The year is 1931 . . .
In a remote valley in the Bavarian Alps, the Germanic students of those eugenicists seek to uncover the secret of the Juke and the promise of the Übermensch. In Paris, Dr. Andrew Waggoner enters his third decade of unravelling the mystery of the elusive organism. Jason Thistledown, now a veteran pilot of World War I, gets ready to embark on a new career flying mail and passengers in North Africa and, he hopes, forget the profound horrors that have shaped him.
Soon, they will all have to reckon with one other: a terrible synthesis of those horrors, which moves among humanity with an inexorable and terrible purpose—obliterating and reshaping that humanity until there is only one thing left:
A young bride and her future mother-in-law risk everything to escape it. A repentant father summons help from a pot of tar to ensure it. A starving woman learns from howling winds and a whispering host, just how fulfilling it can finally be.
Can it be love?
But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.
It is the 1990s. The Cold War is long finished. In a remote Labrador fishing village, an old woman known only as Babushka foresees her ending through the harbour ice, in the giant eye of a dying kraken–and vows to have none of it. Beaten insensible and cast adrift in a life raft, ex-KGB agent Alexei Kilodovich is dragged to the deck of a ship full of criminals, and with them he will embark on a journey that will change everything he knows about himself. And from a suite in an unseen hotel in the heart of Manhattan, an old warrior named Kolyokov sets out with an open heart, to gather together the youngest members of his immense, and immensely talented, family. They are more beautiful, and more terrible, than any who came before them. They are Rasputin's bastards. And they will remake the world.