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Ambassador Susanna Sloane was aboard an icebreaker traversing the Russian Arctic when Jean-Paul Dillman, the President of the European Union Commission, disappeared.  It was assumed that he had fallen overboard and was presumed dead.  She deeply mourned his loss and became a virtual recluse during the year that passed since the incident.  Her husband, Treasury Secretary Roger Howell, unable to accept her feelings for Dillman even in death, left.  Now Susanna is asked by the U.S. government to return to Russia to cancel the contract that would have led to the U.S. constructing an oil pipeline from Russia to Alaska.  The U.S. no longer needs the oil pipeline because of its discoveries of immense supplies of natural gas, which it intends to distribute domestically and secretly within Europe at a fraction of the Russian price.  Returning to Moscow she discovers that Dillman is alive and in the employ of the Kremlin.  After they resume their affair, Susanna learns that he had devised a plan that would have diverted a portion of the proposed pipeline to provide Russian gas to Europe.  She must find a way to thwart his scheme without revealing her government’s plans; and decide where her commitment lies, with him or with her husband.

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