Stringfellow Hawke is a freelance agent with the CIA.
A highly skilled helicopter pilot who earned a considerable number of medals and commendations for his actions and bravery during the Vietnam War, Hawke was content to leave the excitement and the danger behind when the war ended, even though that also meant losing the ability to search for his older brother and best friend, Saint John Hawke, who was also a pilot in that conflict but was listed MIA.
As the two-book series, or rather the television series from which the novelizations were drawn, commences, Hawke is nearing his mid 30's and is content to live in his rustic cabin high in the mountains of California though near enough literally as the eagle flies to Hollywood to be a pilot for his mentor and old friend, Dominic. This perpetually upbeat owner of Dominic Air, which ferries anyone needing a helicopter but specializing in television and movie work, helped raise the two Hawke brothers after their parents died in a boating accident.
Hawke has few interests outside his mountain retreat. He enjoys the solitude of living with just nature and his aging hound-dog. He plays the cello for relaxation and has a near-priceless Stradivarius on which to do it. And he has a fortune in rare artwork purchased by his grandfather many years before to please his grandmother. Hawke's hermitage is largely the result of a belief that those he loves will soon be taken from him, starting with his parents and then a few years later with his brother's disappearance. (The fact that his adopted father and friend, Dominic, has not died after all the years they have been together has obviously escaped him.)
When he was in Vietnam, he and his brother were seconded to work with a division of the CIA called the F.I.R.M., headed by Michael Coldsmith-Briggs III, codename Archangel. After the war and before he went to work for Dominic, Hawke had been a test-pilot for the company working for the F.I.R.M. to create the revolutionary helicopter named Airwolf.
The premise behind the television series, and thus the books, is that the creator of Airwolf, Doctor Moffet, had stolen the only prototype and fled with it to Libya where he was using it to grow rich blowing up targets that the dictator, Qaddaffi, wanted gone. This included an American destroyer off the North African coast. To get it back Archangel goes to the best pilot he knows for the job, Hawke. For his part, Hawke has no interest in getting back into any fray but finally agrees if Archangel will help find his lost brother.
After considerable trouble and the death of a fellow agent at the hands of Moffet, Hawke and Dominic manage to get their hands on Airwolf. When Archangel's promised information on Saint John proves less than informative, however, Stringfellow Hawke decides to keep the incredible aircraft. He hides it away in a desert mountain cave and brings it out only when a special mission interests him or he is further coerced by Anchangel or others.