Stieg Larsson, Before Millennium
As the global craze for the Millennium Trilogy continues to grow with the release of the U.S. film version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, directed by David Fincher, here is the first graphic novel to tell the story of the man behind the legend: Stieg Larsson, Before Millennium.
Karl Stig-Erland "Stieg" Larsson was born in Västerbotten, in northern Sweden, in 1954. At the time of his birth, his parents were too young and too poor to keep him, so he was raised by his grandparents until the age of nine. Growing up under the influence of his fervently anti-fascist grandfather, Larsson decided early on that he wanted to devote his life to the fight for freedom of speech and equality.
After his military service, Stieg traveled to Eritrea to help with that country's independence movement, and even spent a year training female guerillas. Back in Stockholm, Larsson and some friends founded a quarterly magazine, Expo, with the mission of safeguarding "democracy and freedom of speech by . . . documenting extremist and racist groups in society." Expo was undisguisedly the model for the magazine in Millennium.
During the last fifteen years of his life, Larsson and his life partner, Eva Gabrielsson, lived under constant threat from right-wing movements. But Stieg had a plan: He imagined a series of thrillers, collectively called Millennium, through which he would express his deep convictions and raise the public's awareness of the rise of extremism in northern Europe. "I will be a world-famous author," he told Eva, "and we will reach millions of people!"
At first, Millennium was supposed to be a ten-book series, but Stieg died of a heart attack in November 2004, just a few days after handing the first three volumes to his Swedish publisher. Stieg died without knowing that he had reinvented the crime novel genre and that his insights into the rise of extremism in Europe proved to be true, as evidenced by the tragic terrorist attacks in Norway in 2011.
Guillaume Lebeau, the author of a biography of Stieg Larsson, got to know some of the author's close friends. He also had access to unpublished pictures of the author, which are featured in Stieg Larsson, Before Millennium, along with a chronology of his life.
Guillaume Lebeau : Guillaume Lebeau, a thriller writer, screenwriter, playwright, and documentary filmmaker, has received several literary prizes, including the Cognac Festival of Crime Novel Prize in 1999 and the Grand Prix for science fiction in 2007. He is the author of two biographies, Le mystère Fred Vargas (Éditions Gutenberg, 2009) and Le mystère du quatrième manuscrit (Éditions du Toucan, 2008), about Stieg Larson’s unfinished fourth manuscript for the Millennium series. His latest effort, an eco-thriller called Le troisième pôle (Éditions Marabout) was released in November 2011.
Frédéric Rébéna : Frédéric Rébéna is the author of Marilyn La Dingue (Éditions Denoël Graphic, 2010), Le Corbusier, architecte parmi les hommes (Dupuis, 2010), and l’Attrape-livre, a tribute to the publisher Robert Laffont (Éditions 2011).