Black Sun

Owen Matthews

416 pages July 2019 copies in English Original publisher: DoubledayCrime Fiction

“Welcome to Arzamas-16.  The city that doesn’t exist.”

It is the dawn of the 1960s.  Alexander Vasin, a HGB Major in the department of “Special Investigations”, travels across the Soviet Union to Arzamas-16, a city that does not appear on any map.  He has been sent to investigate the gruesome death of a young physicist.

There, he finds a scientific community of eccentrics, patriots, and dissidents who’ve been ordered to build the most powerful atomic bomb ever made.  It is a project of such vital national important that unlike their fellow Soviet citizens, they have the freedom to think, act, live, and love as they wish.

Some of them, it seems, even believe they can get away with murder.

Owen Matthew’s thriller is based on an incredible sequence of true events and inaugurates a major new series set in Moscow in the early 1960s featuring Alexander Vasin, a homicide detective seconded, against his will, to the KGB.



“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

“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