Nathan Stand is an agent with the Office.
For the past near decade Stand has been a contracted operative for this highly invisible but just as highly efficient private adjunct to the CIA. Created and funded by the extensive wealth of an aging man named McWilliams, the Office existed to take some of the more sensitive cases that the Agency wanted performed but which it was hesitant or legally prohibited from doing. For the past two decades, McWilliams was a friend and advisor to Presidents, members of Congress, and much of the Intelligence and military communities and he used those close connections to help those men he hired. While he could not order a plane or a ship to be somewhere or head somewhere to pick up or deliver someone or something, he knew people who could.
Stand was McWilliams' best contract agent and by far his biggest thorn for Stand was by no means a muscle-bound brute who took orders as they came and did what he was told. Stand had a brain and was not afraid to use it. McWilliams might hand Stand an assignment but it was Stand who decided how it would be done. He knew the cloak and dagger world and knew that what someone said was seldom exactly the truth and stated motives for missions often had unseen siblings.
A Ranger with the U.S. Army during the Vietnam war, Stand performed numerous missions in Southeast Asia on behalf of the CIA and came to know many of their agents, liking some and despising others. After his tours in the service were over, he got out and finished his education, getting a Ph.D. and a job teaching at a college. He married and they soon had a child. His life was everything he could have wanted.
That life was destroyed when a terrorist group hijacked a train Stand's wife and child were on and the authorities' response was bungled resulting in the deaths of the hostages and the leader of the attack escaping. In his grief, Stand was ready for the offer of a job that would take him up against monsters of the same ilk as those that robbed him of his family.
Eight years after he started his career as an agent, Stand is given the chance to hunt down the terrorist mastermind that took his family. As the series opens, he has completed a task for the Office, requested by the CIA, but his solution was less than universally applauded and he found himself fired for his ingenuity. The lay-off lasted but a very short time when the call came to return for yet another mission. He was ready to tell McWilliams where to put the job when he heard who the target was.
In the second, and final book, Stand has been away from that line of work for a year and is happily living in London with a widow he had met and fallen for and her young daughter. He had a life and a family again and no desire to get back into the game. The job that was offered, though, was too compelling to refuse.
Playing a role in the two-book series large enough to warrant mentioning is Jean McWilliams, attractive, opinionated, and forthright grown daughter of the Office's leader. Officially working for the CIA, she is fully in the loop about her father's endeavors and has aided them on several occasions. When he dies after a long battle with cancer, she, funded by his incredible weath, continues his work. The relationship that she and Stand has is often bristlely but sometimes almost friendly. They both know how good the other is at his or her job and they know they need each other, even if neither wishes that were the case.