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As the Soviet Union deploys its new SS-20 missile, the US decides to counter by stationing its new Pershing II missile in West Germany. But many Germans are opposed to having the new weapons on their soil, a resistance the Soviet KGB decides to exploit, no matter who they must team with to halt the US deployment.
In Washington, NSC staffer Carter Cardwell is sent to find out what forces are at work and what the KGB is up to. He brings with him CIA Analyst Katherine O’Connor, an expert on the Soviet Union with whom he has a personal relationship. Meanwhile, the KGB decides upon a very risky and complicated approach to broaden German opposition against the arrival of the new Pershings. The KGB chief responsible for Western Europe, Dimitry Zhukov, takes personal charge of the Soviet effort. Carter, Katherine and Zhukov have confronted each other before, but now find they must work together before a nuclear confrontation spins out of control as both sides discover they have to confront dark forces from the past in order to create the conditions for a more peaceful future. Will they succeed? Or will nuclear terrorists upset the nuclear balance?