Shaw Whitaker is an agent for the British Secret Service.
At least, he is at the start of the three-book series about him. He is considered to be the fair-haired child, or teacher’s pet, of Sir Richard Ordish, a man of considerable authority in British Intelligence. Ordish is the Coordinator of the British Secret Services and as such maintains an oversight position with MI-5, MI-6 and Special Branch. This gives this man, known to those under him as Tricky Dicky, a great deal of power.
After several years in the field, all working in highly dangerous and potentially explosive situations and bringing each assignment to a satisfactory conclusion, he was, as the first book begins, deciding that he had had enough of the risk-taking and that a normal life would be far preferable.
When one is the boss’s top agent, though, it is hard to break away, as the title of the first book would indicate. This is especially true when one’s boss is as duplicitous and crafty as Ordish and there are few in the world more devious than Dickey.
The books that Whitaker is in span an interesting period of the man’s career although not many years separate them. In the first book, Whitaker is falling in love and deciding that a life outside the service is what he really wants, even if it is not what his boss will tolerate. In the second, he is on the run and trying everything he can to stay away and stay alive but that is proving harder and harder. In the third, he is given a chance to start a new life in a new country under a new name, Michael Fox, but he is still Whitaker in his mind and is still as good an agent as he ever was.
Whitaker’s adventures are part of a series of books dealing with three different agents of Ordish. The other two are Jeffery Steele and Guy Fosse. He is mentioned in the first book of both men, shares the stage with them in his middle book, and works with Fosse under his new alias in the third.
A couple of items that get revealed in all these books is that Ordish is really a rotten person for whom to work and Whitaker is really quite good at his job. He makes his share of mistakes but he is very capable of fixing things and very good at staying alive.