During the last few days there have been a number of blog reviews of The Seven Keys. This makes me happy every time around. Here is a selection:
”Finally catching one’s breath after the story’s breakneck speed, one is struck by the author’s afterword, which really had me thinking in light of the numerous IT scandals of late. Maybe time for politicans and the general public to wake up!”
”5 points out of 5.
I warmly recommend this book. A really frightening, fast-paced thriller, full of believable characters. No dull stretches; the plot develops page by page. This is an incredibly exciting, top-notch, rather different thriller, and with a plot that may turn out to be for real. Read it!”
”This book is thrillingly exciting and offers some interesting insights into our everyday IT security. Can anything be hacked? Our cars, our lawn mowers, our pacemakers? Not to mention our mobiles, our iPads, and our laptops? Is there any integrity at all on the Internet?”
”This is an easy-to-read, well-written, exciting thriller. The short chapters contribute to the fast pacing. Totally in my taste.”
”In light of all the recent IT scandals, The Seven Keys is both topical and thought-provoking. It is far more than just ‘entertainment’! Also, I believe that the thoughts put forth by the author in her afterword are very sensible. We should indeed think a lot more about digital security and be a lot more source critical as pertains to what we read, and share, on the Internet!”
— Fru E:s böcker
”Then there is this thing for which I love the author and the book a bit extra. On two occasions (to which I reacted) the author openly questions the norm of gender roles. To turn the norm around and write ‘male police officer’ instead of ‘police woman’, which is the common way of distinguishing between police officers of different sexes, and to pen in the prejudice that dads out and about with their babies are homosexual nannies, not just dads (since they are supposed to be the bread-winners), is simply fantastic.
This is definitely a winner from the first page to the last.”
— Annas fotnoter
”The main strength of The Seven Keys is how very realistic the novel is. There actually are seven persons around the world who’ve got a key each to the Internet (and one of them is a Swedish woman), and if a nation or a terrorist organisation would get hold of those keys and take over the Internet, the consequences would be disastrous. Our society is dependent on the Internet for food supplies, logistics, healthcare, information, and communication. It is a breathtaking thought that the most important functions of society are so dependent on the Internet that if it would malfunction for any major period of time, we would face very serious problems.”
Review in a Swedish magazine about popular fiction, DAST:
A REAL PAGE-TURNER
Rebecka Reté is an IT security consultant, just like Åsa Schwarz herself, and as she is awakened by a gun to her head in the middle of the night in her flat in Stockholm, a couple of masked men try to force her to hand over a key for which she must be prepared to sacrifice her life. The key is in her safe and together with six other keys around the world it gives one access to the root – the very foundation – of the Internet. Rebecka is one of seven key holders and to get into the root zone and change or activate various Internet functions, one has to have at least five of the keys.
The intrusion into Rebecka’s home sets off a chain of events which quickly develops and forces her to make use of her IT and hacker know-how in order to protect herself and her family, while at the same time, together with others, trying to find out who is out to ge the seven keys and why. In an afterword, Åsa lists ten points exposing our and our societies’ vulnerability. ”Ten points,” she states, ”which, if they were implemented, I am convinced would make our country safer, more secure, and more robust.”
Besides being an IT security consultant, Åsa Schwarz is a seasoned author. She has written a fast-paced thriller where no one is what they appear to be and where you can trust no one. The novel is, in spite of its subject, an exciting page-turner!
Read it – and do not skip the afterword!
— Ulf Broberg
The Seven Keys was reviewed in daily newspaper Hallandsposten:
INTERNET UNDER ATTACK IN THRILLER
Author Åsa Schwarz has a B. A. in computer and systems sciences and works as an IT security consultant. Thus, when she writes a thriller about hackers, we may rest assured that she knows what she is writing about.
The Seven Keys is a frightening, very fast-paced thriller. It centres around a world-wide attack targeting the seven people who hold the keys to the Internet. Once a quarter these seven persons meet in Washington to uppdate the system making traffic on the Internet possible. This is of vital importance for the Internet – and thus modern society – to function.
One of the key holders is Swedish Rebecka. She succeeds in escaping her attackers and go into hiding. Eventually she gets in touch with two other key holders who have also managed to stay alive. Now the hunt for the cyber terrorist begins. The clues are pointing every which way – to Chinese intelligence services, to neo-Nazi organisations, and to the NSA. Who is friend and who is foe? Whom can you trust?
At the same time, Rebecka is facing other, more personal problems. On her husbands computer she finds evidence of him being unfaithful. He has brought the children to a safe house, but how safe is it really? The enemy seems to be continually one step ahead.
There is no dearth of conflict in this thriller. When one believes the very worst to have happened and relaxes a bit, there is the next punch in the face. This is all incredibly exciting and one’s brain has to struggle to figure out possible solutions to the mystery. The plot is so well constructed that only bits and pieces of the truth seep through and the turning points keep one on edge all the time.
An extra plus for Rebecka not being the Lisbeth Salander type, but about forty and a married mother of two, who has, to be sure, been a hacker in her youth but who didn’t suffer a difficult upbringing and who doesn’t hate society. She only wants to do her best to stop the keys to the Internet from ending up in the wrong hands.
One of the real-life seven key holders actually is Swedish. There is a short documentary about her on YouTube (in Swedish). Watch it!
— Annika Bengtsson
My hacker thriller The Seven Keys is being released today. When I wrote the afterword last spring, I knew that the message was an important one. I wanted it to be heard, somehow. Our society is fragile and rests on digital infrastructure which is far from safe.
Our government bodies, county councils, municipalities, and many of our companies are vulnerable. Sweden and many other countries could easily be the target of massive Internet blackouts and would then be at a standstill. Copious amount of information may end up in the wrong hands. Yet few seemed interested or able to understand the magnitude.
Then came the summer of the Swedish Transport Agency. Two government ministers and the board had to resign. Director general Maria Ågren was convicted of careless handling of secret intelligence. Suddenly everyone was talking about cyber security in Sweden. Thus, here is an easily accessible thriller with a very important message: we have to get the digital security upgraded. When you’ve read The Seven Keys, ask the political party you’ll vote for in the next election what they’re going to do to strengthen cyber security in your country.
The Seven Keys is today – 21 August, 2017 – released simultaenously in Sweden and Denmark. It is available in hardcover, as an audio book, and as an ebook.
You may now read my thriller short story CENTR, dealing with the power over the Internet. This is a short story, a work of fiction, but it was inspired by one of the most burning questions in the history of the Internet, today more burning than ever.
The United States of America has agreed to release control of ICANN, which handles the address register of all top domains. In other words, the address register is for example needed for directing internet traffic to the right country. In order to release control, the United States of America has posed certain conditions, to be fulfilled before September 2015. The question is… what happens if these conditions are not fulfilled?
I wrote the short story in the spring of 2015, on commission from .SE, in order for it to be mailed to the members of Centr, the European organisation for top domains, before a conference at Sheraton Stockholm Hotel, 1st – 3d of June, 2015.
I own the copyright and the short story might be distributed freely, provided that no changes are made.
Click HERE to download the story as a PDF file.
“Set in Stockholm, this thriller plunges us into a mystery of biblical origins but modern implications. Nova Barakel is an ecowarrior whose focus on the greenhouse effect and corporate responsibility compels her to commit vandalism. She inadvertently becomes the prime suspect when she stumbles upon the scene of a grisly murder during a politically motivated spray painting spree. In an attack on another front, her cohorts unleash a phone virus intended to cripple the next target on their Dirty Thirty list of environmentally dangerous corporations. Several more killings, shadowing the environmentalists’ gargets, implicate the ecogroup as modern Nephilim, descendants of stowaways on Noah’s Ark. Who are the Nephilim and what is their intention? Nova becomes an unwitting participant in their ancient machinations.
Verdict: Already a major sensation in Europe, this is Schwarz’s first novel to be released in the United States. Schwarz is a trained security consultant whose IT background shows in the novel’s technical details. Inevitably compared to Stieg Larsson, Schwarz is sure to find her own place alongside the other Nordic suspense masters.”
Library Journal has the highest circulation of any librarianship journal — approximately 100,000.
My thriller Nephilim, Kindle edition, is now available in the U.S. of A. and Europe at Amazon.com.