The book pits President of Russia, Ivan Ivanovitch, and his reckless grab for power, against the CIA's best operative, Sam Mountain, whose mission is to prevent World War III. The melting of ice along Russia's northern borders and a rapidly developing new Northern Sea Route from China to the West presents an opportunity to solidify the president's power, secure Russia's future energy needs, and make Russia the preeminent world power. Ivan Ivanovitch proposes the Plan and entices China and four other countries to join him. He knows that if things go wrong, it could mean World War III, but if he can rule Russia as Ivan the Great, the rewards are worth the risks. It is to China's advantage to join him in the Plan as the Northern Sea Route will save millions in fuel costs in lieu of traversing the Horn of Africa and coupled with the South China Sea becoming a new Lake Beijing would lessen if not eliminate United States influence in the region. There are additional issues for both powers in the Pacific Rim concerning islands and lands not settled by treaty as to ownership after World War II and fueled by new discoveries of oil, gas, and other minerals.
Impacting the Plan are two Romania orphans with a special bond and an agenda of their own who were brutally mistreated and abandoned to the streets of Budapest as children after the fall of the communist government in 1989. Lustin Ardelean, the Russian, becomes Ivan Ivanovitch's personal assassin in eliminating all opposition to his presidency and is later to lead the Northern Army. Anton Lupu, the Wolf, uses the assassin money to buy oil product ships and build an empire by sale of stolen oil from Nigeria bunkered in Hong Kong. Natasha Ivanov as the Russian's lover adds further twists and turns that produce a deep but easy and exciting book to read.