The organized criminal gangs of the former Soviet Union are bound by what they call the thieves' code. The first rule is this: A thief must forsake his mother, father, brothers, and sisters. He must have no family - no wife, no children - because only other criminals are his family. If any of the rules are broken, it is punishable by death.
Frank Meyer had the American dream - a wife and family he adored, a successful business - until the day a professional crew invaded his home and murdered everyone inside. The only thing out of the ordinary about Meyer was that - before the family and the business and the normal life - a younger Frank Meyer worked as a professional military contractor, a mercenary, with a man named Joe Pike. Frank was one of Pike's guys, and they faced death together in every rotten hellhole around the world.
The police think Meyer was hiding something very bad, because previous home invasions by the crew had targeted only criminals with large stashes of cash or drugs. Pike cannot believe it, and with the help of Cole, he sets out on a hunt of his own: to clear his friend, to punish the people who murdered him.
A trail that at first seems relatively simple, however, very quickly becomes complicated, as the two of them find themselves entangled in a web of ancient grudges, blood ties, blackmail, vengeance, double crosses, and cutthroat criminality, and at the heart of it all, an act so terrible even Pike and Cole have no way to measure it.