The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden

The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden

4.6 9
by Jonas Jonasson

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A wildly picaresque new novel from Jonas Jonasson, the author of the internationally bestselling The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

In a tiny shack in the largest township in South Africa, Nombeko Mayeki is born. Put to work at five years old and orphaned at ten, she quickly learns that the world expects nothing more from her

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A wildly picaresque new novel from Jonas Jonasson, the author of the internationally bestselling The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

In a tiny shack in the largest township in South Africa, Nombeko Mayeki is born. Put to work at five years old and orphaned at ten, she quickly learns that the world expects nothing more from her than to die young, be it from drugs, alcohol, or just plain despair. But Nombeko has grander plans. She learns to read and write, and at just fifteen, using her cunning and fearlessness, she makes it out of Soweto with millions of smuggled diamonds in her possession. Then things take a turn for the worse....

Nombeko ends up the prisoner of an incompetent engineer in a research facility working on South Africa's secret nuclear arsenal. Yet the unstoppable Nombeko pulls off a daring escape to Sweden, where she meets twins named Holger One and Holger Two, who are carrying out a mission to bring down the Swedish any means necessary.

Nombeko's life ends up hopelessly intertwined with the lives of the twins, and when the twins arrange to kidnap the Swedish king and prime minister, it is up to our unlikely heroine to save the day—and possibly the world. In this wild romp, Jonasson tackles issues ranging from the pervasiveness of racism to the dangers of absolute power while telling a charming and hilarious story along the way. In the satirical voice that has earned him legions of fans the world over, Jonasson gives us another rollicking tale of how even the smallest of decisions can have sweeping—even global—consequences.

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Editorial Reviews

“In The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden, Jonas Jonasson unfurls a wide, whimsical net that readers will relish being caught up in.”
Denver Post
“A funny and improbable tale with characters from South Africa to Sweden demonstrates how even the most seemingly insignificant people can change the fate of the world.”
Library Journal
Jonasson gave us a crusty centenarian in his internationally best-selling debut, The 100-Year-Old-Man Who Climbed Out the Window. Now he gives us Nombeko Mayeki, born desperately poor in Soweto, who works her way up to chief adviser on a hush-hush project. Though South Africa voluntarily dismantled its six nuclear missiles in 1994, Nombeko knows about a seventh missile. Now she's running from South Africa's secret service—and ends up in Sweden. With a 100,000-copy first printing.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-04-16
A funny and completely implausible farce about a woman, a bomb and a man's frustrated ambition to overthrow the king of Sweden.Nombeko Mayeki is a 14-year-old latrine cleaner in apartheid-era Soweto who is exceptionally good at her job. Because of her race, she is incorrectly presumed to be illiterate. She gets another job as the housemaid of the nuclear engineer in charge of South Africa's secret program to build six atomic bombs, and in her spare time, she masters Wu Chinese at the library in Pretoria. The engineer is an incompetent fool who accidentally builds a seventh bomb that remains a secret even to his bosses. Soon, Nombeko ships two crates: dried antelope meat to feed herself as she escapes to Sweden and the 1,700-pound atomic bomb the engineer wants sent to the Mossad in Israel. But the packages get switched, and for years Nombeko carts a 3-megaton bomb around Sweden while the Mossad doesn't know what to do with the antelope meat. Meanwhile, Ingmar Qvist's lifelong dream is to abolish the Swedish monarchy. He indoctrinates his identical-twin sons, both named Holger, to carry on after his death. But Holger One is an idiot, and Holger Two, whose birth was not registered and who thus technically doesn't exist, is intelligent. Because Nombeko is an illegal immigrant, she doesn't exist either. And of course the bomb doesn't exist. Can Nombeko and Holger Two prevent the idiot anarchist Holger One and his idiot girlfriend, Celestine, from blowing up the king, themselves and a sizable chunk of Sweden? Author Jonasson is wickedly inventive with a constant flow of absurdities, for which his narrator blames the Almighty: "If God does exist, He must have a good sense of humor." This book follows Jonasson's equally crazy The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (2012).Definitely not a book for sourpusses. The rest of the world will chuckle all the way through it.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
8.90(w) x 6.40(h) x 1.40(d)

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The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Donna-Read More than 1 year ago
I loved it, actually more than his first book. It is definitely "whimsical" as the review notes and I can see that readers would either love it or find it too nonsensical. I think it is fascinating how the author can weave real life events and characters into a story that is so entertaining. A lot of nuance woven into the story. 
SarahEA More than 1 year ago
This is a delightfully funny book that has many interesting political bits and pieces. It's a "laugh-out-loud" read. I bought two additional copies to give to friends,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I adore the authors story telling ability. Although writing about serious subject matter the story telling was light and amusing. The charactors were rich and flawed. Bravo....
bbb57 5 months ago
I have only read 100 pages of this book, and if I didn't read another word, it would still be a 5-star book for me. Life is so complicated and dull sometimes that pure whimsy is the antidote. This author writes in a way that makes you read swiftly with complete comprehension. It is funny beyond description, yet sad, dangerous, current, and most of all relevant. What more can you ask in a book? And all that after only 100 pages!!!
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden is the second book by Swedish journalist, media consultant and television producer, Jonas Jonasson. Determined not to be a latrine emptier all her life, Soweto youngster, Nombeko Mayeki uses her numerical skills and lots of hard work to advance her position. How she learns to read, ends up in possession of quite a few diamonds and later, something a whole lot more dangerous, is the story Jonasson tells in the first half of his book. It takes that long before Nombeko arrives in Sweden and quite a bit longer before she gets anywhere near the King.  Jonasson gives the reader the backstory of various major and minor characters in a series of anecdotes, some of which are quite funny. There is plenty of reference to both South African and Swedish politics (perhaps a little too much?), as well as a bit of world affairs, and generally, the plot is just as far-fetched as Jonasson’s first novel, The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared, but this one lacks the charm of his debut novel. The title is a bit misleading as, in effect, the King saves himself. There are lots of chuckles but not as many laugh-out-loud moments, and while described as uproariously funny, readers may disagree. 3 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sounds like a great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am ten years old. Would anyone reccomend this book to me? I love to read so I jump at any chance to read any book.