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Stieg Larsson was the Swedish author best known for his Millenium novels, including The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
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The two quickly fell in love. Although they were never married, Larsson and Gabrielsson remained together for the rest of his life.
In 1975, at the age of 21, Larsson joined the Swedish army to fulfill his two years of compulsory military service. Larsson did not back off his left wing political activism just because he joined the military. While serving in the army, he smuggled the Trotskyist magazine Red Soldier into the barracks, and upon his discharge he traveled to East Africa,
where he helped train female Marxist guerillas in Eritrea to use grenade launchers.
Following this military interlude in his life, Larsson returned to Sweden and settled down with Gabrielsson in Stockholm. There he began researching right wing extremism, specifically the lingering pockets of neo-Nazism, racism and sexism he found in Sweden and the world at large. In the early 1980s, Larsson became the Scandinavian correspondent of Searchlight, a British magazine dedicated to anti-fascism and anti-racism. He also worked as an editor for Fjarde Internationalen, the journal of the obscure Swedish branch of the Trotskyist Fourth International. In 1995, as a white-power music scene reached its peak in Sweden, Larsson helped found the Expo Foundation, an organization dedicated to combating right wing forces in Swedish society. Larsson served as the editor of Expo magazine, which provided a model for the fictional Millennium of his later novels.
Before he ever conceived of the Millennium novels, Larsson had already lived a noteworthy life as a political activist and journalist and had achieved a modicum of fame and notoriety among Sweden's politically aware. Still, Larsson had never abandoned his childhood passion for science fiction and crime fiction, and during the 1990s he drafted a trilogy of crime novels now known as the Millennium Trilogy, whose original Swedish titles translate to Men Who Hate Women, The Witch Who Dreamed of a Can of Petrol and The Exploding Castle in the Air. The books were published to considerable success in Sweden before being picked up by the small British publishing house Quercus and released under new English titles: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2005), The Girl Who Played with Fire (2006) and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (2007).
The trilogy revolves around Lisbeth Salander, a young computer hacker with a punk style whom Larsson described as his conception of a modern young-adult Pippi Longstocking, and Mikael Blomkvist, a celebrated investigative journalist whose personal history loosely mirrors Larsson's own. Throughout the trio of dense, intricate and suspenseful novels, the pair team up to take on a serial killer with a deranged hatred for women, a Swedish sex trafficking ring and a rightist conspiracy within the Swedish security service. The novels have become enormous international bestsellers; with total sales of the Millennium Trilogy surpassing $40 million, Larsson is on pace to join J.K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyer and Dan Brown among the bestselling authors in recent history.
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