Chris Kuzneski

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Chris Kuzneski
Chris Kuzneski at Frederik's Church.jpg
Born (1969-09-02) September 2, 1969 (age 49)
Indiana, Pennsylvania
United States
EducationMaster of Arts
Alma materUniversity of Pittsburgh
GenreAction-adventure, Action-thriller, Adventure, Mystery, Thriller, Techno-thriller
Notable worksThe Plantation
Sign of the Cross
Sword of God
The Lost Throne
The Hunters

Chris Kuzneski (born 1969) is a New York Times best-selling American author.[1] His books have been translated into more than 20 languages, have been published in more than 40 countries, and have sold millions of copies.[2] His latest book, The Prisoner's Gold, won the Thriller Award for the 2016 Book of the Year at a gala hosted by the International Thriller Writers (ITW) in New York City on July 9, 2016.[3] His works have also been honored by the Florida Book Awards and named a Literary Guild's featured selection.[4] In 2015, the Malta Tourism Authority invited Kuzneski to Malta in order to thank him for mentioning their country in his books.[5]

Biographical sketch[edit]

Born in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Kuzneski currently lives in Tampa, Florida. In fourth grade, he wrote The Monster Cookbook, which so impressed the librarian that it was bound and placed in the school library.[6] He played football at the University of Pittsburgh where he received his undergraduate degree in writing and his master's degree in teaching. While studying at Pitt, he wrote for The Pitt News, the Indiana Gazette, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. From 1992 until 1998, he taught English and coached football in two western Pennsylvania school districts and was selected to Who's Who Among America's Teachers. However, he knew he wanted to be an author, so he left teaching and started working on his first novel, The Plantation.[2]

Payne & Jones (series)[edit]

Kuzneski's first seven novels (and also his ninth) follow the adventures of Jonathon Payne and David "D.J." Jones, former members of the MANIACs—an elite Special Forces unit in the U.S. military. Although the main characters are ex-soldiers, the novels are not “military” thrillers. Instead, they are often compared to the works of Clive Cussler and James Rollins. Kuzneski's thrillers are known for their action, adventure, and humor.

His fourth thriller, The Lost Throne, was released in the UK in 2008 and peaked at #5 on the British fiction chart. Putnam released the American hardcover in July 2009. It won the Bronze Medal for Popular Fiction at the Florida Book Awards, America's most comprehensive state book awards program.[7] The American paperback reached The New York Times mass-market bestseller list in July 2010.[8]

His fifth thriller, The Prophecy, was published in the UK in October 2009 and climbed to #4 on the British fiction chart. Putnam released the American hardcover in July 2010.[citation needed]

His sixth novel, The Secret Crown, was released by Penguin UK on September 30, 2010 and within two weeks rose to #10 on The Times bestsellers list.[9] The American hardcover was released on January 12, 2012.[10]

Kuzneski's seventh novel in the series, The Death Relic, was released by Penguin UK on September 29, 2011 in paperback and Kindle formats, debuting at #9 on the London Times bestseller list.[9] The American version was published in hardcover on January 10, 2013.[11]

The eighth novel in the series, The Einstein Pursuit, was released in the UK on August 29, 2013 by Penguin UK. The American version was released on September 16, 2014.[12]

The Plantation (2002)[edit]

In cities across America, people of all ages are being taken by force. But these aren’t random kidnappings. They are meticulously planned and executed with a singular objective: revenge. Ariane Walker is one of the victims, dragged from her apartment while leaving few clues behind. Her boyfriend, Jonathon Payne, and his best friend, David "D.J." Jones, follow the trail to New Orleans. Together, the duo slowly uncovers the shocking truth behind the South's most violent secret: the Plantation.[13]

Sign of the Cross (2006)[edit]

Payne and Jones are recruited to find Dr. Charles Boyd, an archeologist who recently found the Catacombs of Orvieto, the safe haven for the popes of the Middle Ages. While Boyd avoids pursuit, a series of victims turn up dead, people who were tortured and crucified like Jesus Christ on his final day. All the incidents are interconnected, but it's up to Payne and Jones to figure out the common thread and why they were selected to solve the puzzle.[14]

Sword of God (2007)[edit]

Off the coast of South Korea, a young boy discovers a cave that is bathed in human blood. Less than a week later, everyone in his village disappears. In Saudi Arabia, a female archaeologist unearths an artifact that threatens the historical foundation of Islam. To some Muslims, it is a discovery that must be silenced at all costs. Meanwhile, an American soldier is brutally killed while interrogating one of the world's most dangerous terrorists. Payne and D.J. Jones, his former commanders, offer to spearhead the investigation. They quickly realize that there is more to this than terrorist reprisal; there is a plot in motion that will burn the world in the fires of a holy war.[15]

The Lost Throne (2008)[edit]

The Meteora monasteries are built atop the towering cliffs of central Greece. Holy Trinity is the most isolated, its brotherhood the guardians of a long-forgotten secret. In the dead of night, an elite group of warriors carrying ancient weapons hurl the silent monks to the rocks below – the holy men taking their secret to their graves. Halfway across Europe, a terrified academic fears for his life. Richard Byrd has nearly uncovered the location of a magnificent treasure. But there are those who have dedicated their lives to protecting it, and they will stop at nothing to prevent its discovery.[16]

The Prophecy (2009)[edit]

When the writings of 16th-century visionary Nostradamus ring alarmingly true, Payne and Jones find themselves in a life-or-death race to stop those who would use the French seer's predictions for their own dark purposes. In an adventure that spans two continents and several centuries, Payne and Jones must locate a sacred text that may change everything we know about the future.[17]

The Secret Crown (2010)[edit]

In 1886, King Ludwig II of Bavaria is declared insane by his government and forcibly removed from the throne. A day later, Ludwig's corpse washes up in the shallows of Lake Starnberg. Rumors swirl about the tragedy, but few know why the eccentric king was really killed—and what secret was silenced by his death. In present-day Germany, hidden amongst the crates in a recently discovered World War II bunker are documents stamped with an elaborate black swan, the insignia of the murdered king. According to legend, Ludwig had stockpiled a massive treasure in the years before his death, a cache of gold and jewels that would finance the construction of the largest castle of all time. Some believe the treasure was the real reason Ludwig was killed, but in the years since his death, no one has found any evidence that Ludwig had hid anything. Payne and Jones agree to investigate the black swan documents and quickly find themselves in a life-or-death struggle to uncover the truth about Ludwig's murder and the possible existence of the mythical treasure.[18]

The Death Relic (2011)[edit]

Vanquished by the Spanish Empire, little remained of the Aztec and Mayan civilizations. From the ashes of their cities, a unified legend emerged: the Christians possessed a mysterious object, an artifact so powerful—so deadly—that it was known in the Americas as “the death relic.” When Maria Pelati's research team disappears in Mexico, she calls Payne and Jones, who embark on a perilous mission to find the missing archaeologists. The duo quickly finds a link between the group's work and its recent disappearance. Following the clues left behind, the duo tries to find her team by solving one of the darkest mysteries of the New World.[19]

The Einstein Pursuit (2013)[edit]

Working in secret, an acclaimed group of scientists has developed a radical new approach to modern medicine that could change everything we know about the human body and its limitations. But such knowledge does not come without risk. When their laboratory is attacked, it becomes clear that someone will stop at nothing to keep this research from reaching the masses. As more details come to light, investigator Nick Dial realizes the attempt to bury the experiment might have exposed a hidden collective of the world's greatest minds. What's more, this group has been operating in the shadows for more than a century, founded by none other than Albert Einstein himself. Payne and Jones soon find themselves drawn into the mystery. On a collision course with the man behind the massacre, the duo must follow the history of scientific discovery in order to stop a villain determined to use modern advancements to create his own vision of the future—a future where he alone controls who may live and who will die.[20]

The Hunters (series)[edit]

The Hunters series follows the adventures of a team of renegades – an ex-military leader, an historian, a computer whiz, a weapons expert, and a thief – financed by a billionaire philanthropist. The team is tasked with finding the world's most legendary treasures. The first book in the series, The Hunters, was released by Headline in the UK on January 3, 2013 accompanied by a YouTube trailer.[21] The Hunters was released in America on November 11, 2014.[10] It climbed to #1 on Amazon's suspense and thriller lists on January 23, 2015.[9]

The second book in the series, The Forbidden Tomb, was released in the UK on April 24, 2014 and in the US on March 1, 2015.[9] It climbed to #1 on Amazon's action, crime, and thriller lists on September 10, 2015.[9]

The third book in the series, The Prisoner's Gold, was released in the UK and the US on October 8, 2015.[22] It won the Thriller Award for the 2016 Book of the Year on July 9, 2016, at a gala hosted by the International Thriller Writers (ITW) in New York City.[23]

The Hunters (2013)[edit]

Fearing a German victory in World War I, the Romanian government signed a deal with Russia to protect the country's treasures. In 1916, two trains full of gold and the most precious possessions of the Romanian state—paintings, jewelry, and ancient artifacts—were sent to the underground vaults of the Kremlin. But in the turmoil of war, the Romanian treasure was scattered and lost. The collection is now valued at over $3.5 billion. Despite several attempts to find it, its location has remained a mystery...until now.[24]

The Forbidden Tomb (2014)[edit]

For nearly two thousand years, the legendary tomb of Alexander the Great—and the extraordinary riches concealed within—has remained undiscovered, but recent events may hold the key to locating the fabled vault. Only one team has what it takes to solve the mystery that has plagued historians for centuries. The Hunters are tasked with finding the tomb. Following clues to Alexandria, they encounter hostile forces that will do anything to stop them. Before long, the treasure hunt becomes a deadly rescue mission that will take the lives of hundreds and leave a city in ruins.[25]

The Prisoner's Gold (2015)[edit]

At the end of the 13th century, Chinese Emperor Kublai Khan gave an Italian merchant unfettered access to his kingdom. The traveler was Marco Polo, and his journey would become legendary. Aided by a special passport that protected him throughout the land, Polo amassed unbelievable wealth and hid it before his return to Italy. To this day, the location of his treasure remains a mystery. The Hunters are tasked with finding the missing fortune. Guided by firsthand accounts of Polo's travels, they quickly discover there are hostile forces willing to do anything to stop them from taking the riches from Chinese soil. Before long, the treasure hunt becomes a deadly game of cat-and-mouse that will rewrite history while taking the lives of many.[26]

The Hunters: Origins (series)[edit]

The Hunters opens in the middle of a daring heist as four strangers attempt to steal an important relic from Russian mobsters. Jack Cobb, Sarah Ellis, Josh McNutt, and Hector Garcia prove their worth by breaking into a heavily guarded compound in Brooklyn's Brighton Beach while being attacked by an army of goons and chased by the FBI. But how did this foursome meet? That's the basis of The Hunters: Origins.

Before the Storm (2016)[edit]

The first novella in The Hunters: Origins focuses on the team leader of the Hunters. After his unexpected discharge from the U.S. Army, Jack Cobb finds it difficult to adjust to civilian life. He flies to Florida to meet with some of his contacts at MacDill AFB, but he is denied entry because of the scandal that ended his military career. Thankfully two of Cobb's closest friends (Jonathon Payne and David Jones) come to his rescue. Braving an approaching thunderstorm and some of the worst beach music they've ever heard, their tales of adventure do more than cheer him up. They open Cobb's eyes to an opportunity that will change his life forever.[27]

The Hunters movie[edit]

On April 16, 2014, Chris Kuzneski announced via his website and Facebook page that the rights to The Hunters had been optioned by Piers Tempest and Jo Bamford for their new production venture, Tempo Productions. Mark Huffam (Prometheus), Don Carmody (Chicago), and Peter Veverka (A Good Day to Die Hard) have joined the producing team.[28] John Moore has signed on to direct The Hunters, and the screenplay is being written by Robert Mark Kamen.[29] On July 1, 2014, Reg Poerscout-Edgerton was announced as casting director for the film.[30]


Payne & Jones series

  1. The Plantation (2002)
  2. Sign of the Cross (2006)
  3. Sword of God (2007)
  4. The Lost Throne (2008)
  5. The Prophecy (2009)
  6. The Secret Crown (2010)
  7. The Death Relic (2011)
  8. The Einstein Pursuit (2013)

The Hunters series

  1. The Hunters (2013)
  2. The Forbidden Tomb (2014)
  3. The Prisoner's Gold (2015)

The Hunters: Origins series

  1. Before the Storm (2016)


  1. ^ New York Times
  2. ^ a b "Author biography at". Archived from the original on 2010-08-07. Retrieved 2010-08-05.
  3. ^ "International Thriller Writers – 2016 Thriller Awards". Retrieved 2016-04-09.
  4. ^ Roth, Heather (2010-07-18). "Kuzneski enjoys hectic life of novelist". Indiana Gazette. Indiana, PA. Retrieved 2010-08-06.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Alex, Adam. "Malta is about to become the hot setting for America's latest crime bestsellers". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  6. ^ Koma, Debra Martin (September 2001). "Thrilling Book". Pitt Magazine. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved 2010-08-06.
  7. ^ Forum magazine (Summer 2010)
  8. ^ "Mass-Market Fiction Bestseller List". The New York Times. August 8, 2010.
  9. ^ a b c d e "Chris Kuzneski – News". Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  10. ^ a b "Chris Kuzneski – News". Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  11. ^ "Chris Kuzneski – THE DEATH RELIC was officially released... – Facebook". Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  12. ^ "Chris Kuzneski – I've got good news & bad news. The good... – Facebook". Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  13. ^ "Chris Kuzneski – The Plantation". Archived from the original on 2016-01-19. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  14. ^ "Chris Kuzneski – SOTC". Archived from the original on 2016-01-19. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  15. ^ "Chris Kuzneski – Sword of God". Archived from the original on 2016-01-19. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  16. ^ "Chris Kuzneski – The Lost Throne". Archived from the original on 2016-01-13. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  17. ^ "Chris Kuzneski – The Prophecy". Archived from the original on 2016-01-19. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  18. ^ "Chris Kuzneski – The Secret Crown". Archived from the original on 2016-01-19. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  19. ^ "Chris Kuzneski – The Death Relic". Archived from the original on 2016-01-19. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  20. ^ "Chris Kuzneski – The Einstein Pursuit". Archived from the original on 2016-01-19. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  21. ^ THE HUNTERS by Chris Kuzneski – Official Trailer. 28 November 2012. Retrieved 9 January 2016 – via YouTube.
  22. ^ "Chris Kuzneski – The title for the third book of the... – Facebook". Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  23. ^ "International Thriller Writers – 2016 Thriller Awards". Retrieved 2016-04-09.
  24. ^ "Chris Kuzneski – The Hunters". Archived from the original on 2016-01-19. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  25. ^ "Chris Kuzneski – The Forbidden Tomb". Archived from the original on 2016-01-19. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  26. ^ "Chris Kuzneski – The Prisoner's Gold". Archived from the original on 2016-01-19. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  27. ^ "Chris Kuzneski - Before the Storm". Retrieved 2016-12-27.
  28. ^ "Chris Kuzneski – Cast & Crew". Archived from the original on 2016-01-19. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  29. ^ "Cannes: John Moore To Helm 'The Hunters'; Adaptation By 'Taken's Robert Mark Kamen". Deadline. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  30. ^ "Chris Kuzneski – Movie". Archived from the original on 2016-01-19. Retrieved 9 January 2016.

External links[edit]