1961. The height of the Cold War. Just hours before work begins on the Berlin Wall, a KGB assassin and his young wife flee for the West before the Iron Curtain comes down and traps them in the East forever.
This gripping story of real-life espionage and intrigue began when the Soviets invented a special weapon that killed without leaving a trace and put it in the hands of Bogdan Stashinsky. It is a tale of exploding parcels, fake identities, forbidden love and a man who knew the truth about the USSR's most classified programme. By the time Stashinsky had his day in court, the whole world was watching.
Serhii Plokhy is the Mykhailo Hrushevsky professor of Ukrainian history at Harvard and the director of the university's Ukrainian Research Institute. A leading authority on Eastern Europe, he is the author of several books including The Last Empire, which won the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize in 2015. He lives in Arlington, Massachusetts.