Bob Danforth is an agent with the CIA.
When we first meet him it is 1971 and he is a Captain with the U.S. Army stationed in Athens, Greece. He is very happily married to Liz and is the proud father of a two-year old boy named Michael. His career path seemed set and he was pleased with how his life was, if perhaps a bit too work-oriented to suit his spouse. Then a horrible old-wives' tale of Gypsies stealing babies comes terribly to life and Michael is snatched from his back yard while his mother is distracted by a woman selling rugs at the front door.
What follows that is several weeks of agony for both parents and frustration at governments that say they want to help but would rather not shake already shaken relationships. Danforth, with some help, takes matters into his own hands. Getting his son back means making an illegal foray into neighboring Bulgaria resulting in gun play and death but Michael is recovered.
Danforth's military career is at an end. He is unofficially asked to resign, being told his chance of promotion beyond captain was nil. In nearly the same breath, his commanding officer informs him that a fellow wants to talk to him about a new job, this one being with the CIA.
This traumatic adventure is recounted in the first part, really a novella, in the first book. The next recorded operation takes place 28 years later when Danforth, now in his late 50s and a senior official with the Agency is again drawn back to Greece and the nearby conflict in the former Yugoslavia. We also meet a now fully grown and impressive member of the military, son Michael, a man who will continue on his own career path but who on more than one occasion crosses that of his father.
As the series ages, so do the characters and Danforth will eventually retire as he moves into his late 60s but when trouble calls, people of his nature always answer.