A sequel to the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series is to go on sale in August, despite the fact the trilogy's author Stieg Larsson died in 2004.
The Millennium trilogy, consisting of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest were all post-humously published in 2005, and went on to become international bestsellers, translated from their original Swedish to English.
But Larsson had also begun work on a fourth book featuring his protagonist Lisbeth Salander, which he did not manage to complete before his death. His long-term partner Eva Gabrielsson is in possession of his work, and has stated in the past that she could finish the novel as she had helped Larsson with his work throughout.
Following Larsson's sudden death at the age of 50, there was a dispute over his will. He and Gabrielsson had never married due to a security risk from Larsson's time as a journalist having reported on extremist groups. This meant the pair did not want their details accessible, and couples marrying in Sweden at the time had to make their address publicly known. But Larsson's family refused to let Gabrielsson receive any inheritance from Larsson's estate, or the subsequent fortune that the publication of the Millennium books made, and as such she is requesting the right to control Larsson's work in the way she believes he would have wanted.
In November, Swedish journalist and author David Lagercrantz was taken on to work on the novel. Its title in Swedish translates to What Does Not Kill although the English title has not yet been confirmed.
However, Lagercrantz has stated in interviews that he will not be using the work that Larsson had begun.
"What I wanted to make use of in the book was the vast mythology that Stieg Larsson left behind, the world he created," he told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.
Larsson's family wrote an agreement to give Lagercrantz creative freedom to write the new book.
His father and brother assured readers that "by letting David Lagercrantz write his own Millennium novel we keep the characters and the universe Stieg Larsson created alive. This new work hews closely to the first three Millennium novels and is faithful to those characters; it is wholly new and contemporary – the perfect way for readers to resume their acquaintance with Lisbeth and Mikael."
Two film adaptations of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo have been made, one Swedish and one American, starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, highlighting the series' popularity.
The release of the new work coincides with the tenth anniversary of the publication of the first book and is causing great excitement among fans, as Larsson is said to have been planning another seven novels.
Publisher Christopher MacLehose said "In one sense the chance to publish a new novel in the Millennium series merely underlines the sorrow of every one of his readers that Stieg Larsson could not have gone on to complete his planned ten-book oeuvre. But – and it is now almost a new and certainly fabled genre – the continuation by another hand has been long anticipated and David Lagercrantz will keep a very great storyteller’s flame alive."
Lagercrantz has finished the first draft of the novel, on schedule for its publication in August, but so far little has been revealed about the plot of What Does Not Kill or even what the title refers to. In the spirit of mystery thrillers, we will have to wait and see.
Words: Victoria Gray, Images: Rex Features