Sergeant Talbot is an agent with Section 2.
Agent is really a misnomer and one that Talbot would certainly sneer at. "Indentured servant" would be more accurate. Certainly not someone willingly giving his all for the Stars and Stripes. Talbot is too busy looking out for 'Number One' (himself, of course). Still, he does work, though forced, for the top secret U.S. Army Intelligence unit known as Section 2 so agent fits, however begrudging that service comes about.
The adventures about Talbot come by way of a collection of notes and diary entries found by the author in a Berlin used book store, written, obviously, in English. "The Talbot Diary consists of nearly 1000 dog-eared pages of every imaginable type of paper and stationary, neatly written in free hand and also typed on various machines of quality over 40 years ago. Finally declassified, it is a fascinating visit into the mind and world of the covert operative in the Cold War. While Talbot’s story is mesmerizing, unfortunately, his own writing consists of merely notes and fragments, and while documented with dates of occurrence, is not in chronological order. It is my arduous job to put the pieces together for the modern reader."
Talbot is a very fascinating and enterprising man. I have yet to learn his first name. If it were given, it was done so quickly that I missed it. He is referred to either as just Talbot or with his rank of Sergeant, though how he was able to keep his stripes is beyond me. When we first meet him, it was the mid-70's and he had been working for the previous year for Section 2, an assignment that was not what he wanted to do but a whole lot better than the jail cell he had been occupying.
As Talbot tells us early on, "I had been committing a series of jewelry thefts for over a year, while stationed as an intelligence analyst at NATO Headquarters in Brussels. My targets were wealthy Belgians. I had a simple modus operandi. I would scout out a neighborhood, find out when a rich couple was having a party and then I would strike on the night of the soiree. My methods of entry were numerous: through one story windows, from the roof into a bedroom, maybe up and into the house from the cellar. I climbed drain pipes, used ropes, grappling hooks, and on one occasion I even utilized a backyard trampoline to catapult myself on to a garage roof. While the hosts were busy entertaining their guests, I would clean out the jewelry boxes and be gone in minutes. Unfortunately, I had gotten too cocky. Things were going too well, but not for long."
Talbot got himself caught and sentenced to 5 years in the stockade. Then he was offered a chance to "volunteer" for Section 2. The situation was explained as, "I don’t care what you think [you were told]. You're a thief on a suspended sentence. You belong to Section 2. We own you. You're nothing more than an indentured servant with three stripes. You’re going to do whatever we want, whenever we want and there's not a damn thing you can do about it."
Talbot is first and foremost a survivor. He will prove it on many occasions.