened child . . . One of the most compelling characters to strut the crime-fiction stage in years. Booklist (starred)
  • “This is complex and compelling storytelling at its best, propelled by one of the most fascinating characters in recent crime fiction. Library Journal (starred)
  • Fans of intelligent page-turners will be more than satisfied by Larsson’s second thriller . . . [It has] powerful prose and intriguing lead characters. Publishers Weekly
  • “Fans of postmodern mystery will revel in Larsson’s latest . . . also starring journo extraordinaire Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander, the Lara Croft of the land of the midnight sun . . . Lisbeth is really a Baltic MacGyver with a highly developed sense of outrage, a sociopathic bent and brand-new breast implants, to say nothing of a well-stuffed bankbook. Kirkus Reviews

    Reviews from abroad:

  • “As good as crime writing gets . . . Completely absorbing and engaging on both a narrative and a moral level . . . Lisbeth Salander [is] a remarkable heroine.
    The Times Literary Supplement
  • “[A] gripping, stay-up-all-night read.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Gripping stuff…A nail-biting tale of murder and cover-ups.”


  • “While very much part of a larger whole (there are numerous references to events that occurred in the first part of the trilogy), The Girl Who Played with Fire stands alone as a highly enjoyable, if not always smooth—and often disquieting—mixture of classic crime tropes, searing violence, and vivid characterization.”

    Audible.com, editorial review

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2009 Washington Post Best Audiobook
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A 2010 Anthony Award Nominee for Best Novel
  • A 2010 Dilys Award Nominee
  • Selected by for the August 2009 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by ben | 12/18/2016

    " Brilliant continuation of dragon tattoo, same spellbinding story telling, building on characters, leaving you on the edge of your seat wondering which way it will turn next, who will survive, will the "hero" get the villion, will the villion get his just reward, impossible to put down to get to the end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by M | 4/29/2016

    " Every bit as good as the first in the series. Could not wait to hear the next chapter - very well read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Naftoli | 2/20/2014

    " Wow! Even better than the 1st book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jon Kartago Lamida | 2/12/2014

    " Answering several incomplete questions in previous book. The plot, story and character involved are wider than the previous book. "

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