Victor Mace is a freelance agent with the CIA.
His father, an American named Victor George Mace, had been assigned to the People's Republic of China during the Korean War where he met and married a Chinese lady named Su Li Nai. After the conflict, he moved to Hong Kong with his wife and their newborn son, Victor Mace, jr. The elder Mace was killed while helping refugees escape from Red China. Two years later, young Mace's mother remarried. The stepfather sent the boy to a Shao Lin temple to learn the martial arts.
As the series opens, Victor Mace is in his mid-20's and is an expert in multiple forms of combat including kung fu, karate, and the silent arts of the ninja, all taught him by his beloved Master En Sheng. Though he called Hong Kong his home at that time, he had moved to the US to visit his younger half-brother. Eventually he would move to New York and take up teaching, at least part time, at a kung fu academy there.
Mace is decidedly Eurasian, having some facial features of his Caucasian father and standing 6'2". Still there is a majority of his mother in him and he considers himself principally a Chinese. He has no love, however, of the dictatorial regime of his homeland both because of the death of his father and because their tactics fly against the teachings of his Master.
It is not until the third book in the series that Mace becomes involved in the world of espionage but the actions of the first book brought an invitation to the dangers of the second book, and it was that conflagration that led to his being noticed by the Agency. When they needed someone of Chinese descent for a dangerous mission and he readily agreed. He doesn't work full-time for the CIA but takes the occasional assignment, making his new home in New York when not on a mission.