Alex Kovacs is a freelance operative.
That is the best I can describe his situation. However, it is not so much that he works for whomever might be paying him. Rather, it is whoever is available to assist him in his fight against the Nazis.
"I was a magnesite salesman, which is about as exciting as it sounds. My family owned a mine in Czechoslovakia. My father ran the business, and my s**t of a younger brother sat at his elbow. I lived in Vienna and serviced 24 of our clients in Germany and Austria, visiting twice a year, about 120 days on the road altogether. My Uncle Otto, who taught me the business, kept a half-dozen clients in his semi-retirement."
That is how Kovacs describes himself to us when we first meet him. The years is 1937 and tensions politically are extremely tense in both Czechoslovakia where Kovacs was born and raised and to whom he knows he owes allegiance and in Austria where he has lived for past half dozen or more years. There are a lot of people like him that fear the ever-rising threat of German aggression but there are many others who long for it. This means that even as he keeps a wary eye on the border, he also has to watch out for brown-shirts in his own streets, despite their having been banned.
It is in this condition that Kovacs, a man who makes frequent trips throughout Austria and Germany as part of sales route, learns of his beloved uncle's suspicious death and he is approached by Czech Intelligence to unofficially work for them. As he begins to look into the former he agrees to do the latter.
As time very quickly advances, so do the German forces and with the fall of both his homeland and his home in 1938, his espionage work will continue but the people he will be assisting will change from governmental departments to the Resistance.