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These days, the most pervasive impression of Sweden is that evoked in the late Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy. All three books have been at the top of the bestseller lists for months in Canada, and even longer elsewhere. The near-2,000-page saga of the unforgettable Lisbeth Salander makes for great reading. But Salander – along with her nemesis, a rogue reactionary cell in the Swedish security service, with tentacles reaching out to the police, judiciary, social services and media – is, of course, pure fiction.

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