Moscow, December 1938: Josef Stalin has lost some gold, and instructs his henchman Beria to track it down. London, September 1940: above the city, the Battle of Britain rages, and the bombs rain down. On the streets below, DCI Frank Merlin and his officers investigate the sudden disappearance of Polish RAF pilot Ziggy Kilinski while also battling and epidemic of looting unleashed by the chaos and destruction of the Blitz. Kilinski's fellow pilots, a disgraced Cambridge don, Stalin's spies in London, members of the Polish government in exile, and a ruthless Russian gangster are among those caught up in Merlin's enquiries. Sweeping from Stalin's Russia to Civil War Spain, from Aztec Mexico to pre-war Poland, and from Hitler's Berlin to Churchill's London, a compelling story of treasure, grand larceny, treachery, torture, and murder unfolds. Eventually, as Hitler reluctantly accepts that the defiance of the RAF has destroyed his chances of invasion for the moment, a violent shoot-out in Hampstead leads Merlin to the final truth—and Stalin to his gold.