In the spring, 1953, Danton Larionov, son of NKVD officer, Captain Volk Larionov, spies Ekaterina Soroka, the Ukrainian, herding sheep in the shadow of the Suzdal's medieval fortress. He intends to rape her, but she pauses him with a fairy tale beginning his time of troubles. Suzdal is now a GULAG. As Stalin's death convulses the Soviet Union, she holds him a bay with Russian tales. In the fall, she disappears, as if Koschei, the Deathless, has taken her. He vows to find her, and begins his journey through distant and strange lands to battle an implacable and cunning enemy armed with the most improbable and powerful weapons, the American soldier, Richard Belisle, hero of the first and second novels of The Long War Series.