'One of the best thrillers of recent years . . . a glorious book, a tour-de-force. It drips with authenticity from every page . . . a page-turning, thumping good read.' David Young, bestselling author of Stasi Child
1961. Hidden deep within the forests of central Soviet Russia is a place that doesn’t appear on any map: a city called Arzamas-16. Here a community of dedicated scientists, technicians and engineers are building the most powerful nuclear device the world will ever see – three thousand times more powerful than Hiroshima.
But ten days before the bomb is to be tested, a young physicist is found dead. His body contains enough radioactive poison to kill thousands. The Arzamas authorities believe it is suicide – they want the corpse disposed of and the incident forgotten. But someone in Moscow is alarmed by what’s going on in this strange, isolated place.
And so Major Alexander Vasin – a mostly good KGB officer – is despatched to Arzamas to investigate. What he finds there is unlike anything he’s experienced before. His wits will be tested against some of the most brilliant minds in the Soviet Union – eccentrics, patriots and dissidents who, because their work is considered to be of such vital national importance, have been granted the freedom to think and act, live and love as they wish. In Arzamas, nothing can be allowed to get in the way of the project. Not even murder . . .
Intricately researched, cunningly plotted and brilliantly told, Black Sun is a fast-paced and timely thriller set at the height – and in the heart – of Soviet power.
"This thrilling and suspenseful and original thriller of murder and power is a compelling voyage into the darkest secret city of the soviet nuclear project by an expert on all of Russian life."
OWEN MATTHEWS worked as a war correspondent in Bosnia, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Iraq and Ukraine and was Newsweek magazine’s bureau chief in Moscow from 2006 until 2016. He has written several works of non-fiction including the critically-acclaimed Stalin’s Children and An Impeccable Spy. Black Sun is his first novel. He lives in Moscow and Oxford.