Stieg Larsson sequel ’70 percent finished’: Baksi

Kurdo Baksi, confidant and author of an expose book on deceased Swedish crime writer Stieg Larsson, has claimed that the manuscript believed to be the fourth book in the Millennium series is almost complete.

Stieg Larsson sequel '70 percent finished': Baksi

Speaking at the Edinburgh international book festival, Baksi repeated claims that he has witnessed the manuscript and that the fourth book in the popular crime fiction series gives a prominent role to hacker-heroine Lisbeth Salander’s twin sister Camilla.

“It is at 260 pages at the moment – about 70 percent complete. Eva has said the book is not so complete. She took the book after Stieg died and showed it to me and his father,” he said, according to a report in the Guardian daily.

It has been widely reported that when Stieg Larsson died suddenly on November 9th, 2004 that he had plans for a series of five or six books within the Millennium series.

Eva Gabrielsson, Larsson’s partner for 30 years, has indicated that a large part of a fourth manuscript is contained in a computer left to her as part of Larsson’s personal effects.

In her biography of their life together “Stieg and I” (Stieg och jag), Gabrielsson has given the book the working title “God’s revenge” (Guds hämnd).

The contents of the computer have featured from time to time in the bitter struggle between Gabrielsson and Stieg Larsson’s father and brother who instead inherited what became the large part of his estate due to the fact that the couple had not formally married nor completed a will.

Gabrielsson has however meanwhile claimed that the book is at most 30 percent complete and has also taken offence at Baksi’s portrayal of her dead partner’s journalistic skills in his own memoir “Stieg Larsson My Friend”, which he was in Edinburgh to promote.

In an interview with the Expressen daily in March, Baksi revealed that the book holds a number of plot twists and turns, speaking at the annual book fair in the Scottish capital he gave further details.

Lisbeth Salander’s estranged sister Camilla featured only fleetingly in “The Girl Who Played With Fire” – the second of the published trilogy – but, according to Baksi, the twin’s character is given more prominence in the fourth novel.

The success of the Millennium books has been unprecedented for a Swedish writer and Baksi told the Edinburgh book meet that the fourth book would be ideally suited to becoming a Hollywood film with a plot taking the characters to Sweden, Canada, Greenland and Ireland.

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Lisbeth Salander is back in fifth Millennium book

The Millennium series' famous computer hacker Lisbeth Salander is set to grip readers' imaginations again as the fifth volume hits the bookshelves on Thursday.

Lisbeth Salander is back in fifth Millennium book
Author David Lagercrantz. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

The new book by the 55-year-old David Lagercrantz, titled 'The Girl Who Takes an Eye For an Eye', promised to reveal more secrets surrounding the mysterious Salander's troubled childhood and the true meaning behind her iconic dragon-shaped tattoo.

When Lagercrantz's 'The Girl in the Spider's Web', which received mixed reviews, was launched in 2015, he was met with overcrowded press conferences, journalists waiting in the queue for interviews, and he signed books until midnight.

The launch of the fifth volume is more low key as Lagercrantz will make no public appearance until he kicks off his book tour on September 10th.

'The Girl in the Spider's Web' was the first to continue the trilogy conceived by Stieg Larsson, who became one of the world's best-loved crime writers.

But Larsson's fame came posthumously as he died at the age of 50 from a heart attack in 2004, a year before the release of the first book in the series, 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo', followed by 'The Girl Who Played with Fire' (2006) and 'The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest' (2007).

'More banal'

While many Larsson fans rejoiced over the continuation of the trilogy when Lagercrantz was selected to write the fourth book, some – including Larsson's longtime partner Eva Gabrielsson – vehemently opposed him taking up the torch, calling him “a totally idiotic choice”.

“Everybody was very curious. We wanted to see if he was going to succeed,” Kerstin Bergman, literature professor at Lund University, told AFP.

“It was a good crime novel, very different from Stieg Larsson's,” she said, referring to the fourth book, which sold six million copies in 47 countries.

“There were introspective characters,” Bergman added.

Lagercrantz intends to transform the series and convince those who criticize his endeavour.

But as much as readers can't get enough of Salander's punk-rock style and feminist flair, the hype over Lagercrantz's continuation of the series is not what it used to be.

“Now it's more banal. People love characters and want to read about their adventures,” said Bergman, who is also a specialist in Nordic Noir, a genre that mixes crime fiction and social criticism.

“Continuing the series as it did is extremely unusual (…) it's an exclusively commercial project, but the choice of Lagercrantz is probably the best,” Bergman said.

'More sensitive character'

In 'The Girl Who Takes an Eye For an Eye', Lagercrantz throws Salander “into the worst prison for women, where she immediately encounters a lot of problems”, he told AFP in the spring.

Alongside Salander, readers will find Mikael Blomqvist, a talented investigative journalist who's also worn out by life.

As the duo investigate the abuse of power and the social injustice that Salander has gone through, they try to overcome new obstacles.

And if the author believes that Salander has seen enough in the previous crime novels, then the worst may be yet to come.

Lagercrantz has admitted that bringing this young woman with a dark past back to life in the books has caused him a headache. Contrary to Stieg Larsson, Lagercrantz said he would have chosen a heroine with a “sweeter, nicer and more sensitive” character.

In a relentless search for inspiration, Lagercrantz wrote on his publishing company's website that he interviewed “doctors, archivists, robotics researchers, Bangladeshi bloggers threatened to death” and visited a prison in south-eastern Sweden.

'The Girl Who Takes an Eye For an Eye' is to be published in 34 countries. Twenty-six of these countries, including Sweden, Britain, the United States, Germany and France, will release the book on Thursday.

A former journalist, Lagercrantz was previously best known for his biography of footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Lagercrantz has also signed on to write the sixth book, which he insisted would be his last in the series.

Article written by AFP's Camille Bas-Wohlert