On the eve of a show trial, a Soviet dissident is stabbed through the heart
On a frigid night in silent Moscow, Aleksander Granovsky paces the floor of his government flat. He has dedicated his life to exposing the brutality of the Russian penal system, and in two days he will be tried for the crime of smuggling essays to the West. Granovsky is drafting a speech to deliver in court when an assassin appears and pierces his heart with the point of a rusty sickle.
The case falls in the lap of Porfiry Rostnikov, a Moscow police inspector whose three decades on the force have made him an expert in navigating the labyrinths of the Soviet bureaucracy. But it will take every ounce of Rostnikov’s skill to find the killer and survive the investigation, as every question he asks takes him closer to the heart of the KGB.