THE FIREBIRD AFFAIRcenters on the suspicious death of Emily, the beautiful wife of WASHINGTON TRIBUNE correspondent Todd Martin. In 1991, she collapsed over lunch with a friend in a Moscow restaurant. A massive heart attack, Moscow authorities said and the US Embassy concurred. They shipped her body home to the US, without Todd even being aware she had died. He was out of contact covering one of the conflicts flaring up as the Soviet Union disintegrated. But Todd has managed to rebuild his life; hes now the TRIBUNEs chess columnist, from time to time drifting in and out of depression. He has always been doubtful Emilys death was an accident. His estranged son Rick is certain his mother was murdered, and blames his father for failing to protect her. By 2002, Todd gets an opportunity to establish the truth after a Russian spy approaches the CIA wanting to defect. The spy reveals the existence of a KGB mole inside the US government. He also alleges that the KGB played a role in Emilys death by sneaking a psychotropic drug into her drink. Holz, the former Moscow CIA station chief, now a senior CIA official, offers Todd the chance to go to Moscow on a rogue mission to uncover the traitors identity. Todd undertakes the mission that leads him as well as Holz to confront wholly unexpected results. THE FIREBIRD AFFAIRexplores the consequences of duplicity and betrayal, in both Moscow and Washington. It revolves around the actual KGB-led plot to remove Gorbachev from power, capturing the drama of the last months of Cold War and the subsequent changes in our public life.