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The Girl in the Spider's Web

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Original title  Det som inte dödar oss
Country  Sweden
Series  Millennium
Author  David Lagercrantz
Page count  544
3.7/5 Goodreads

Translator  George Goulding
Language  Swedish
Originally published  27 August 2015
Followed by  Untitled Millennium
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Publisher  Norstedts Förlag (Sweden), Quercus (United Kingdom), Alfred A. Knopf (United States)
Preceded by  The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest
Genres  Crime Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Similar  David Lagercrantz books, Millennium books, Crime Fiction books

The Girl in the Spider's Web (original title in Swedish: Det som inte dödar oss, literally "That which does not kill us") is the fourth novel in the Millennium series, focuses on the characters Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. Written by David Lagercrantz, this is the first novel in the series not authored by the series' creator and author of the first three Millennium books, Stieg Larsson, who died of a heart attack in 2004. The novel was released worldwide on 27 August 2015, except in the United States, where it was released on 1 September 2015.


The girl in the spider s web book review


In December 2013, the Swedish publisher of the Millennium series, Norstedts Förlag, announced plans for a fourth Millennium book, written by David Lagercrantz, to be published in August 2015. Extreme caution was taken to make sure details did not leak, and no early review copies were given out. Lagercrantz wrote the book on a computer that had no internet connection, and he personally handed his manuscripts to his publisher. Lagercrantz reported the draft finished in January 2015. Its Swedish title, Det som inte dödar oss, literally translated, means "That Which Does Not Kill Us".

Lagercrantz was given free rein by Larsson's estate. He tried to stay true to the series' complex stories with different plotlines but did not attempt to imitate Larsson's "journalistic authoritativeness."

The novel was translated into 38 different languages, including an English translation by George Goulding. Like the previous novels, the English language translation is published by Quercus in the UK. In March 2015, the US publisher Alfred A. Knopf announced the English-language title of the book, The Girl in the Spider's Web, and released their cover art. The first printing in the United States was for 500,000 copies.

The late author's literary estate is fully controlled by Larsson's brother and father, who hired Lagercrantz and have supported the latest book in the series.

However, Larsson's long-term domestic partner, Eva Gabrielsson, has voiced criticism against this project and referred to Lagercrantz as a "completely idiotic choice" to continue the Millennium series. She possesses an unfinished fourth manuscript of the Millennium series, which is not included in the novel.

In an interview, Lagercrantz said that he had one criticism against Stieg Larsson and Larsson's portrait of the protagonist Mikael Blomkvist: "Women came to [Mikael Blomkvist], fell down and wanted to sleep with him, he didn't even have to charm them. I tried to tone this down as I couldn't understand it."

When asked about the decision to continue the series after Larsson's death, Sonny Mehta, the president of Knopf — the publisher of all the Millennium books — said, "Lisbeth Salander is one of the heroines, I think, of the 21st century, and a most unlikely heroine. She's brave, she's intrepid, she's unfrightenable, she's got a moral core (...) And I hope people will just welcome the return of this extremely unlikely pair of Salander and this crusading journalist."


Frans Balder, a computer scientist, returns to Sweden—abandoning a prestigious job with a Silicon Valley company—to take custody of his autistic son August. Balder is informed by several law-enforcement agencies that he is in danger from a criminal organization who call themselves the "Spider Society", but he ignores their warnings, preferring to focus on his neglected son. August exhibits savant syndrome; he produces drawings of impressive veracity and demonstrates facility with numbers.

Mikael Blomkvist feels like he is stuck in a rut. In the year since Millenium magazine's scoop on "The Section" (as chronicled in The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (2007)), the publication has stagnated and is in danger of losing creative control to the whims of outside investors. A former associate, Linus Brandell, puts Blomkvist on Balder's scent and relates Balder's tumultuous history. Blomkvist is largely bored with the recitation until Brandell mentions that some of Balder's activities were aided by Lisbeth Salander.

Spurred by a childhood memory, Salander is attempting to track down someone from her past, and her investigations have led her to the Spider Society. She has taken on a side project: helping the Hacker Republic gain access into the servers of the US National Security Agency. As the novel opens, she succeeds, much to the fury of the agency's top IT Security agent, Ed "The Ned" Needham. This puts her on the NSA's radar, making her a top priority alongside other persons of interest whom NSA agent Alona Casales and agent Gabriella Grane of the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment are working on identifying: an elite group of Russian criminals who call themselves the "Spider Society." They are led by an individual named "Thanos".

Grane calls Balder with concerns about his safety, and Balder hires Milton Security for protection. He also reaches out to Blomkvist, hoping to confess his concerns to a respected journalist. Blomkvist agrees to meet him, but as he arrives, an assassin, self-identified in the narration as "Jan Holtser", kills Balder. Blomkvist reaches out to Salander, hoping to harness her talents to the investigation.

August is returned to his mother's custody, but Hanna is unable to cope with his disorder. Eventually, unable to stop him from drawing a picture of a checkerboard pattern, Hanna remands August to a psychological care facility. However, Blomkvist recognizes that the picture, if completed, would depict Jan Holtser mid-murder, and he enlists the help of the police to find August a safe place to unburden himself of the image. August's status as a key witness makes it to Holtser's superior, a woman called Kira, and she orders Holtser to eliminate the child. August is saved by Salander, who escapes with him. Salander reaches out to Blomkvist and Millenium editor Erika Berger for help; Berger then contacts Grane, who offers her beachfront vacation property as a safe house.

Blomkvist reaches out to Balder's former associates and learns that Balder hired Salander to confirm that someone had robbed him, implicating executives inside Solifon in the theft. Thus, Balder went to the company to attempt to gain more evidence. He discovered that Solifon was collaborating not only with the NSA in their espionage efforts, but with the Spider Society, as well. It is this investigation, not Balder's groundbreaking work on quantum computing, that resulted in his death.

In America, Needham is pulled off the investigation into the agency's hack; NSA top brass do not wish it exposed that they have engaged in industrial espionage for profit. Needham has not had much success in tracking down his nemesis, but his employees have asked around for who might have been able to perpetrate it. The name that keeps coming up is "Wasp". Needham draws the parallel between the Marvel Comics superhero Janet van Dyne, founding member of the Avengers, and The Spider Society, the fictional organization who oppose "The Sisterhood of the Wasp". He also draws the connection to Thanos, a supervillain faced by the Avengers.

Blomkvist is approached by a woman calling herself Rebecka Mattson, who attempts to seduce him. Blomkvist, however, sees through her act. He contacts Salander's former guardian, Holger Palmgren, and confesses that he recognized the woman: Camilla Salander, Lisbeth's long-missing twin sister. Palmgren tells Blomkvist of Camilla's nature: attractive, popular, predatory, manipulative, and intensely interested in her father Zalachenko's approval, and he describes how Camilla, noticing Lisbeth's love of comic books, began styling herself and her friends as van Dyne's nemeses solely to antagonize Lisbeth. Blomkvist and Palmgren theorise that Camilla has taken over part of Zala's former criminal network and is using it to strike against Lisbeth.

Blomkvist is contacted by Needham, who has come to Sweden to reach him. Needham gives him details of Salander's hack and asks to meet with Salander, so that she can help him secure the NSA database. However, they are interrupted by Salander: she and August are under attack at their hiding place by the Spider Society. Lisbeth fends them off, leaving several suspects, including Holtser, wounded on-site. Though Camilla gets away, Lisbeth and August do as well; additionally, August has already drawn the picture that will condemn Holtser and has helped Salander decrypt the last of the NSA's secrets.

Gabriella Grane takes a position at the UN working for human rights. Millenium publishes an exposė of the affair which restores their credibility; additionally, a new investment from Gibraltar (the site of Salander's Wasp Enterprises) allows Millennium to buy out their meddlesome investors. Needham, with the magazine as ammunition, ousts the crooked officers at the NSA.

Salander visits Blomkvist to renew their friendship.


The book received mixed to positive reviews from mainstream critics.

An early review by Upsala Nya Tidning characterised The Girl in the Spider's Web as "standard crime", portraying more brooding, human versions of Blomkvist and Salander, while downplaying the earlier "exaggerated and cartoonish features of the series".

The book topped the U.S. bestseller list in August 2015.

Film adaptation

In November 2015, Columbia Pictures announced a film adaptation by Steven Knight was in development. On November 2, 2016, Variety reported that Fede Álvarez would direct the film, a sequel to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The film is scheduled for release on 5 October 2018 and will feature a new cast.


The Girl in the Spider's Web Wikipedia