The Girl in the Spider's Web, sequel to Dragon Tattoo books, hits stores
Controversial sequel to Millennium series continues the adventures of Salander and Blomkvis
The new book hits shelves in book stores today in Europe and on Tuesday in North America.
Larsson penned the three novels but died of a heart attack at age 50 in 2004, after handing the manuscripts to his Swedish publisher. The books went on to become international bestsellers, with more than 80 million copies sold, including 2.5 million in Canada.
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Movie adaptations were done in Sweden, as well as an English language version in 2011, directed by David Fincher and starring Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara and Christopher Plummer.
But fans wanted more thrilling adventures about middle-aged investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist and punky computer hacker Lisbeth Salander. So the Swedish publisher and Larsson's estate hired writer David Lagercrantz to write a sequel.
'Tasteless' and 'idiotic,' says Larsson's partner
But not everyone was excited by the plan. Larsson's long-term partner Eva Gabrielsson called the move "tasteless" and the choice of substitute author "idiotic." But under Swedish law since she and Larsson were never married, the control of Larsson's estate went to the author's father and brother.
In a press conference on Wednesday in Stockholm, Lagercrantz said, "I have this deepest, deepest respect for Stieg Larsson. I mean not only for the great books that he's written but also because of his fight against racism, for feminism."
Lagercrantz 'absolutely terrified' by the challenge
He admitted that he was "absolutely terrified" at the challenge of continuing Larsson's beloved characters in a new plot of his own invention.
Readers who loved the original works will "be very happy with the way he's treated these characters," she said, "and how much time and effort he put in getting it right."
Mark Medley, books editor for The Globe and Mail, got a chance to read an advance copy of The Girl in the Spider's Web. He calls it "the most interesting novel of the year" because it combines the much loved characters created by Larsson with the twist of having a new writer continue the saga.
"I'd be very surprised if it doesn't top the bestseller lists abroad and at home in the coming weeks," he told CBC News. "I think this is going to be a juggernaut."