Steve Baldwin is an agent with MI-6.
Well, he would certainly disagree with me on that. He would say he was a retired Royal Marine boat bum, content to spend his life sailing around the Mediterranean and the Middle East and mind his own business.
Except that he is not really allowed to do the latter. He can sail; no one is stopping him from doing that (except for those who occasionally try to kill him) but mind his own business? Not so much.
Over some time and more than a few pages the reader learns that Baldwin had been the son of a commercial fisherman who had plans for his son to work with him in the family business. Since daddy was a drunk and a wife-beater, Baldwin had no such intentions and found a better career path in the military. Not long thereafter his father was lost at sea so the matter became mute. When his mother died shortly after from cancer, Baldwin knew the Marines was his new family.
One important fact that will play a big part in the future is his desire to go into the SBS, the elite British naval special forces. An injury would prevent him from making the grade but how superbly he had done prior to it definitely made it into his permanent record and years later would be noticed.
We pick up his life when he had served quite a few years and was now on his own and doing whatever he felt like and that was sailing his small boat to places that interested him. Was it good luck or bad that some of the places he headed were places that HMG intelligence services needed someone who was both very good at special operations and quite expendable.