Martin Ainsworth is a British barrister.
He is a very good one, well known throughout the City and not without attention in the rest of the country, he is sought after when the case in court is tricky and a superb, agile mind is needed. He also is lucky in that he enjoys his work. Though he had yet to find the right woman, he was happy.
And then British Intelligence came calling.
They would not want much but it would take Ainsworth back, first in his memories and then physically, to the gray days and grayer lives of Berlin. Back before WWII as a young student, Ainsworth had spent the year 1935 living and studying in Germany and though he was more interested in his studies, and the young Frauleins, he could not help but notice the heavy weight on the country brought by the Nazi party and the hatred they held of everything not them.
He was sorry to leave some of the people he had grown to admire and perhaps, in some ways, love but he was hardly that unhappy to leave the sense of foreboding that permeated everything. Now nearly three decades later, the part of Germany that the Security Services were asking him to revisit lay under the harsh and still gray control of the East German Communist Party.
Ainsworth is certainly not a spy and does not want to be one in any capacity but the chance to renew a friendship with an old acquaintance, one that might have grown to more than friendship, brings him into a world quite different from the one he deals with in his day-to-day law practice.
In a couple of the novels that would come after his initial adventure, his experience in the cloak and dagger world would be of use, either in solving a problem or advising others. Ainsworth learns that once in that world of subterfuge and skulking, you never really get away.