Mariah Bolt is an agent for the CIA.
She didn't set out to be a field operative for the Agency. She had been a political science grad student at Berkley working towards a degree specializing in the Russian-American arms race. She needed tutoring in the phsyics of nuclear weapons and met her future husband, David, who had just earned his doctorate. Within a year they were living in Los Alamos where he worked in the nuclear program. Soon, though, she decided she needed out of that environment and the CIA had offered her an analyst position considering her expertise in the Russian nuclear program. She left for D.C.
Bolt had been recruited due to her intelligence and her ability to look at disparent facts and come up with accurate assumptions. Good at her job, she steadily climbed the ranks of analysts, eventually getting enjoyable and interesting assignments around the world. Two years after she started, David quit his job, disenchanted with the arms program, and rekindled their relationship. He got a job near her and they were married. She kept her job where she was happy and life seemed very good. It was made better with the arrival soon thereafter with their daughter, Lindsay. All was good for the next ten years.
Then her husband was all but killed and her daughter severely injured in a freak accident with a runaway truck while the family was in Vienna and suddenly her life is virtually shattered.
As the series begins, she is coping, though just barely, with her life. Her daughter, 13, suffers from a bad limp and must undergo repeated physical therapy. Bolt routinely visits her paralized husband and deals with the fact that he will never recover but might live in the semi-vegetative state for years. Meanwhile, she is still at her job at Langley because she needs the income, needs the benefits, and, truthfully, needs the time away from her troubles.
That when her career starts to take a different turn as proof trickles in that the accident may have been planned. To find out the truth, she has to leave her safe desk job and head out into the gray world of espionage.