When Doctor Fyodor Dyatlov accidentally discovers a hidden piece of paper within a ruined frame of a painting, he immediately becomes entangled in an international criminal conspiracy. Its the Soviet Union, 1977. Decades before the incredible adventure of Giles, Michael, and Francis, the story of Vasilys youth in the Ural Mountains begins. Fyodor Dyatlov successfully secures this transfer and transports his family to an ancient cathedral town on the slopes of the eastern Ural Mountains, Verkhoturye. It is a dream come true for his eldest daughter, Galina. Being a strong, young spiritual girl, she often dreams of the far-off magical forests filled with elusive wonders and strange beings that stretch endlessly across the Soviet Union.
Still a frontier town, the locals are hardy people. Forged to endure the hardships of the land. The town remains secluded, and relishes being forgotten by the outside world. As outsiders, the newly arrived Dyatlov family finds it initially challenging to adjust and find their place in a rural society, split three ways between the farming community, town folk, and the mysterious Woodlanders. Bit by bit, they become accustomed to their new life, and Galina sparks up a new friendship with a local Woodland boy, Vasily Ivanov.
For Fyodor, the mystery of the discovered piece of paper leads him to follow a trail of questions that leads to the irrefutable conclusion that the fatal demise of the previous Doctor was not an accident, but murder. The suspense grows as Fyodor uncovers chilling coincidences, one at a time, as he edges perilously close to revealing a dark local conspiracy whose hidden, unseen chain stretches globally. So close he gets to exposing the truth that his investigative endeavours are quickly discovered, and his very life is threatened to keep the clandestine operation undiscovered.
As a shadowy stalking doom closes in on her father, Galina accidentally uncovers a secret scheme from the Local Council, which plans to profit from a vast deforestation of the region. Her mother, Viktoriya, is promoted in the Council and is personally placed in charge of executing this secret plan. Appalled by the fate awaiting her beloved forests, an unbearable anxiety grows within Galina. She quickly joins forces with Vasily to stop the wanton assault on the forests. As a result, Galina is presented with a terrible choice thrust upon her: ultimately compelling her to choose between the forests and her family. Either path leads to terrible conclusions, and her tortured final decision results in an even darker end for the Dyatlov family.