In St. Petersburg, beside the glittering court life of the Romanovs, the Russian people are seething. It is not only the Bolsheviks but also the new tycoons profiting from the booming economy and the more aggressively ambitious aristocrats who are impatient with the idle, incompetent Romanovs. Pyotr Ryzhkov, probing the murder of a child prostitute, suddenly finds his enquiries deliberately hampered. As the investigation widens, financiers, policemen, government officers, foreign diplomats, and even the minister of justice seem to be involved in an ever-larger circle of fraud and violence. Then a killing gives Ryzhkov the final clue and leads to a desperate journey to Serbia.