"Rostnikov is quite simply the best cop to come out of the Soviet Union since Martin Cruz Smith's Arkady Renko in Gorky Park." --San Francisco Examiner Crime in post-communist Russia has only gotten worse: rubles are scarce, blood, plentiful. In the eyes of Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov and his metropolitan police team, new-found democracy has unleashed the desperation that pushes people over the edge, and has emboldened those already on the path to hell. A trio of nasty cases confirms their worst fears. Deputy Inspector Sasha Tkach must find the murderous thieves who have terrorized an impoverished neighborhood. His blood-stained quarry turns out to be a gang of brothers, aged seven, nine, and eleven years old. Policewoman Elena Timofeyeva joins the tax police in a raid on a house filled with Czarist treasures, worth billions of rubles. The next day every last relic and work of art has disappeared without a trace. And relentless Inspector Emil Karpo will not rest until he finds the Mafia beasts who killed the only woman he has ever loved in a bloody drive-by shooting--Karpo intends to punish them his way. Playing by the shadowy rules of their superiors, and playing against time and the odds, Rostnikov and company have their hands full upholding the law--and holding onto something they can believe in--in a country wracked by political change and its powerful consequences.