Sir Leonard Wallace is the head of the British Secret Service.
The son of the Earl of Westcliff (possibly on the coast due east of London), Wallace could have lived a life of ease and privilege but that would never have suited his temperament for the man has always, since childhood, felt fulfilled only when providing a needed service to others. For that reason, he joined the Hussars and served in that light cavalry regiment for some years, earning considerable recognition during the Great War and reaching the rank of Major, much of his time spent in India.
It was after receiving a terrible wound in his left arm during the closing days of that war that he came to the attention of the Secretary of State for Home Affairs, Mansfield Smith-Cummings, known later as "C". Together with his close friend Captain Brien, they had come across evidence of a secret German submarine base on the coast of England. He received permission to use a small select group to take control of the cave facility and in so doing capture five German submarines. For their impressive feat, both Wallace and Brien received promotions.
Unfortunately, now Colonel Wallace had suffered another wound to the recovering arm and the damage was enough to require amputation. His active military days now over because of it, Wallace was asked if he wanted to serve in the Intelligence Service and he took to that new work like it was meant to be and soon he was promoted to the top position as Chief of the Secret Service. [Major Brien would return to active service but when the War ended, he was offered a job with Wallace and became the man's chief assistant and advisor.]
Considerable information about Wallace is contained in a synopsis of sorts written by "C" who stated: "Romance and adventure are not dead while there exist men of the type of Sir Leonard Wallace. He proves that fact is stranger than fiction, and into the cold, matter-of-fact atmosphere of the twentieth century brings a flavor of daring enterprise that is reminiscent of more adventurous times. Yet to look at him you would not imagine that there were even the elements of romance and adventure in him, unless he gave you the opportunity of gazing deep into his expressive, steel-grey eyes. He is a slightly-built man of about five feet eight in height with an attractive but by no means handsome face, the curves of which show that he possesses a great sense of humor. He has an easy-going disposition, and rather gives the impression of being a man who loves to loiter his way through life. He has a cool, calculating mind, behind an unruffled exterior, which provides him with the imagination and quick perception that make him so successful in detective work. Perhaps his greatest asset is his unexcitable temperament and perfect self-control. I have known ministers of State exasperated at his nonchalance but, being no respecter of persons, that worries him not at all. I must confess to a sneaking fear that he does not always regard His Majesty’s statesmen with the respect they invariably think is their due."
The adventures we are lucky enough to enjoy all take place after the War during the turbulent era of "peace" that followed. These missions start up almost immediately after the Armistice is signed and continue throughout the next two decades. The troubles that had to be dealt with are wide-spread and varied. Residual anger and mistrust with Germany. Dealing with the new fascism of Italy. Constant turmoil and unrest in the Middle East. Problems galore in an India that demands independence but has major Hindu-Muslim problems to contend with. Japanese expansion in the Far East. And, biggest of all, constant and ever-changing trouble with the Bolsheviks of the Soviet Union who are always wanting to spread their communist ideas everywhere.
Wallace is very happily married to the beautiful and very intelligent and adventurous Molly, Lady Wallace. They both take enormous pleasure in their one child, Adrian. Wallace lives in London most of the year as work does not allow many times of rest but during the summer he routinely motors to his estate near Lyndhurst in the New Forest. He is described as a slim man of medium height, having a somewhat lazy expression on his attractive, good-humored face that was belied by the keen grey eyes and indomitable jaw.
Throughout the many years we follow him, Wallace is also blessed to have as his right-hand-man the very capable Bill Brien, described as a tall fair man whose upright carriage and small mustache suggested a soldier which he certainly was during the War. He is said to have twinkling blue eyes which light up with a mystery. The two men are and have been for a long time best friends and each man's wife is close to the other's. Brien is a great sounding board as well as trusted advisor but Brien, for all the closeness, has never forgotten who is the ultimate decider and never challenges his older friend.
In addition to Brien, Wallace has a large stable of trusted operatives to send out on missions, trusting that each one is smart enough to not need hand holding. Of the many men and women he uses, several have become extremely trusted:
Maddison - a small keen-eyed man, formerly a detective inspector with Scotland Yard before being move to the Secret Service.
Carter - also a former detective with Scotland Yard, said to be a very responsible man.
Captain Hugh Shannon - a relatively new agent right after the War and eager to prove himself. He is extremely well educated and could have taken a position teaching at any university had he not want a bit more excitement.
Cousins - formerly the valet for Hugh Shannon, now an agent himself. 5' tall with the figure of a boy but the face "so wrinkled" he could be easily be 60 years old (he was really mid-40's).
With capable people to help him, Sir Leonard Wallace in constantly fighting on behalf of the Crown and Country.