Black Sun

Owen Matthews

320 pages July 2019 Primary Agent: Toby Mundy Associates Original publisher: DoubledayCrime Fiction

On behalf of: Toby Mundy Associates

“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.”
– Simon
Sebag Montefiore, New York Times bestselling author of Stalin

There are some authors who have gone out into the world to observe the good, the bad and the ugly. Owen Matthews is such a novelist. Black Sun is fascinating and has fearsome authenticity.”
Frederick Forsyth

For fans of Red Sparrow and Child 44 comes a chilling and cinematic thriller set in 1961 in one of the most secretive locations in Soviet history. Ten days before the test of largest nuclear device in history, a KGB officer must investigate the murder of one of the architects of the bomb, and unravel a conspiracy that could set the world on fire.

It is the dawn of the 1960s. In order to investigate the gruesome death of a brilliant young physicist, KGB officer Major Alexander Vasin must leave Moscow for Arzamas-16, a top-secret research city that does not appear on any map.

There he comes up against the brightest, most cutthroat brain trust in Russia who, on the orders of Nikita Khrushchev himself, are building a nuclear weapon with 3,800 times the destructive potential of the Hiroshima bomb. RDS-220 is a project of such vital national importance that, unlike everyone else in the Soviet Union, the scientists of Arzamas-16 are free to think and act, live and love as they wish…as long as they complete the project and prove to their capitalist enemies that the USSR now commands the heights of nuclear supremacy.

With intricately plotted machinations, secrets and surveillance, corrupt politicos and puppet masters in the Politburo, and one devastating weapon, Owen Matthews has crafted a timely, terrific, and fast-paced thriller set at the height–and in the heart–of Soviet power.



‘It’s hard to believe this is Matthews’ debut because – for my money – it’s one of the best thrillers of recent years, or indeed of any year. A glorious book, a tour-de-force. It drips with authenticity from every page and yet the author’s encyclopaedic knowledge of the Soviet Union – from his impressive journalistic pedigree – doesn’t get in the way of a page-turning, thumping good read. It’s not just up there with Robert Harris, Tom Rob Smith and Martin Cruz Smith, but better – by some distance. It’s the first of a trilogy and hard to see how Matthews will top this, but I’ll be first down the bookshop to see if he can.’”
David Young, author of Stasi Child 

“A stunning debut. Matthews writes enviably well and knows Soviet Russia inside-out. Fantastic.”
–Charles Cumming, New York Times bestselling author of The Trinity Six