Steve Berry, NYT Bestselling author, describes Saving Hope as “a tantalizing premise that toys with the most basic of emotions—a parent’s drive to save their child.”
In one of Siberia’s formerly closed cities, Alexandra Pavlova, an unemployed microbiologist, struggles to save her daughter’s life. When she turns to Vladimir, her oldest friend, for help, she’s drawn into Russia’s underworld. His business dealings with the Iranians come to the attention of Sergei Borisov, an FSB (formerly the KGB) agent. Alexandra finds herself joining forces with Sergei to stop the export of a deadly virus in a race to save both her daughter and the world.
Alexandra Pavlova jolted upright, her maternal senses snapping to alert. The garlic she’d placed about the room tinged each breath and settled on her tongue. From the overstuffed chair, she scanned the dark, finally focusing her attention on the small lump her daughter made under the pododeyalnik on the bed beside her. A shallow rasping sounded from below the linen coverlet.
She leaned forward from where she’d been keeping vigil and peeled back the blanket to caress Nadezhda’s forehead. For two days, she’d spoon-fed the girl warm broth and tea with honey and arranged garlic cloves to nurse her daughter through a bad cold. She stroked Nadezhda’s near-white curls from her thin face and yanked back her hand. The child’s skin had seared her fingers.
The girl cracked her eyes and winced. “Hot, Mommy. I’m hot.”
Her lids fluttered shut, and she drifted back into a too-deep sleep.
Alexandra bit her lip to stifle the cry. Her worst fear had been realized. Pneumonia. She knew the signs only too well after her mother’s own battle with the disease just a year ago.
As quickly and quietly as possible, she sped across the parquet hallway to her bedroom. In the doorway, she stopped and listened to Yuri’s steady breathing and compared it to their daughter’s ragged ones. She chewed her lip again as she debated whether to wake him. His recent unemployment had made his moods so unpredictable. She never knew whether he would lash out or cry in despair when he received bad news. A glance back to the other room determined her choice.
At his side, she again paused before placing a hand on his shoulder. His thin frame, so like Nadezhda’s, rose and dropped rhythmically beneath it. She jiggled his shoulder.
He shuddered and squinted at her. “Alexandra?”
“It’s Nadezhda,” she said, her voice low, but urgent. “She needs to go to the hospital. Now.”
He frowned. “Are you sure it can’t wait until morning?”
She twisted her hands behind her back, reading his thoughts in the lines on his forehead. Since Viru-Preparat dismissed him from his research position six months ago, they’d lived on their savings and the meager benefits the government gave them for Nadezhda’s disability. Between her mother’s and their daughter’s illnesses, they knew all too well how the medical system worked under the new market economy—emergency room, doctors, medicine. Fees. Fees. Fees. Yuri had to be adding it all up in his head.
She checked over her shoulder to the other bedroom, recalling the rattle with each of her daughter’s breath, and shook her head. “Her lips are blue. I lost my mother last winter because we waited. We can’t risk it.”
His gaze fixed on hers. She clenched her fingers tighter, waiting his response. The area around his eyes softened. “Go. Meet me at the door.”