Martin Culver is a writer.
He is, at the time we first meet him, wondering if writing was really his passion anymore since it had been two years since his last really successful book came out. Prior to that, he had had several winners starting with his first which had come about almost as a fluke when on his honeymoon with Sandy he had found several pieces of eight. That had inspired the first book and the new career. Now he was in a slump but that will change.
The change will affect his entire life and lead him into a completely new line of work, this time more in the realm of archaeology and far more deadly. It will start with an explosion that will destroy the boat his brother and father were on and will throw him in numerous conflicts against terrorists, foreign agents, criminals, and some unstable individuals. He might want that slump back again.
Culver is likely in his mid forty's having a son, Brent, just starting college. He has been married to Sandra, Sandy to him, for quite a few years. That marriage will hit some rough patches along the way in the numerous adventures but he still loves her.
Culver spends a considerable amount of time on the water in one manner or another. This is noteworthy because Culder has a "lifelong fear of the sea", dating back to when he was quite young and his mother fell victim to a rip current and drowned. He is able to swallow that dread each time he finds himself on a boar but he never loses it completely.
Culver's place in this compendium of covert operatives comes in a very roundabout way, starting with his father, Jack, and brother, Mark, being snatched up by the Cuban authorities and interrogated as being spies for the CIA. Taking part in a rescue of those two would throw Culver into dealing with that organization and while he does not become an official employee of it, he does seem to run into their affairs a lot.