Lisbeth Salander, a.k.a. ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,’ returns in a new book

Rooney Mara in "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo."
Rooney Mara in “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.”
(Merrick Morton / Associated Press)

Lisbeth Salander, the stormy computer hacker and anti-heroine who many readers know as “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” is coming back for a fifth book — despite the fact that her original author died after completing only three.

Entertainment Weekly reports that the next Lisbeth Salander novel, “The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye,” will be published by Knopf on Sept. 12. David Lagercrantz wrote the novel; Lagercrantz continues the series created by Stieg Larsson.

The new book finds Salander at war with anti-Muslim gangsters and Russian mobsters, according to Entertainment Weekly. It might also explain why Salander got her famous tattoo.


“Everybody knows that Lisbeth has a massive dragon tattooed on her back, but no one knows why,” Lagercrantz, who also wrote the fourth book in the series, told the magazine. “I started to feel the need to answer that riddle because it broadens and deepens the mythology that surrounds Lisbeth. She’s not the type of person that would do something like that without having a good reason for it.”

The mercurial Salander was first introduced to readers in the 2005 thriller “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” written by Larsson, who died of a heart attack at age 50 the year before the novel was published.

He left behind two other books in the series, “The Girl Who Played With Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest,” which were published in 2006 and 2007, respectively. Larsson’s books became bestsellers in Europe and the United States.

Larsson’s death before his books’ massive success at first left Lisbeth Salander in limbo. Larsson and his partner of 32 years, Eva Gabrielsson, had never married; she wanted to rights to his work, but under Swedish law, it reverted to his family. They signed off on Lahercrantz’s sequels.

An American film adaptation of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” was released in 2011, and was a commercial and critical hit. The movie was nominated for five Academy Awards, including a lead actress nod for Rooney Mara, who played Salander.


Lagercrantz, a journalist, took over the series at the request of its Swedish publisher in 2015 with “The Girl in the Spider’s Web.” The novel sold well in the United States, but was met with mixed reviews by critics.

Writing for The Times, reviewer Karolina Waclawiak called the book a “failed attempt.” The novel “does nothing to elevate the series, and one might venture to say it even hurts the legacy of the original,” Waclawiak wrote.

Lagercrantz, though, said he was stunned by the positive reaction to the book from fans of Larsson’s trilogy.

“At first, the reception was so overwhelming and extensive that I could barely stand upright,” he said. “But it evolved into something remarkable — we were overwhelmed by the love we received from readers who’ve been longing to get Lisbeth Salander back.”