Russian-American professor Nicholas Krylov encounters a host of unusual characters while doing summer research on the 2018 World Cup Football Games to be held in multiple Russian cities.
A serious stray dog problem threatens to derail the Games in Yekaterinburg (Catherine Town). Head city veterinarian Dr. Ivan Krastov is devising new methods to capture and kill or train and adopt the strays. He is also trying to modernize the city's animal control services to prevent danger to the visiting sports fans. Nicholas learns that Dr. Krastov is working on the side to create a new species of dog, the latest specimen that walks upright and talks. Th is success has generated high-level Kremlin support for his research, especially for its applied uses to save the prestigious Games from bad publicity.
But Krastov's success has also attracted jealousy and animosity. His program is threatened, along with his and Nicholas's lives. The threats come from violent animal rights groups…but also from people in Krastov's own animal control facility, colleagues who are trying to steal Krastov's ideas and methods.
During his stay Nicholas has befriended police inspector Simon Petrovsky, as well as Anna Irtenev, a professor from the university where he is doing his summer research. Together they fight back against those trying to derail Krastov…if they can survive long enough to succeed.