‘Mil­len­nium’ se­quel hits book­stores


The ea­gerly awaited se­quel to Stieg Lars­son’s best-selling “Mil­len­nium” crime tril­ogy hit store shelves in 25 coun­tries on Thurs­day, as the au­thor ad­mit­ted he wrote the book in a manic de­pres­sive state.

Speak­ing to re­porters just hours ahead of the launch, David Lager­crantz said he was “ter­ri­fied” as he wrote “The Girl in the Spi­der’s Web.”

“I used to say that I was bipo­lar, manic de­pres­sive all the time, and I think it was kind of a good thing to write” in this con­di­tion, he said of the 500-page thriller which picks up the trail of tat­tooed com­puter hacker Lisbeth Sa­lan­der and jour­nal­ist Mikael Blomkvist.

The se­quel went on sale in 25 coun­tries on Thurs­day, in­clud­ing Swe­den where a Stock­holm book­store opened at mid­night to sell the first copies to around 50 fans who showed up to get their books signed by the au­thor.

“I came on the sub­way, that way I can start read­ing on my way home,” said “Mil­len­nium” fan Rickard de Bous­sard, 57.

Lager­crantz mean­while told AFP in an in­ter­view that he was “ob­ses­sive” dur­ing the writ­ing process, por­ing over Lars­son’s tril­ogy, read­ing and reread­ing it, do­ing end­less hours of re­search, ques­tion­ing his abil­ity the whole time.

“The writ­ing process was a com­bi­na­tion of an enor­mous de­sire and to­tal fear,” he says with a laugh. “The fear of not do­ing Stieg Lars­son jus­tice kept me go­ing.

“I was not the eas­i­est per­son to live with be­cause I was think­ing about it all the time,” he told AFP, say­ing he was “scared to death” that his book would not live up to the tril­ogy writ­ten by Lars­son, who died sud­denly of a heart at­tack in 2004 at age 50, be­fore the se­ries gained global fame.

Lars­son’s three books, pub­lished in 2005-2007, have sold 80 mil­lion copies world­wide and inspired a se­ries of films in Swedish as well as a Hol­ly­wood ver­sion.

‘An enor­mous joy’

“This was the pas­sion of my life and now you can judge if I suc­ceeded,” said Lager­crantz, who ges­tic­u­lates wildly while speak­ing and is fond of su­perla­tives.

De­spite the over­whelm­ing fear of fail­ure, Lager­crantz says that be­ing given the op­por­tu­nity to write the book was “an in­cred­i­ble priv­i­lege, an enor­mous joy.”

While many fans craved a fourth in­stall­ment, some are not happy — among them Eva Gabriels­son, Lars­son’s part­ner for 32 years un­til his death.

The cou­ple were not mar­ried and Lars­son left no will, so his es­tate went to his brother and fa­ther. Gabriels­son, 61, lost a bit­ter bat­tle with them to man­age his work.

She has crit­i­cized both the de­ci­sion to con­tinue the tril­ogy and to pick Lager­crantz as au­thor, call­ing him “a to­tally id­i­otic choice” in an AFP in­ter­view in March.

Lars­son had no plans for a con­tin­u­a­tion of Mikael’s and Lisbeth’s ad­ven­tures, and Lager­crantz lacked his left-wing ac­tivist back­ground, know­ing noth­ing of the mi­lieu de­scribed in the books, she said.

“They say he­roes are sup­posed to live for­ever. That’s a load of crap, this is about money,” Gabriels­son said.

‘My novel in his uni­verse’

But pub­lish­ing house Norstedts de­fended Lager­crantz, a jour­nal­ist from Stock­holm’s in­tel­li­gentsia who penned soc­cer star Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic’s of­fi­cial bi­og­ra­phy, say­ing he had a “spe­cial tal­ent for de­pict­ing the world of oth­ers.”

“It’s my novel in his uni­verse,” Lager­crantz told AFP.

“His world, his char­ac­ters, but I put some of me in it too.”

Lars­son’s fa­ther and brother say the book’s roy­al­ties will go to the anti-racist mag­a­zine Expo co­founded by the late writer.

The pair are among the few who have al­ready read the thriller, which they lav­ishly praised.

“I kept it on my night­stand for a week be­fore I opened it. I was a lit­tle afraid. But once I started, it was im­pos­si­ble to stop,” Lars­son’s brother Joakim told AFP.

The writ­ing was shrouded in se­crecy with the au­thor, ed­i­tors and trans­la­tors all work­ing on com­put­ers dis­con­nected from the In­ter­net to pre­vent hack­ers from leak­ing the plot.

De­spite the pre­cau­tions, a news­pa­per kiosk at Stock­holm’s cen­tral sta­tion put the book on sale on Wed­nes­day, a day early, be­fore be­ing or­dered by Norstedts to re­move it.

A to­tal of 2.7 mil­lion copies have been printed, in­clud­ing 500,000 in the U.S.


Peo­ple buy the first book of the fourth novel in the “Mil­len­nium” se­ries of crime nov­els, orig­i­nally by Stieg Lars­son, “The Girl in the Spi­der’s Web,” writ­ten by Swedish jour­nal­ist and best-selling au­thor David Lager­crantz, at a lo­cal book store in Stock­holm, Swe­den, Wed­nes­day, Aug. 26.

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