This is a strongly dramatic and deeply moving story based on actual events. It traces the love affair of a beautiful Russian actress and an American Navy captain at the end of World War II. Their romance is brief but intense. We are shown a grim picture of life in wartime Moscow where KGB agents proliferate and most families live near the breadline. Zoya's family, in spite of her success, live in poverty - she is not paid Hollywood fees for her movies. Jackson Tate brings a new kind of love and hope to her life with its precarious balance of fame and hardship. Zoya's life seems on the threshold of true happiness for the first time. But the illusion does not endure: Zoya has repulsed the attentions of Stalin's henchman, KGB chief Lavrenti Beria, who has attempted to trade her father's release from prison for the satisfaction of his lust. Zoya is doomed: Her love affair with Tate has blossomed into a state of unofficial marriage, continued through clandestine liaisons. Though she attempts to be cordial to the distasteful Beria, she cannot be coaxed into his bed, setting the Soviet enforcer on a vicious path of revenge. Beria convinces U.S. Ambassador Harriman that Jack Tate's breach of diplomatic protocol endangers already strained U.S.-Soviet relations. On Beria's orders, Zoya is sent far from Moscow to entertain Red Army troops. Meanwhile, Beria deports Tate by spuriously accusing him of spying. The lovers' forced separation cannot have come at a worse time, for unknown to Jack, Zoya is pregnant. A letter from Jack telling Zoya of his deportation is intercepted by the KGB. Upon her return to Moscow, Zoya is devastated by Jack's sudden departure. Her subsequent refusal of Beria's order to have an abortion is regarded as treason. Jack makes every effort to return to Russia, but the CIA intervenes and Jack is re-assigned to the U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet. Meanwhile, Zoya has been imprisoned and her baby daughter sent with her sister's family into Siberian exile. Jack's letters, sent to Zoya via Ambassador Harriman's office, are handed to Beria. He forges Zoya's handwriting and tells Jack that she has married someone else and has had a child. Meanwhile there are harrowing scenes of life in a Soviet jail as the glamorous film star is broken by torture and interrogation. However, her courage, her will to survive and her longing for her daughter pulls her through. It is only after Stalin's death eight years later that she is released, whereafter she is joyfully reunited with Vikka, her eight year old daughter. The story of Vikka finding out who she is and about her father's exile, starts a search for Jack Tate. The journey takes her to several roadblocks. The Soviets refuse to grant her an exit visa, but that only fires her determination to beat the system. She succeeds in getting a letter to Jack. When Admiral Jack Tate discovers the truth and learns that Vikka is his daughter, he uses his influence and the White House intervenes. Vikka gets her exit visa, but Zoya is held as "ransom" in Russia. Vikka finally meets Jack, who shortly after their meeting suffers a heart attack and dies. She marries an airline captain and they settle in the United States. Zoya refuses to apply for an exit visa for fear that her sister and the children may suffer. A few years later, while Vikka uses American television to tell her story, Zoya is killed in her Moscow apartment.