Stieg Larsson may have passed away back in 2004, but his work lives on in his iconic character Lisbeth Salander, from his Millenium trilogy (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo et al). Back when his novels made it over stateside from Sweden posthumously, his unique storytelling ability swept across the country. The worldwide popularity even spawned three movie adaptations over in Sweden, and one over here in America directed by David Fincher, starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara.
Since then, the fervor has died down slightly, if not simply because there hasn’t been much to report. No new novels have published, and while rumors abound about Fincher’s next movie, nothing has been officially confirmed. But now, we have the first bit of news from the Larsson estate in years, and it’s nothing but good for fans. The Swede’s unfinished That Which Does Not Kill was reportedly completed by David Lagencrantz, and will be ready for a wide release in 35 countries come August of this year according to The Guardian. It’ll once again feature our heroine Lisbeth Salander, but other details have been kept relatively under wraps. Publishers are even likening the global release to that of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, making for some lofty expectations.
This of course all leads us to wonder: Will what appears to be the final work of Stieg Larsson be the smash hit that his first three novels were? Of course the ultimate tragedy is and has been that Larsson in fact never got to see the massive success of his works, with the first publishing in 2005, a year after his death. Since then, The Guardian estimates the series has sold upwards of 80 million copies, a number directly on par with the 80 million that Reuters claims The Da Vinci Code has netted.
Of course Brown’s novels were parlayed into two movies here in the States, with the first raking in $758 million worldwide according to IMDb. Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo brought in significantly less at $232 million (also culled from IMDb). Despite this, the point remains that in a society avoiding reading at all costs, Larsson’s Millenium trilogy has risen above the rest as a compelling thriller tackling complex social and gender issues, while still managing to be wildly popular.
It stands to reason that this popularity will carry over to That Which Does Not Kill, a novel which was at least partly penned by Larsson. By name and reputation alone, anticipation will likely build to a fervor as we near August, especially given that nowadays there aren’t many popular literary releases to get excited about. In a field of competition that’s nigh nonexistent, it’s hard to imagine a world where this one doesn’t accomplish at least a modicum of the success its predecessors achieved.
A multi-language release in 35 countries further widens its ability to be a global hit, a strategy usually reserved for superstar authors like Brown and J.K. Rowling. Despite being partially written by Lagencrantz, the hope is that the spirit of Larsson’s characters and stories remain. The only real tragedy of the situation is that the man responsible isn’t around to see just how much he’s accomplished on a worldwide scale. We’d venture to guess that Stieg Larsson would be proud, and come August we’ll be able to continue to bask in his legacy.