The Girl in the Spider's Web

Knopf Doubleday

The day that Lisbeth Salander fans have been waiting for is here. The Girl in the Spider's Web, the fourth book in the much-loved Millennium series, just hit shelves.

At least, it hit shelves in the U.K.; American readers will have to wait until Sept. 1 to give it a read. But we can pass the time reading every review and reaction out there to gain some hints on what the antiheroine is up to these days. After all, it's been a whopping five years since The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest was released, and that's basically a lifetime in thriller years. And while tons of fans are rejoicing over the return of Lisbeth and her journalist accomplice Mikael Blomkvist, the book isn't without its fair share of controversy.

But isn't that just so like Lisbeth Salander?

First, here's a little backstory to get you up to speed: while author Stieg Larsson wrote the first three books in the series, he tragically died before they ever hit shelves. The three novels were published posthumously, with the original plan being to release only The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and Hornet's Nest. But the novels became such a literary and commercial success that it left readers (and the publisher) begging for more. Enter Spider's Web.

Larsson's estate, which is run by his father and brother, approved the hiring of Swedish writer David Lagercrantz to pen the fourth installment. This time around we have Lisbeth and Mikael reuniting when an autistic child witnesses a murder. They eventually become involved in everything from artificial-intelligence research to Silicon Valley to the Russian mob to the NSA. It's heavy and somewhat complicated stuff, but early reactions seem to suggest that Lagercrantz's version is pretty interesting.

Of course, not everybody is as happy about the book's release—there's a sizable contingent who are lashing out against the publisher and the author because they think that the series never should have continued after Larsson's death. For starters, there's his longtime partner Eva Gabrielsson. "I read original writers, not people who copy other people's books, so to say," she told NPR. "So I won't read it." Ouch. "The final verdict will have to be the readers. They are smart people, and if this were to be actually worth reading, or having something to say, that would be a first," she continued. "Because none of these continuations of other people's works have ever met the standard of the original writer, not once."

We'll have to sit back and watch to see how this all unfolds, but it seems like Spider's Web is already on its way to big sales.

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