In The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Stieg Larsson introduces each part of the book with a glimpse of little-known historical facts about women warriors. He writes about Boudicca, the warrior queen of the Iceni tribe, who led a major uprising against the Roman effort to subjugate the British Isles in about 60 CE. Larsson is here an excellent off-the-beaten track tour guide, noting Queen Victoria’s interest in Boudicca and the often seen but little understood statue to this ancient queen on the Thames Embankment in London.
Larsson also draws the reader’s attention to Amazons of Black Sparta: The Women Warriors of Dahomey, a (real) book by Stanley B. Alpern that provides a historical account of the roles of African women in the palace guard and fighting forces of the African kingdom of Dahomey in the 18th and 19th centuries. Amazons of Black Sparta was first published in 1998, but Larsson’s reference to the book gave the publisher good reason to reissue it in 2011, with quotes from Larsson’s The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest on the front and back cover, and a new introduction from the author explaining his surprise at finding his relatively obscure book referred to by the now bestselling and unfortunately deceased Swedish author.