Firewall (Mankell novel)


First edition (Sweden)
Author Henning Mankell
Original title Brandvägg
Translator Ebba Segerberg
Country  Sweden
Language Swedish
Series Kurt Wallander #8
Genre Crime novel
Publisher Ordfront
Publication date
Published in English
Media type Print (Hardcover, Paperback)
Pages 436 pp (Eng. hardback trans.)
ISBN 1-84343-112-2 (Eng. trans.)
Preceded by One Step Behind

Firewall is a crime novel by Swedish author Henning Mankell.


A series of bizarre incidents sweep across Sweden: a man dies in front of an ATM, two young women slaughter an elderly taxi driver, a murder is committed aboard a Baltic Sea ferry, and a sub-station engineer makes a gruesome discovery while investigating the cause of a nationwide power cut. As Wallander investigates, he uncovers a sinister plan to bring the Western world to its knees.


The major background theme around which the action takes place is the dilemma of the Western economic system versus poverty. The criminal mastermind is a persuasive and talented IT specialist who plans to right the wrongs of the world by "deleting" vast quantities of money from multinational banks' accounts system, so bringing on a credit and financial panic.

The criminals believe their intended cybercrime is justified; for them the "big picture" involves the sacrifice of the banking system in order to wipe out third world debt. At a crucial moment Wallander unwittingly manages to persuade a key accomplice that, ethically, there is in fact no "big picture," that instead we just have lives that are fragile but also "miraculous". That this major issue of our times should feature in a detective novel shows that it is not merely about detection, yet Wallander's answer just repeats the very old idea of caring for one's proximate neighbours in the here and now.


In 2006, Swedish production company Tre Vänner Produktion produced a four-part television miniseries adaptation of Firewall, starring Rolf Lassgård as Wallander. In 2008, British broadcaster BBC One broadcast a 90-minute adaptation as part of its Wallander television series starring Kenneth Branagh.

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