A Russian General is murdered. But why? And, more importantly, what has happened to his thumb? Viktor Slutsky, a young police lieutenant, is sent to investigate it. So, independently, is Nik Tsensky, a former military interpreter. We read in parallel their two stories as they travel across Europe, pawns in a much more complex game than they could possibly suspect. On the way they meet Sergey, a larger-than-life hit-man and hearse-driving sociopath, who has somehow acquired a deaf-and-dumb blonde girlfirend and a tortoise to whom he becomes devoted (a worthy anthropomorphic successor to Misha the Penguin, eponymous hero of his previous novel). As the two investigators gradually close in on the secret, they become involved in a battle between the Russian and the Ukranian secret services over the fabled KGB "Red Gold". Another brilliantly inventive black satire which will both enlighten and entertain.