Bill Lane is an analyst with the NSA.
He would never describe himself as a spy. He'd probably laugh at the idea. But if the subject of action and danger doing one's job came up, he might look away rather than answer. To Lane, he was an analyst, trained to take disparate pieces of information and make sense of them. The fact that once in a while the information came at a cost of personal danger was something he didn't talk about.
Lane is, at the start of the series, in his mid 40's, a "husky, dark-shouldered man", he is said to have a handsome though at times cruel face and blue eyes that turned ice cold when faced with lies or double-talk.
A Rhodes scholar where his specialty was comparative political systems, Lane finished his degree at Harvard before joining Air Force Intelligence just in time to be one of the last kicked out of Vietnam. Three more years in the military and he got out to work for NSA full time. For more than a decade, he worked as a Soviet analyst and, now that the Soviet Union was no more, he is the chief Russia watcher that agency has. He could never explain it but he had a unique grasp, what he called a “sense”, of the Russia psyche and was extremely good at predicting what they would do.
The four adventures in the Lane series are military-espionage dramas where the action by various armed forces leaders play a big a role as do any intelligence work. But the actions of Lane are central to all the others and it is he that usually comes up with the solution to a problem.