It's 1986, and the United States and the Soviet Union are taking the first tentative steps toward perestroika - a sense of friendship and cooperation that has not existed between the two world superpowers for decades. It appears that the Cold War might actually be over.
Unfortunately, not everyone thinks that glasnost is a good thing. A fundamentalist faction within the Soviet government doesn't want the Cold War to thaw - they want it to heat up. Led by Barinsky, the radical head of the KGB, a group of separatists is making a last, desperate attempt to return the USSR to the control of the hard-line Communist regime by framing an American in a plot to assassinate the Soviet president and set off a chain of events that could very well lead to World War III.
Matthew Carter, a hard-nosed American journalist following a tip from an informant, has just arrived in Moscow to cover a story. He is hoping that this assignment will lead to the story of a lifetime. Instead, it leads him into the thick of Barinsky's plot. Now, instead of vying for a Pulitzer Prize, Carter is fighting to clear his name, get to the bottom of Barinsky's sinister plan, and - hopefully - get out of the Soviet Union alive.