Brad West is a part-time spy for the CIA.
Well, spy might be a bit of an exaggeration. He is a college student, or at least he is at the start of the first recorded adventure. He is a graduate student eking out a minor living teaching undergrads at the University of Arizona. He got the gig because the professor for whom he works is the illustrious Dr. Richter, a probable Nobel recipient of anthropology and candidate for President of the United States, and West's step-father.
Before you suspect some nepotism at work here, and you would be right, it is decidedly not favoritism at work. Richter has very little emotion towards his step-son and none of it good. Richter has little emotion except contempt towards virtually anyone who does not subscribe to his theory that human life really started in the Americas and branched outward from there. He has used that controversial idea to become a talk-show favorite and then to become the darling of the right-wing politicos. That support would then push him into the Oval Office, he hoped, that and some help from the Chinese.
West's existence is a good one, albeit on the cheap, teaching at times, studying at times, and rock-climbing the barren cliffs all over the desert of Arizona. Then two things happen that drastically and permanently change his life. He meets a beautiful young Chinese Air Force officer in America for a training lesson (or so she thinks). And he gets fired and expelled for no stated reason and forced out of the university.
Then the girl and he get close and the CIA show up to offer some help and the girl's unloved fiancée, who is planning on becoming the next President of China while helping Richter become the American President, gets really unhappy with West knowing his girl.
That's when things get happening.