Anger at claim author ‘born’ to revive Stieg Larsson character

Aristocrat David Lagercrantz has written sequel to Stieg Larsson’s ‘Millennium’ trilogy

Swedish author David Lagercrantz, the man who has revived crime-solving cypherpunk Lisbeth Salander, has attracted controversy for suggesting he was "born to write" the fourth book in the bestselling Millennium series.

A decade ago Salander's creator, 50-year-old Swedish journalist Stieg Larsson, died suddenly of a heart attack just before publication of the first book in the series, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Two further books have followed to date but their worldwide success – 80 million copies and counting – was overshadowed by Larsson’s untimely death and a subsequent row between his family and his long-time partner.

In December 2013 Larsson's Swedish publisher Norstedt's announced it had contracted Lagercrantz to write a fourth novel, to be published in English on August 27th as The Girl in the Spider's Web.


The novel is said to be an entirely new work, not based on draft manuscripts or plot outlines for further books reportedly left behind by Larsson.

Despite controversy surrounding the project, and the high expectation of fans of the trilogy, Lagercrantz does not to appear to be plagued by self-doubt. "I was born for this, nobody could do it any better," he wrote in Sweden's Dagens Nyheter newspaper.


He said the book’s plot had “blossomed” inside him and he was soon hooked by the marriage of his original storyline to Larsson’s characters.

While mystery surrounds the plot of the book, to be published simultaneously in 40 countries, Lagercrantz said feedback had been good so far.

“Enthusiastic messages from publishers are coming in every day from around the world,” he wrote. “I am convincing myself it doesn’t mean anything. We’re all drawing from the same hope. We all want this book to meet expectations.”


Born into an aristocratic family, Lagercrantz studied philosophy and journalism, working at Volvo’s in-house magazine before a spell as crime reporter for the tabloid



As a writer he is best known for the literary approach he took when ghostwriting the acclaimed autobiography of Swedish football star Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Lagercrantz has spoken in the past of how he felt his aristocratic background was a burden in left-wing Swedish media circles, a point raised by Larsson's partner of 32 years, Eva Gabrielsson.

Given the couple’s background in left-wing Swedish activism, which features in the original books, Ms Gabrielsson described the choice of Lagercrantz as “totally idiotic”.

As Larsson and Ms Gabrielsson were not married, the book proceeds and the income from film rights has gone to Larsson’s estranged family.

She dismissed the Salander-Blomqvist revival in the new book, which has the Swedish title That Which Does Not Kill Us, as an endeavour that was simply "about money".

Derek Scally

Derek Scally

Derek Scally is an Irish Times journalist based in Berlin