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.
“Don’t run off, Alexandra Alexandrieva. You won’t get very far without these,” he said in a low voice.
He straightened himself and dangled the ring from one finger in front of her face. His slight smile suggested her attempt to get away amused rather than annoyed him. “Besides, I’m not going to hurt you.”
“I thought you were someone else,” she said, glancing down at the hand still on her arm.
He let go.
“Your acquaintance Kamovski, perhaps? Or maybe Ahmed, Vladimir’s friend?”
She squinted at him, trying to make out his features in the hallway’s half-light. “Who are you?”
“So rude of me. Borisov, Sergei Andreivich, at your service,” he said, giving a short bow. “I work for the FSB.”
She swallowed hard, trying to keep her face still and hide her shock. The KGB by any name still made her stomach jerk in fear. “I’ve done nothing.” Her level voice didn’t betray her racing heart. “What interest would federal security have in me?”
“We’ve been watching you for a while.”
“You’ve mistaken me for someone else.”
“Pavlova, Alexandra Alexandrieva. Born August 16. Widow of Yuri Ivanovich Pavlov. Daughter, Nadezhda Yuriyevna Pavlova, currently spending the night with her grandparents. Shall I continue? We do have the right person. You caught our eye some time ago. As soon as you left your job at the Institute.”
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