Black Sun: A Thriller Mass Market Paperback – Aug 31 2010
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“Sizzles with tension and twists.”
—Steve Berry, author of The Paris Vendetta, on Black Rain
“A terrific read . . . smart, intelligent, and poised to shake up the whole thriller community. I loved it.”—Linwood Barclay, author of Never Look Away
“Armchair travel for the adrenaline set . . . Brown infuses nonstop action with spiritual, scientific, and ideological elements without ever pausing for breath.”
—Sophie Littlefield, author of A Bad Day for Sorry
About the Author
Graham Brown is also the author of Black Rain and Black Sun. A pilot and an attorney, he lives with his wife, Tracey, in Tucson, Arizona.See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
So, Black Rain had a complete arc and came to a satisfying conclusion, but it was fairly obvious that the story would continue. In fact, it picks up two years later in Black Sun. Four of the surviving characters from Black Rain are back, and eventually they are united in a quest that involves the Mayan prophesy regarding December 21, 2012 and the fate of the world. Sigh.
Oh, sorry, did I sigh aloud? Just what we need, yet another 2012 thriller. (Do these things expire once that date passes?) Anyway, suffice it to say, despite the goodwill Mr. Brown had banked with his debut, I wasn't too enthused about the concept. I'll say this for him--he actually went somewhere quite interesting and different with it.
In Black Rain, I was delighted with Brown's use of exotic locations, ancient puzzles, and cutting-edge science. All of the above are back, and this time he adds a whole lot of sharks to the mix! (Oh, Mr. Brown, I think I love you.) Add sharks to any thriller and that's a winning recipe right there. As it happens, I'm kind of an expert on all things shark- and dive-related, and Brown does a reasonably good job with the material. Just when I'd think I was going to catch him writing something completely implausible, he'd add a little something or explain something that fixed it. He made his larger-than-life tale just plausible enough every step of the way. Nowhere was this more important than in dealing with the science in the book. There's a fair amount, from marine biology to astronomy, geology, and some really snazzy physics. I'm not an expert on all of those subjects, but I know enough to know when I smell a rat. Time and time again Brown sold it. He made me believe the science, and the science is the backbone of the story.
As mentioned above, we're dealing with characters we already know, but I'm honestly not sure if that's a plus or minus here. I think Mr. Brown used that familiarity as a short cut to character development. Picking back up with this cast after just a few months, it took a surprisingly long time to get a feel for who they were again. And I can't really say that I learned much more about them, or that their individual arcs moved forward very significantly. Of the antagonists, there were three different men of three different nationalities, and the primary baddie was just a bit too Bond villain for me. (Someone get a white Persian for Mr. Kang!) Fortunately, the other two were more believable in their motivations and their flaws. Finally, there was one especially interesting new character introduced latish in the book, and I was frustrated not to learn more about him. But the way the novel ends leaves me hopeful that we may see him again.
The story begun in Black Rain is now completely and satisfyingly resolved. But the door has been left wide open for further adventures with at least some of these NRI operatives. While I don't believe that this second novel was quite as strong as his debut, I had a rollicking good time reading it. Mr. Brown is writing science/adventure thrillers at a level head and shoulders above most of the field. I'm definitely on board for further adventures!
In this story, a strange, glowing, oval shaped stone has been unearthed in an ancient Mayan ruin and it is admitting electro-magnetic pulse signals on a regular basis that scientists realize is a count down to Dec. 21, 2012. The action in this film involves the finders of this first strange stone searching, racing to locate three other similar stones before the count down reaches zero and the legends and predictions of the ancient Mayan legends come to pass.
The Russians, Chinese and a Chinese Billionaire who thinks the stones will give him eternal life are also looking for the glowing stones. Naturally, things get pretty dicey and interesting. There are some rather fascinating, maybe even original scientific theories included in this tome, but they are explained in such a way as to not lose the reader.
The book includes the usual assumptions that various departments of all governments are competing with each other for more power. In this book it is the CIA verses the even more secret NRI--National Research Institute "a strange hybrid of an organization, often considered a science-based version of the CIA." The NRI has discovered and kept secret the discovery of the powerful ancient stone with strange powers. The President is aware of the mysterious discovery, but not the CIA. The CIA suspects that they are out of the loop and don't like it one bit.
This thriller contains very little political theory, but Ivan Saravich, an ex-KGB agent who is a freelance Russian agent in this story made a couple of observations gleaned from his work that are worth mentioning. "Saravich had come to the conclusion that any form of government would inevitably evolve into extensions of the elite. It was a natural progression; those who wanted power gathered it unto themselves. Those who craved equality lacked the ambition, ego, or selfishness to match up. And so the change.... With that in mind, he took to capitalism far more easily then he'd expected, even if he spent most his time working freelance for the same people who once gave him a government check."
"He was wealthier now, enough to retire five times over if he wanted, but he felt no desire to do so. As a widower with no children, no friends, and few outside interests, he saw little point in it. To him this was the curse of capitalism: Work was rewarding in a way few other things could be, and so it diminished everything else in its wake."
This page-turner is written in short chapters that allow the reader to keep reading at odd moments. It contains some interesting scientific theories that readers are unlikely to have come across elsewhere. It also contains most of the information that is known for certain about the events predicted for the end of the Mayan Calendar on Dec. 21, 2012. The belief that it will be the end of the world is only one of several possible explanations put forth in Mayan history. The reader will also get an up close and personal primer on the behavior of Hammerhead Sharks. This is nice escapism.
This book is an intense, thrilling, gripping good read.
As we approach 2012 (and maybe pass it, depending on when you read this review) there have been numerous stories about the end of our planet. In some ways, "BLack Sun" falls right in line with them, however the story is able to create a fresh science-fiction take on the meaning of the calendar. While it does require to suspend belief in a few scientific concepts, for the most part, Black Sun" works.
Graham Brown writes the store with a brisk style and is able to deliver believable characters. "Black Sun" is a fun ride, and while it does require you to suspend belief at times, it is a worth a look. It is clean cut and if it was made into a movie it would be rated "PG" and while this may not be the perfect story for your Thursday night book club, but for a weekend at the beach it will certainly help you pass a few hours in the sun.
Black Sun picks up where Black Rain left off. Unfortunatly, if you have not read Black Rain, I think you would be a bit lost through the first third of the book. Brown eventually does recap the events of the first book in pieces, but you would be better off starting with Black Rain and then deciding whether or not you want more.
I will spoil a bit of the first book here, so if you decided to buy the first one and read it before getting to this one, stop right here.
As you may recall from the first book, our motley crew of NRI adventurers discovered a powerful stone in a Mayan ruin that was guarded by monsters. The stone was determined to be from the future and was producing energy in a sort of countdown fashion to December 21st 2012, the date believed by some to be the end of the world.
In this book, it has been determined there are three other stones. Danielle Laidlaw and Professor McCarter are working again with NRI to find them. On their heels is a Hong Kong billionaire criminal who is trying to get the stones for his own purposes. After Laidlaw is captured she is taken back to Hong Kong where she meets a strange boy with a connection to the stones and is eventually rescued by a newly activated Hawker (another hero from the original) and off they fly for another jaunt around the world.
Like the first book there is political intrigue, action on top of action and nuggets about Mayan culture. Yet, the book is not nearly as tight as Black Rain. While Black Rain was able to paint that picture of the Amazonian jungle, the heroes dart around the globe too much to ever get a good feel.
The silliness has also been ramped up, especially when trying to understand what the stones actually are. Furthermore, at one point Hawker fights a guy in what is essentially the Iron Man suit. Really.
It isn't a bad book by any stretch, it is a quick easy read and has enough action to keep things moving forward. But it is a disappointment in comparison to the original.