Senka Skorikov, orphan and urchin, has been abandoned to the murky world of Moscow's gangster district. While picking a pocket or two, he glimpses the most beautiful woman he has ever seen, and joins the gang of her overlord lover, The Prince, so desperate he is to meet her. Senka climbs the criminal ranks, uncovering a stash of precious metal, and gradually capturing the heart of his beloved Death - so named for the life expectancy of her lovers. But as the bandit community balks at his success on both fronts, threats on his life begin to pour in .
A dandy and his 'Chinese' sidekick seem to be taking an inordinate interest in Senka's welfare, and it becomes clear that those threatening Senka are linked to a spate of murders, grizzly even by underworld standards. Fandorin must unweave a tangled web of narcotics, false identities and organised crime - but can he survive an encounter with the ever-alluring Death unscathed? Find out in the darkest Fandorin to date!