Without his wife and travel partner Robin, industrialist and urbane adventurer Mariner is part of an international team that has been called in to assist the Russians with Zemlya, their new floating nuclear facility. The incident that prompts Russian magnate Felix Makarov to summon help is the disappearance of Boris Gagarin, captain of the tug Ilya. Richard quickly teams up with Scotsman Colin Ross, a kindred soul who's also traveling without his usual companion, his wife Kate. Russian second lieutenant Vanya Vengerov, who's in charge of the Zemlya, responds to questions like a public relations pro, revealing in the process that there's been a series of little "accidents" setting back the project's progress. Members of the crew, which includes a good bit of eye candy apparently designed to occupy the foreign visitors, are similarly on message. The danger aboard is made painfully apparent when Vengerov's proximity to a Geiger counter sets it ticking madly before he collapses. Declaring the man radioactive, Richard takes quick charge, ordering the infected man whisked away to isolation, where he clings to life. Sabotage is indicated, though Captain Sholokhov remains suspiciously unflappable. Richard et al. are still adjusting to the new normal when an ice storm hits. Will Zemlya become Chernobyl afloat?
Another skillful mix of maritime adventure and mystery thriller from the prolific Tonkin (Red River, 2011, etc.), though series fans may miss the spousal banter of earlier episodes.