A brand new present day thriller, set in the old Central Asian Republics of the USSR. The main character, Cairns, is an experienced courier working for the British Secret Service, who is sent into Sary Shagan, the centre of Russian Missile Defence research, in order to make contact with ‘Tamerlane’, the codename of a high level MI6 source in the Defence Ministry in Moscow – Tamerlane has acquired some explosive information that needs to be transmitted to the West immediately. Tamerlane is, in fact, a woman, Irina Malenkova, who has uncovered a plot in the Kremlin that will turn back the clock in Russia by thirty years or more.
Cairns and Irina are forced to go on the run after he rescues her from being arrested by the FSB (successors to the KGB). They are pursued by the FSB through the Central Asian Republics; their aim is to cross into Afghanistan where they will finally be out of reach of the FSB (which still forms the security service in the Republics). The chase is led by Colonel Krasnin, a senior officer in the FSB, who appears to be obsessed with catching Irina and Verenyev, a Chief Investigator in the Moscow police who is seconded against his will to assist Krasnin in the hunt – basically, Krasnin needs his considerable skills. As the chase unfolds, Verenyev becomes increasingly suspicious of Krasnin’s motives and actions, until he uncovers Krasnin’s true reasons for pursuing the fugitives. At that point, he has to make a decision that could cost him not just his career, but his life… and all the while, the pursuit is closing in on Cairns and Irina.