The New York Times - Michiko Kakutani
Fans of Stieg Larsson's captivating odd couple of modern detective fiction…will not be disappointed by the latest installment of their adventures…Salander and Blomkvist have survived the authorship transition intact and are just as compelling as ever…Mr. Lagercrantz demonstrates an instinctive feel for the world Larsson created and for his two unconventional gumshoes…Mr. Lagercrantz captures the weariness, even vulnerability, that lurks beneath these two characters' toughness, and he understands that each is motivated by a craving for justice…Mr. Lagercrantz seems to have set aboutquite nimbly, for the most partchanneling Larsson's narrative style, mixing genre clichés with fresh, reportorial details, and plot twists reminiscent of sequences from Larsson's novels with energetically researched descriptions of the wild, wild West that is the dark side of the Internet.
Lagercrantz's worthy, crowd-pleasing fourth installment in the late Stieg Larsson's Millennium saga opens in Sweden, where some intellectual property developed by artificial intelligence genius Frans Balder has been stolen by a video game company with ties to Russian mobsters. Crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist, who's casting about for a new investigative project, is about to meet with Balder when an intruder kills the scientist and puts Balder's autistic eight-year-old son in danger. Meanwhile in the U.S., the National Security Agency is hacked, and its chief of security, Edwin Needham, vows revenge. Lisbeth Salander plays a central role in both plot lines, and the pleasure resides in watching Lagercrantz (Fall of Man in Wilmslow) corral an enormous cast of characters into an intricate story revolving around the larger-than-life hacker and her desire to right wrongs, including corporate espionage, a government spying on its own citizens, and violence against the defenseless. Two new characters make strong impressions: Jan Bublanski, a Stockholm detective with a humanistic bent, and Camilla Salander, Lisbeth's twin, who sets the stage for further Millennium novels. Lagercrantz, his prose more assured than Larsson's, keeps Salander's fiery rage at the white-hot level her fans will want. Agent: Magdalena Hedlund, Norstedts Agency (Sweden). (Sept.)
From the Publisher
“Salander and Blomkvist have survived the authorship transition intact and are just as compelling as ever . . . Fans of Stieg Larsson’s captivating odd couple of modern detective fiction will not be disappointed.” —Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
“Rest easy, Lisbeth Salander fans—our punk hacker heroine is in good hands . . . A twisty, bloody thrill ride . . . seamlessly woven together by Lagercrantz—in fact, if you hadn’t seen his name on the book jacket, you’d likely assume it was Larsson’s own handiwork . . . An instant page-turner.” —USA Today (4 out of 4 stars)
“Without ever becoming pastiche, the book is a respectful and affectionate homage to the originals . . . Lagercrantz’s continuation, while never formulaic, is a cleaner and tighter read than the originals.” —Guardian
“Lagercrantz has more than met the challenge. Larsson’s brainchildren are in good hands and may have even come up a bit in the world.” —Wall Street Journal
“What of Lisbeth Salander? Given that Lagercrantz knows she’s what readers want, her long and suspenseful introduction is masterful.” —Lee Child, New York Times Book Review (cover)
“A worthy, crowd-pleasing fourth installment . . . Lagercrantz, his prose more assured than Larsson’s, keeps Salander’s fiery rage at the white-hot level her fans will want.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)
“Lagercrantz does an excellent job . . . Anyone craving more Salander bad-assery should get their hands on a copy of Spider’s Web faster than Lisbeth can hack into the NSA.” —People
“Lagercrantz’s real achievement here is the subtle development of Lisbeth’s character; he allows us access to her complex, alienated world but is careful not to remove her mystery and unknowability. Lisbeth Salander remains, in Lagercrantz’s hands, the most enigmatic and fascinating anti-heroine in fiction.” —Financial Times
“Lagercrantz deftly blends the spirit of Larsson’s work and characters with his own literary skills and bright imagination. Spider’s Web is an intelligent novel that has Salander entangled in one of the most contentious issues of our times . . . Riveting . . . Pyrotechnic.” —Chicago Tribune
“A thrilling next installment . . . In spinning a complex and intriguing new chapter in the adventures of Blomkvist and Salander, Lagercrantz has written a worthy successor to one of the more uniquely compelling thriller sagas of his generation . . . An engrossing novel.” —Paste
“Action-packed and thoroughly enjoyable . . . [A] finely-wrought thriller . . . I will eagerly devour the next adventure for Salander and Blomkvist, especially now that we know their fate lies in the hands of a writer worthy of their story.” —The Daily Beast
“Lagercrantz stays true to Larsson’s vision . . . No doubt about it, Lagercrantz has done a skillful job.” —Sydney Morning Herald
“[A] smart, action-packed thriller that is true to the spirit of the characters Larsson created while adding interesting new ones and updating the political backdrop that made the Millennium series so compelling.” —Buffalo News
“Fans of the original trilogy will be pleased with Lagercrantz’s new installment. The novel is a smart, propulsive thriller and espionage tale with a timely digital age plot (think Snowden and Wikileaks).” —Hollywood Reporter
“Passion and fire, check: there are plenty of both here . . . Fast-moving, credible, and intelligently told. Larsson fans won’t be disappointed.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Lagercrantz pulls it off . . . One devours Larsson’s books for the plots, the action, the anger, and most of all for Lisbeth Salander, a character who resembles Sherlock Holmes or James Bond . . . Lagercrantz has caught her superbly.” —Daily Telegraph (UK)
“David Lagercrantz was set an almost impossible task by Stieg Larsson’s estate when they asked him to write a ‘continuation’ novel featuring Lisbeth Salander. He has carried it out with intelligence and vigour. The Girl in the Spider’s Web conveys the essence and atmosphere of Larsson’s Millennium novels. He has captured the spirit of their characters and devised inventive plots.” —The Times (UK)
“Fans of the original trilogy need not fear . . . The novel is well-researched and more intelligent than the average thriller.” —The Independent (UK)
“Lagercrantz makes sensible decisions in this fourth volume . . . . Blomkvist is given a cleverly and very contemporary storyline . . . A worthwhile read for anyone who’s zipped through the trilogy and finished wanting more.” —Daily Express (UK)
“Sometimes you almost forget that the spine of the book says David Lagercrantz and not Stieg Larsson . . . There is definitely the same narrative zest and love of intrigue, and also the impressive research . . . Lagercrantz has written a thriller that is captivating in its own right.” —Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden)
“A real page turner.” —Borås Tidning (Sweden)
“Lagercrantz has studied the first three parts of the series well, and the reader will recognize not only their Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander and the social criticism, but also other essential parts of the story’s DNA . . . David Lagercrantz has proven that he deserves both attention and respect. ” —Dagens Nyheter (Sweden)
“An excellent thriller . . . elegantly constructed.” —Stern (Germany)
Swedish journalist and best-selling author Lagercrantz hit the jackpot when Stieg Larsson's estate asked him to write this stand-alone sequel to the famed "Millennium" trilogy. As the estate says, "David is an accomplished author, who has throughout his authorship narrated highly original characters and complex geniuses. He will conduct this in his very own way." With a 500,000-copy first printing.
Lisbeth Sander returns, bruises raw and dander up, in this continuing installment of the late Stieg Larsson's crime series. Lisbeth is perhaps getting a little long in the tooth to be called a girl, but no matter: she still has a young person's aching desire to right the wrongs of the world. There are plenty of them, no doubt, but Swedish journalist/biographer Lagercrantz gives this the timeliest of spins by centering evil on the National Security Agency and its villainous operatives ("Ingram usually had a malicious grin on his face when he stuck a knife in someone's back"), who dig illicit sex and snappy repartee and all the usual things that bad guys enjoy. The NSA and its explosive chief data cowboy make perfect foils, as it happens, for Lisbeth and her cohort of hacking pals, bearing names like Trinity, Plague, and Bob the Dog. Lagercrantz follows the Larsson formula: take a more-or-less ordinary event, in this case a brittle battle over custody rights, and wrap it into a larger crime that the smaller one masks. It's not as if he doesn't skip a beat in doing so, but mostly he captures Larsson's patented tone, a blend of journalistic matter-of-factness and world-weariness. If the bad guys are sometimes cardboard cutouts, Lisbeth is fully rounded in her fury—as one of them cries, "What kind of freak are you?" No ordinary one, as Larsson well established and Lagercrantz reinforces. Larsson's journalist hero/alter ego Mikael Blomkvist returns as well, bound in events while trying to do his work in the face of disappearing print, focus groups, and consultants—the latter a force for evil as formidable as the spooks back at Fort Meade. "It was no bloody market analysis that had created the magazine," he fumes. "It was passion and fire." Passion and fire, check: there are plenty of both here and plenty of loose character-development ends to pick up in another sequel. Fast-moving, credible, and intelligently told. Larsson fans won't be disappointed.
Read an Excerpt
Wrange tried to concentrate on the game, but he was not managing too well. Fortunately this punk girl was going to be easy pickings. She wasn’t bad, as it turned out—she probably spent a lot of time playing—but what good was that? He toyed with her a little, and she was bound to be impressed. Who knows, maybe he could even get her to come home with him after- wards. True, she looked stroppy, and Wrange did not go in for stroppy girls, but she had nice tits and he might be able to take out his frustrations on her. It had been a disaster of a morning.
It wasn’t grief that he felt: it was fear. Wrange really did try hard to convince himself that he had done the right thing. What did the goddamn professor expect when he treated him as if he didn’t exist? But of course it wouldn’t look good that Wrange had sold him down the river. He consoled himself with the thought that an idiot like Balder must have made thou- sands of enemies, but deep down he knew: the one event was linked to the other, and that scared him to death.
Ever since Balder had started working at Solifon, Wrange had been afraid that the drama would take a frightening new turn, and here he was now, wishing that it would all go away. That must have been why he went into town this morning on a compulsive spree to buy a load of designer clothes, and had ended up here at the chess club. Chess still managed to distract him, and the fact was that he was feeling better already. He felt like he was in control and smart enough to keep on fooling them all. Look at how he was playing.
This girl was not half bad. In fact there was something unorthodox and creative in her play, and she would probably be able to teach most people in here a thing or two. It was just that he, Arvid Wrange, was crushing her. His play was so brilliant and sophisticated that she had not even noticed he was on the brink of trapping her queen. Stealthily he moved his positions forward and snapped it up without sacrificing more than a knight. In a flirty, casual tone bound to impress her he said, “Sorry, baby. Your queen is down.”
But he got nothing in return, no smile, not a word, nothing. The girl upped the tempo, as if she wanted to put a quick end to her humiliation, and why not? He’d be happy to keep the process short and take her out for two or three drinks before he pulled her. Maybe he would not be very nice to her in bed. The chances were that she would still thank him afterwards. A miserable cunt like her would be unlikely to have had a fuck for a long time and would be totally unused to guys like him, cool guys who played at this level. He decided to show off a bit and explain some higher chess theory. But he never got the chance. Something on the board did not feel quite right. His game began to run into some sort of resistance he could not understand. For a while he persuaded himself that it was only his imagination, perhaps the result of a few careless moves. If only he concentrated he would be able to put things right, and so he mobilized his killer instinct.
But the situation just got worse.
He felt trapped—however hard he tried to regain the initiative she hit back—and in the end he had no choice but to acknowledge that the balance of power had shifted, and shifted irreversibly. How crazy was that? He had taken her queen, but instead of building on that advantage he had landed in a fatally weak position. Surely she had not deliberately sacrificed her queen so early in the game? That would be impossible—the sort of thing you read about in books, it doesn’t happen in your local chess club in Vasastan, and it’s definitely not something that pierced punk chicks with attitude problems do, especially not to great players like him. Yet there was no escape.
In four or five moves he would be beaten and so he saw no alternative but to knock over his king with his index finger and mumble congratulations. Even though he would have liked to serve up some excuses, some- thing told him that that would make matters worse. He had a sneaking feeling that his defeat was not just down to bad luck, and almost against his will he began to feel frightened again. Who the hell was she?
Cautiously he looked her in the eye and now she no longer looked like a stroppy, insecure nobody. Now she seemed cold—like a predator eyeing its prey. He felt deeply ill at ease, as if the defeat on the chessboard were but a prelude to something much, much worse. He glanced towards the door.
“You’re not going anywhere,” she said.
“Who are you?” he said.
“So we haven’t met before?”
“But nearly, is that it?”
“We’ve met in your nightmares, Arvid.”
“Is this some kind of joke?”
“What do you mean?”
“What do you think I mean?
“How should I know?”
He could not understand why he was so scared.