This is another yarn about the Mayan prophecy concerning the end of the world in 2012, a subject that either interests you or it doesn’t. I’m not particularly taken by it (the 2012 business, not the book itself). In this case, it’s largely a MacGuffin anyway, as Danielle Laidlaw, an operative for the National Research Institute (a sort of scientific version of the CIA) teams up with a scientist and a mercenary (a guy named Hawker, who’s a terrific character) to chase around Mexico looking for some legendary Mayan stones that hold some sort of secret having to do with a great power that can destroy the world.
There’s not much here you haven’t seen or read before, especially if you’re a fan of James Rollins, but there are some good reasons why BLACK SUN is well worth reading. Brown writes fine action scenes, a requirement in this genre, and as I alluded to above, he’s a good hand with characters as well. I especially liked the relationships between Danielle, McCarter (the scientist), and Hawker, which don’t always play out like you’d expect them to. Any time a writer can make me think, “I didn’t see that coming,” I’m impressed. I also liked the fact that although this is the second book in a series where I haven’t read the first one, I was able to pick up on everything very easily. Brown does a fine job of working in the back-story and making it seem natural. The scientific and historical background gets filled in without any obtrusive infodumps. Throw in plenty of well-paced adventure and a really evil, over-the-top villain, and I’m entertained. That’s the case with BLACK SUN. I suspect there’ll be sequels, and I’ll probably read them.