Robin Monarch is a thief.
That's what he tells people he meets, delighting in being honest about his dishonesty. He is not lying, either, for he has spent a good deal of his life as a thief and has not had any desire to not be one.
He comes by his profession naturally if not genetically. His mother was a beautiful con artist. His father was a skilled acrobat who used that ability to be a darn good second-story man. Together they made a pair of crooks that bamboozled their way around the world, taking their young son along with them and teaching him all the tricks they knew. Robin learned to blend in virtually everywhere, aided by a photographic memory, a talent for languages (he eventually learned 8), and a dusky complexion inherited from his mother. He grasped most of the concepts of the con, long and short, and he was trained by his father to find a way into the inaccessible.
His world came to a shattering end at 14 when his parents conned the wrong person, a member of the powerful Peron family in Argentina, and paid for their mistake with their lives in a hail of bullets while Robin watched helplessly. He fled from the killers but with no where to go and no one to help. His lifestyle got progressively worse until he landed in the worst slum in Buenes Aires, near death. He was rescued by a member of a street gang which called itself the Brotherhood of Thieves. With them he learned to survive and he learned the 18 Rules that the groups lived by, rules he would maintain in his adult life. Several years with the Brotherhood passed until a falling out nearly cost him his life and forced a drastic change, recommended by the nun who nursed him back to health.
That change would bring him back to the States and a stint in the military. His skills took him to the Rangers and from there to the highly pretigious JSOC. He had found a new home with new challenges and rewards. Seven years would pass with him having no desire to see it change. It did change, though, when a small fortune in gold destined for Afghanistan went missing and Monarch, with his criminal past, was the prime suspect. His trial was swift and his punishment severe - Leavenworth.
That was where the CIA found him and made an offer - steal for us. Yet another life change, but most importantly, it got him out from behind bars.
It would last a while but when he learned things he should not have, he left yet again. He went back to the life he had known for some time, that of a thief, but with a difference. He no longer wanted to enrich himself but used most of the proceeds from his thievery to help the nun who had helped him.
Once in a while, though, the American government comes to call for help. Being a man of action, he is prone to accept the request. Being a thief, he makes sure he is compensated for his work. And whether he is on his own or working with a small cadre of people who he trusts and who trust him, Monarch never forgets that Rule #1 in his list of 18 is "You have a right to survive."