Alex Romanov of the KGB and Adam Scott, formerly of the British Army, are in pursuit of an icon that was once the property of Czar Nicholas II. Romanov is told by his superiors that recovery of the icon is vital to Russia’s national interest, whereas Scott simply wants this potentially valuable legacy from his deceased father. Neither is aware that hidden within the icon is a document that could alter the balance of power in the world: a paper revealing that the American purchase of Alaska in 1867 involved a provision allowing Russia to recover the area upon payment of $720 million in gold.
Each man develops a personal stake in the possession of the icon. Adam Scott’s father was unfairly forced to leave the army after Hermann Goering committed suicide while under Scott’s charge. The icon, a bequest from Goering, would thus serve to compensate Scott and his family for the earlier wrong. Romanov discovers, while searching for the icon, that his father left him a fortune in jewels concealed in a Swiss bank. For Romanov to acquire the gems, however, he must find the icon and thereby secure his professional future. Romanov is utterly ruthless and has command of a vast network of agents to help him, while Scott must elude not only Romanov but British and American agents as well. Fortunately for Scott, he is not only in excellent physical condition and fortunate in those to whom he appeals for assistance, but also capable of world-class prevarication. Jeffrey Archer has produced a work of riveting power that will grip the reader from the first to the last page.