William "Willy" Wilberforce Smith is an operative in the British Special Executive.
This is a secret bureau which answers only to the Prime Minister. In the three-book series very closely tied to Mr. Haggard's more well known series of Charles Russell, Smith start out as an agent under Russell's command but eventually becomes upper management and finally takes Russell's position when he retires.
Smith is a black man, a third-generation British citizen whose parents enjoyed an upper middle class life, giving Smith the ability to go to some of the finer schools. His keen intellect helped him perform admirably and it also brought him to the attention of his teachers and to the spotters for British Intelligence. He was one of those that Colonel Russell grabbed when he was available, seeing in Smith an excellent field agent.
Because of his race, Smith would be able to interact with portions of the British population who might not trust a white man so easily. Because of his upbringing and his personal bearing, he fit in business and political gatherings as needed, and he was able to travel throughout Europe and Africa as proved necessary.
As the series begins, Smith is in his late 20s or early 30s, married for just over a year, and has a new baby. He likes the new responsibility that he has been given although he often wonders just what he is doing risking his neck when two people he loves depends on him. He also enjoys the knowledge that Russell, a man he greatly respects, trusts him. As the series progresses, the trust increases along with the pressures.