April 1945: Freddie Middlewell, captain of a British warship, and Soviet spy Major Katya Shepilova are drawn into the the Second World War’s most treacherous enterprise – the official collaboration between British intelligence the NKVD, forerunner of the KGB.
After a deadly voyage across freezing Arctic seas to Murmansk, Freddie – a famous Hollywood screenwriter before the war – is summoned to the Kremlin by Josef Stalin, an unlikely cowboy movie buff.
Using Stalin’s invitation as cover, he works secretly with Katya to investigate black market corruption among Russian and British intelligence chiefs in Moscow.
With Lavrenty Beria – the Soviet Union’s Himmler – watching their every move, Freddie and Katya unearth a much more disturbing conspiracy to smuggle a secret weapon with enormous destructive capability out of occupied Germany. As the action shifts back to Britain, Freddie and Katya realise the balance of post-war power is in danger of shifting in a sinister direction. In an atmosphere of intensifying paranoia, they must track down ruthless and elusive enemies to prevent the destruction of an unthinkable target, with unimaginable consequences.
HMS Belfast, which escorted Arctic convoys,
and the Lubyanka, headquarters of the NKVD