Ameena Akhmatova, a Dushanbe-based police profiler whose husband Kirill was accidentally killed and whose four-year old son, Mahmood, struggles to accept Seljuk Kadyrov, a Tajik Military Police Investigator, as his mum’s tentative boyfriend. An attempt to abduct the child is foiled by Aunt Farida, Ameena’s child minder. Tariq Akhrameev, a warlord, biggame tourist operator and people smuggler, is blown up in the High Pamir to gain access to Haroon bin Musa, a Chinese Tajik dissident sheltered by him. Fateema Akhrameeva, once Seljuk’s love interest, is now linked with Edward Spender, an Irish-born mountain guide. Dilgoosha Nooratova, police superintendent, is doubtful of profiling and a believer in ruthless interrogation, in contrast to Rafiq Karimov, her nominal boss and onetime lover. Ahmed Shah Masood, not the late Afghan warlord but a Chinese Tajik, attempts to swap Kamal Abool Khalaaf, a closet strategist, for Haroon bin Musa which leads to a violent attack on Haroon’s hideaway at Fateema’s sister’s.