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Ten-year-old Russian piano prodigy, Alexis Koryavin, is completing his fifth year at the Institute for Gifted Children in Moscow, unaware that the school's hidden agenda is to train its students as espionage agents. General Petrov, former head of the KGB and current director of the Institute, has developed experimental tools of technology to help his students succeed in their future missions. When the general takes a personal interest in the boy's training, his renowned piano teacher, Nadia Rosenberg, hatches a dangerous plan to save Alexis by defecting to the United States.


In New York, as a new American citizen, he takes the name of Alex Courtland. Now a teenager, his extraordinary talent continues to open doors to Americas cultural, political, and philanthropic elite, and Alex's reputation as the premiere pianist of his time is secured. He reunites with Abby, now a beautiful, savvy young woman who was his childhood best friend at the Institute. But Alex questions Abby's commitment to their relationship when the overbearing influence of her father, the US ambassador to Russia, reveals a potential dark side in her ambitions.


As Cold War tensions increase between Russia and the United States, a series of explosive events unfolds, including a plot to sabotage Alex's celebrated concert at the newly renovated Colosseum in Rome. What is expected to be the artistic performance of Alex's career could instead end his life.

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"Strings gives a fascinating and illuminating glimpse into the intersections of global culture, politics, and privilege. Only a pianist and thinker of Daniel Grahams stature and experience could describe so vividly the importance and impact of artistic supremacy to the global community. In this volume, the storytelling makes the reader
an active participant."

Robert Blocker,  Professor of Piano, Yale University

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