A Wild Herb Soup by Emilie Carles

Black Sun by Owen Mathews

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LONDON SUNDAY TIMES BOOK OF THE MONTH Black Sun by Owen Matthews It is 1961, nine days before the test of a huge new Soviet nuclear bomb. A KGB major, Alexander Vasin, arrives in Arzamas-16 — a place that does not exist on any map — to investigate a murder that officialdom does not believe happened. The dead man is Fyodor Petrov, the son of a Moscow bigwig and a brilliant scientist who had been working at Arzamas-16, a hidden community of scientists and engineers, building a nuclear device. While they have been given an unusual degree of freedom, paranoia and fear are never far away. The local authorities claim that Petrov killed himself with radioactive thallium, but the dogged Vasin is unconvinced. Professor Adamov, the chief nuclear scientist, is keen to dismiss the idea of murder because the test day looms for a bomb that could shift the Cold War in the Soviet Union’s favour. Vasin’s few allies in his investigation include a rebellious scientist who was in love with Petrov, and Maria Adamova, the chief scientist’s erratic young wife. Vasin’s own life is tangled too; his wife has discovered his affair with the boss’s wife. Matthews explains in a historical note that his stunning debut is based on a true story. The dissident physicist Andrei Sakharov in the early Sixties helped to design “the most powerful weapon ever created by mankind.” Matthews was Newsweek’s bureau chief in Moscow and his expertise is clear throughout. His marriage of fact and fiction is masterly. Bantam, 336pp, £16.99 This 2018 Bantam Press Paperback is in Very Good condition.

ISBN: 9781787631830 SKU: 1229885 Note: Any image shown is from a stock photo and is not the actual book.