The violent death of a journalist leads agent turned art-restorer, Gabrial Allon to Russia. Here he finds that in terms of spycraft, even he has something to learn. He's playing by Moscow rules now.
It is not the grim Moscow of Soviet times, but a new Moscow, awash in oil wealth and bulletproof Bentleys. A Moscow where power resides once more behind the walls of the Kremlin and where critics of the ruling class are ruthlessly silenced. A Moscow where a new generation of Stalinists are plotting to reclaim an empire lost and to challenge the global dominance of their old enemy, the United States.
One such man is Ivan Kharkov, a former KGB colonel who built a global investment empire on the rubble of the Soviet Union. Hidden within that empire, however, is a more lucrative and deadly business. Kharkov is an arms dealer – and he is about to deliver Russia's most sophisticated weapons to al-Qaeda. Unless Allon can learn the time and place of the delivery, the world will see the deadliest terror attacks since 9/11 – and the clock is ticking fast.