It is September 1939. The Second World War has begun. Even as the fighting rages in Poland, Stalin's long time obsession with the missing treasure of Tsar Nicholas II is rekindled when an informant in an isolated Gulag, deep in the wastes of Siberia, offers - in exchange for his freedom - to reveal the location of Colonel Kolchak, the man entrusted by the Tsar with hiding his gold from the Bolsheviks. No sooner does news of the informant's offer reach Stalin's ears than he learns that the informant has been knifed to death. Stalin summons Pekkala to the Kremlin and orders him to solve the murder. To accomplish his mission, Pekkala must return to Borodok, the same notorious Gulag where he spent many years as a prisoner. There, he must pose as a prisoner in order to unravel the mystery. Pekkala returns to a world of nightmares he remembers all too clearly from his last visit to Borodok. Many of the faces have changed, but the brutality of Gulag life has stayed the same. Even if Pekkala does locate the Tsar's missing treasure; he is unlikely to survive to tell the story.