Four days in the life of Fluke Kelso (Daniel Craig, James Bond), a dissipated, middle-aged former Oxford historian, who is in Moscow to attend a conference on the newly opened Soviet archives. One night Kelso is visited in his hotel room by an old NKVD officer, a former bodyguard of the secret police chief, Lavrenty Beria. The old man claims to have been at Stalin's dacha on the night Stalin had his fatal stroke, and to have helped Beria steal the dictator's private papers, among them a black oilskin notebook. Kelso decides to use his last morning in Moscow to check out the old man's story, and becomes embroiled in a series of particularly nasty murders which seem to be getting closer to him. What starts as an idle enquiry in the Lenin Library soon turns into a murderous chase across night-time Moscow and up to northern Russia with only a few days left before ice seals off the forests of Archangel, where the final secret of Josef Stalin has been hidden for almost half a century.