Themes of identity, faith, and redemption combine as a disillusioned KGB assassin and an insecure female U.S. diplomat track down an Ivy League professor running a prostitution ring in Ukraine. Anatoly Filatov is the "whiskey priest," a despairing Communist true believer, whose world comes crashing down with the collapse of the USSR. Jane Sweet is the foreign-service officer, a Ukrainian-American woman who discovers her identity, as both a woman and a Ukrainian, while liberating herself from her past. The action heats up as Filatov, who is a part-time hit man for the Russian Mafia, kills three American professors in Vienna. The fourth, a cynical Ivy League professor and Soviet émigré, Igor Bazarov, escapes to Kiev. The four professors stole millions of dollars from the Mafia and invested in a prostitution ring that exploits Ukrainian women. Filatov and Sweet pursue Bazarov throughout Ukraine, and, along the way, Filatov seduces Sweet. As the two close in on Bazarov, Sweet realizes she has been used-and plots revenge in a stunning conclusion.