John Sterling, Agent Keats, is an agent with the British Secret Service.
The year is 1952. The sun was still never setting on the British Empire. A new monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, had just assumed the throne. Stalwart men, and some women, like Sterling walked the dark streets and alleyways finding the cause of, and sorting out, now Her Majesty's troubles and there were many to be fixed.
In the Secret Service there were a trio of agents who were "authorized to kill at their own discretion" and in cold blood if it be determined necessary. They were known as the 'Dead Poets' because each had been assigned the codename of a famous, and now long dead, poet. The one we follow is named after John Keats (1795-1821). Those picked were considered the very best at what they do though the sort of missions they were given, their life expectancy was not rated that high.
Before being chosen for this position, Sterling had served in Naval Intelligence for some time, assigned towards the end to a special commando unit nicknamed 30 AU and the action he saw in that outfit made the shift to the Secret Service and being a Dead Poet not that much of a change.
Sterling is described as "a handsome man, with dark hair, a comma of which fell across one brow, and distant blue-grey eyes that held a sort of cold cruelty about them. A scar nearly as long as a finger ran down his right cheek, as if left by a single tear, a permanent reminder of some past regret. This, combined with his hard eyes, kept Sterling from being too handsome. A short upper lip rested over a wide mouth." One interesting idiosyncrasy of his: he often wore loafers because "he detested shoestrings".