As a microbiologist, I was trained in one of the best schools in Russia and had the privilege to work in the one of the government’s most secret and elite facilities. That is, until the fall of the Soviet Union. What can I tell you about the time after that? All the security we had known: a good, well-paid job; a nice apartment; and free healthcare—it all crumbled a bit at a time. Perhaps it had started long before that, but then, I was a child. My father had died in a fire in the same laboratory that I later worked, but because of the secret work he was doing, we never discussed it. Not even the honors he received after his death.
Then our daughter, Nadezhda, was born with a heart condition. Yuri, my husband, and I never knew why or how it happened. Only that she defied the odds and lived. We focused all our energy on getting her the health care she needed. Then Yuri lost his job, and Nadezhda caught pneumonia. If it hadn’t been for Vladimir….
But I get ahead of myself. Here is how Ms. Sherwood-Fabre started the story:
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 breaths and compared them 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 breaths, 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.”
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.
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