The dark goddess, an Ice Age madonna or Venus of the Paleolithic, is a small, mindblowing statuette (say about as big as a Maltese falcon) and the earliest known human art object to depict the twin faces of woman as creator and destroyer, darkness and light, and so on. More to the point, Moira Rhalles, an American archaeologist, has disappeared from the depths of a French cave where just such a Venus figure (forged?) was found--or was said to have been found. Moira is the wife of Adviser Alexander Rhalles, the US president's closest intimate. Fact is, the KGB has kidnapped Moira as part of an enormously elaborate scheme to milk information from her husband if he wishes to keep her alive. The world thinks she is dead. But KGB agent ""Jorgen"" (mid-sixties, recent heart attack) regularly delivers tapes to Rhalles from his wife in exchange for tapes about the president's plans. Rhalles is an iceberg-like genius whose only feeling is for his wife, and he puts her safety before treason. But the CIA has a man searching for her. She's locked up somewhere in a dark tower--the complement of her husband's ivory tower--and the CIA agent must find the forger of the Venus figure to find where Moira is hidden. A crisscross of live wires in the archaeological underworld.