Larsson's original Swedish publisher Norstedts Förlag announced today (17th December) it had signed a fourth book in the series, with Quercus following suit to say it had world English language rights, acquired from Norstedts and Moggliden, the Stieg Larsson estate in the hands of Larsson's father and brother.
Larsson died in 2004, before he saw his trilogy of novels, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, become an international publishing phenomenon.
Lagercrantz is the co-author of I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Penguin), the 2013 autobiography of the Swedish footballer, and has also written fiction, with Quercus describing him as an author who "has in his writing constantly sought out odd characters and complex geniuses".
Norstedts Förlag publishing manager Eva Gedin said in an email reported in Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter: "We are proud and excited to now have signed an agreement with David Lagercrantz who, urged by his agent Magdalena Hedlund, has undertaken the challenging task of providing Blomkvist and Salander a second life, in a fourth standalone part of the Millennium series."
Lagercrantz said: "I'm running and writing and it's insanely fun. It's an amazing world to step into."
Publisher Christopher MacLehose of Quercus imprint MacLehose Press said: "In one sense the chance to publish a new novel in the Millennium series merely underlines the sorrow of every one of his readers that Stieg Larsson could not have gone on to complete his planned 10-book oeuvre. But—and it is now almost a new and certainly fabled genre—the sequel by another hand has been long anticipated and David Lagercrantz will keep a very great storyteller's flame alive. MacLehose Press are delighted to help him do that."
Mark Smith, Quercus chief executive, said: "We are thrilled to be working with Norstedts and the Stieg Larsson estate to bring the fourth book in the Millennium series to Larsson's millions of English-speaking fans. David Lagercrantz is a critically acclaimed author and we look forward to seeing where he takes Stieg Larsson's much loved characters."
The Millennium trilogy follows computer hacker Lisbeth Salander and investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist. The books were made into a series of Swedish films starring Noomi Rapace, before David Fincher directed an English-language version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara.
Norstedts Förlag said the books had sold more than 73m copies around the world.
Larsson's partner Eva Gabrielsson said in 2011 that Larsson had been working on a fourth novel at the time of his death, and had written "about 200 pages" but in a form that "probably doesn't hang together". Gabrielsson was locked in a legal battle over Larsson's estate, due to the fact that the couple were not married. Under Swedish law, the writer's estate passed to his estranged father and brother. She was offered a seat on the board that controls the estate, but declined the offer in 2009.