Black Sun

Black Sun

4.3 21
by Graham Brown
     
 

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From Graham Brown, co-author of the New York Times bestselling thriller Devil’s Gate with Clive Cussler, comes Black Sun . . .

In the heart of the Amazon, NRI operative Danielle Laidlaw makes an incredible discovery: a translucent Mayan stone generating massive waves of energy while counting down toward the

Overview

From Graham Brown, co-author of the New York Times bestselling thriller Devil’s Gate with Clive Cussler, comes Black Sun . . .

In the heart of the Amazon, NRI operative Danielle Laidlaw makes an incredible discovery: a translucent Mayan stone generating massive waves of energy while counting down toward the infamous apocalyptic date: December 21, 2012. And somewhere, there are three more just like it.

What power will be unleashed if all four stones come together? Who created them—and who has them now? Using a cryptic Mayan map and a prophecy that points to the end of the world, Danielle and her team race toward answers. But one staggering question remains: Were these artifacts meant to save us—or to destroy us once and for all?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780553592429
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/31/2010
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
257,139
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.86(h) x 1.04(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Black Sun

A Thriller
By Graham Brown

Bantam

Copyright © 2010 Graham Brown
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780553592429

Chapter One


Southern Mexico, December 2012

Danielle Laidlaw scrambled up the side of Mount Puli?mundo, sliding on the loose shale and grabbing for pur?chase with her hands as much as her feet. The frenetic pace of the ascent combined with the thin mountain air had her legs aching and her lungs burning. But she could not afford to slow down.

Thirty-four years old, attractive, and athletic, Danielle was a member of the National Research Institute, a strange hybrid of an organization, often considered a science-based version of the CIA. That they were currently searching for the truth behind an ancient Mayan legend seemed odd, but they had their reasons. The fact that another armed group was trying to stop them told Danielle that those reasons had leaked.

She glanced back to one of the men climbing with her. Thirty feet downslope, Professor Michael McCarter struggled. “Come on, Professor,” she urged. “They’re getting closer.”

Breathing heavily, he looked up at her. Imminent exhaustion seemed to prevent a reply, but he pushed forward with renewed determination.

She turned to their guide, a twenty-year-old Chiapas Indian named Oco. “How much farther?”

“We must get over the top,” he told her, in heavily accented English. “It is on the other side.”

A few minutes later they crested the summit. McCarter fell to his hands and knees, and Danielle pulled a pair of binoculars from her pack.

They stood on the rim of a volcanic crater. A thousand feet below lay a mountain lake with a small, cone-shaped island bursting upward at its center. The island’s steep sides were thickly wooded but unable to disguise its volcanic nature. Yellowish fog clung to it, drifting downwind from vents and cracks.

“Is this it?”

Oco nodded. “Isla Cubierta,” he said. Island of the Shroud.

Danielle studied it through the binoculars. If Oco was right, this place would be the key to finding what they were searching for: a Mayan site that legends referred to as the Mirror, a reference to Tohil, the Mayan god of fire, who wore an obsidian mirror on his forehead. It was a symbol of power and might, and if Danielle, McCarter, and the NRI were correct, a symbol of far more than that. But so far the Mirror had remained hidden. To find it they needed help, help that supposedly existed on the Island of the Shroud.

“Are you sure?” she asked.

“The statue is there,” he insisted. “I saw it once. When I came with the shaman. He told me that the time was coming, the time when all things would change.”

Danielle scanned the terrain. To reach the lake required a hazardous descent, down a steep embankment of loose and crumbling shale on the caldera’s inner cone. It would be rough, but much easier physically than the climb they’d just completed.

She tied her hair into a ponytail to let the breeze cool her neck, then settled her eyes on McCarter. He’d managed a sitting position now, though his chest still heaved and fell. His loose linen shirt was open; the T-shirt he wore underneath was drenched in perspiration. Sweat poured down his face, leaving brackish, salty trails on his dark skin.

McCarter was in good shape for a sixty-year-old university professor. And they’d brought only small packs and limited supplies, having discarded all else in the name of speed. But three days of constant hiking and climbing had taken its toll.

“Ready?” she asked.

He looked up, clearly in a state of unreadiness.

“It’s all downhill from here,” she promised.

“I’ve been hearing that load of tripe since I turned forty,” he said, between breaths. “And so far nothing has gotten any easier.” He waved her on. “Go. I’ll try to catch up.”

McCarter and Danielle were an unlikely team, but they’d formed a bond two years earlier, when Danielle had recruited him for an expedition to the Amazon. Things had started well enough, but in the depths of the jungle everything had gone horribly wrong. By the thinnest of margins, the two of them and a very few others had survived.

In the aftermath of that mission, Danielle had quit the NRI and McCarter had gone back to New York to teach. At the time, he had seemed far more likely to sue the organization than to ever work for it again, but in answering to his own curiosity he’d agreed to do just that. Despite her own reasons not to, Danielle had rejoined as well, in hopes of protecting him. The way she figured it, she owed him that much. He would never have heard of the NRI if she hadn’t recruited him. After eight months in the field and several close calls, including a car bomb and two shootings, she wasn’t about to leave him now.

Besides, her only chance of returning to Washington, D.C., and the semblance of a normal life she’d been building was to finish this job and deposit McCarter safely back in New York.

“We stick together,” she said. “Besides, you’re the expert here. You’re the one who needs to see this. All we have to do is get down there before them, learn what we need to know, and follow the lake out.”

“And what happens when they catch us?”

“They want the statue. They’re not going to chase us.”

She extended a hand, which McCarter eyed suspiciously before reaching out and grasping.

She helped him to his feet and the three of them went over the side, skidding and sliding and running where they could. As they reached the bottom, she could hear shouting far up above. Their pursuers had come to the crest.

“Hurry,” she said, racing across the last ten yards of solid ground and diving into the cold mountain lake.

When they were halfway across, gunfire began cracking from the ridge. Shots clipped the water around them and she dove under the surface and kept kicking until she could no longer hold her breath.

She came up shrouded in the sulfurous mist. McCarter and Oco surfaced beside her.

The gunfire had ceased but another sound caught her attention: a distant rhythmic thumping reaching out across the mountains. It was the staccato clatter of helicopter blades, somewhere to the east. Apparently their enemies had a new trick in store.

“Where is it?” she asked Oco.

He pointed toward the summit. “At the top,” he said. “Hidden in the trees.”

They climbed the steep angle of the island’s slope, using the trees as handholds. They found the statue at the dead center. A great block of stone with the outline of a man carved into it, a Mayan king in full regalia. In his right hand he carried what looked like a net holding four stones. In his left was an orb of some kind. Hieroglyphic writing was scrawled across the bottom and a great snake twisted across the top, with its large open mouth stretching down as if to devour the king with a single bite.

“Ahau Balam,” McCarter said, reading the title glyphs. “The Jaguar King. Spirit guide of the Brotherhood.”

Oco, who was of Mayan descent, fell silent in awe. McCarter did likewise.

Danielle was more concerned with the danger closing in on them. From the sound she guessed that the helicopter was no more than three minutes away and that the men behind them had to be scrambling down the cliff by now.

“We need to get this information and disappear,” she said. “What do you see?”

McCarter studied the writing, eyes darting here and there. He touched one glyph and then another. He seemed confused.

“Professor?”

“I’m not sure,” he said.

The sound of the helicopter lumbered closer, growing into a baritone roar.

“We have two minutes,” she said. “Maybe less.”

He shook his head in disbelief. “There’s no story here. No explanation. It’s mostly just numbers.”

“Dates?”

“No. Just random numbers.”

Her mind reeled. She couldn’t believe what he was saying.

“Maybe if I—”

She cut him off. “No time.”

She pulled out her camera, snapped off a shot, and then checked the screen. The stone was so weathered that the glyphs didn’t come out clearly. She took another from a different angle, with a similar result. There just wasn’t enough definition.

The helicopter was closing in. She could hear the men on foot shouting as they came down the caldera’s embankment.

“It’s not clear enough,” she said.

McCarter stared at her for a second and then tore off his shirt, dropped to the base of the statue, and pressed it up against the raised hieroglyphs. Holding it there with one hand, he began rubbing fistfuls of the volcanic soil against the surface of the shirt. Oco helped him.

Continues...

Excerpted from Black Sun by Graham Brown Copyright © 2010 by Graham Brown. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet 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.

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Black Sun 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
MarkTwo More than 1 year ago
Graham Brown writes with a cinematic flair that matches that of the giants (Rollins, Cussler, Reilly, etc.) This is a fresh, adrenaline pumping take on the 2012 apocalypse! The characters are well written, and you find yourself pulling for these wonderfully flawed people. Give it a shot, but I suggest you read Black Rain first. You will NOT be disappointed!
PatriciaCO More than 1 year ago
Ok, ok, I know the 2012 prophecy has been done TO DEATH, but never like this! Hidden ancient relics around the world, unbelievable results when they are unleashed on the world. A young Russian boy, the tragic victim of his governments scientific experiments and, as Danielle Laidlaw and Hawker learn, an innocent thrust into the middle of the end of the world...or is it? Black Sun grabs you from the first pages with the story of young Yuri and how he winds up lost to the Russian Government only to end up in the hands of a maniac. We move quickly into action and intrigue where Danielle ends up kidnapped by the same maniac that holds young Yuri. In a desperate bid to free her, Danielle's mentor Arnold Moore defies a direct order from the President of the United States and finds Hawker to rescue Danielle. Reckless adventure ensues with a rescue, an extra passenger, finding an old friend, deep sea diving, sharks, boat chases, a crazy man in a mechanical suit, plane crashes, a little romance...you name it you will probably find it in this great book! This is a globetrotting adventure that grabs you at the start and won't let go until you've read every last word! It is a MUST READ if you have read Graham Brown's first book Black Rain: A Thriller and if you are at all a fan of the Clive Cussler type of adventure books. Trust me, if you've read or heard anything about the "end of the world" prophecies of 2012 the way this adventure ends is an unexpected twist on the old tale like you've never seen or heard before! I can't wait for the third book (The Eden Prophecy) to come out in January and also highly anticipated is his Clive Cussler collaboration on Devil's Gate in November. I could definitely see these two books (Black Rain and Black Sun) becoming blockbuster big Hollywood movies! Hollywood are you listening?
VLDVD More than 1 year ago
I have read this book for my third time, and I always see things I missed. You can't put this book down as it keeps you reading. I have read Graham Browns book other book Black Rain (which I have read twice). Graham Brown keeps you captivated. Excellent Author.
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Fast paced like the first novel but to me it seemed like black rain was better. Enjoyed nevertheless. Adding author to my list of regulars.
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bridget3420 More than 1 year ago
Graham Brown really knows how to provide suspense and thrills! I inhaled this book, with its satisfying plot and character expression, it's a readers dream.
PSF More than 1 year ago
If Black Sun is anything like Black Rain - I know it will be excellent. I'm not one for this genre, Mayan ruins, digs, etc. but Black Rain held me from beginning to end. I'm looking forward to curling up in my chair and reading Black Sun.