Adolf Grundt, also referred to as Clubfoot, is a spymaster for German Intelligence.
We first meet him in 1918 when a British spy named Desmond Okewood has his first of several run-ins with the man but later on we will be given a couple of prequels moving our initial contact back to 1913, a full year before World War I would get started.
According to one of the adversaries he will face in his activities, "[Grundt] was always a man of mystery, was 'der Stelze' (The Lame One), as he was often catted in the inner circles of government in Imperial Germany. In the days before the war he was known by name and repute only to the chosen few of us in the British Secret Service, and, of these, I was the only one who, up to the outbreak of hostilities, had come into direct contact with that ruthless and terrifying cripple. For Grundt was not of Germany's official espionage services, neither of Nicolai's branch of the Great General Staff, nor yet of von Boy-Ed's Admiralty Intelligence.
"He was supposedly attached to Section Seven of the Berlin Police Presidency (the Political Police). In reality, however, he was head of the personal secret service of the Emperor and derived his power and authority from none other than the Supreme War Lord himself. So far as I have been able to discover, he possessed no official credentials and there is no mention of his name in the innumerable publications dealing with the Kaiser and his Court, even in the notorious Bulow Memoirs. Grundt worked in the dark, and German officialdom trembled before him - the bureaucrat knows, none better, that the servant of the autocrat is often more powerful than the autocrat himself. It fell to my lot to discover that, if the shadow of old Clubfoot (as we were wont to call him among ourselves) fell across our path, it was a fight to a finish."
Yet another combatant of Grundt remarked, "Dr. Grundt and the 'G' Branch of Section Seven of the Prussian Political Police. As head of the ex-Kaiser's personal Secret Service ... was the all-powerful instrument of the anger and suspicion of the capricious and neurotic William II. In Germany his very existence was a mere rumor whispered only in the highest circles; and abroad, except in the innermost ring of the Secret Service, he was quite unknown. In the archives of the French Foreign Office there is, I understand, a dossier dealing with his activities of the time of the Algeciras Conference and, later, on the occasion of King Edward's meeting with the Czar at Reval."
And finally, "Clubfoot was answerable to no one save to the Emperor alone. His work was of so delicate, so confidential a nature, that he rendered an account of his services only to his Imperial master. There was none to stay his hand, to check him in his courses, save only this neurotic, capricious cripple who is always open to flattery...." and "No one may catalog the crimes that Clubfoot committed, the infamies he had to his account. Not even the Kaiser himself, I dare say, knows the manner in which his orders to this black-guard were executed - orders rapped out often enough, I swear, in a fit of petulance, a gust of passion, and forgotten the next moment in the excitement of some fresh sensation."
The unwanted nickname of Clubfoot was given him because of his physical handicap, one leg shorter than the other due to a deformity of the foot twisted inward. He was forced to wear a special boot to compensate for the length difference but even with the added height, he always walked with a heavy limp. Other descriptions of the man let us know that he had an "immense bulk which, with the overlong sinewy arms, the bushy eyebrows and the black-tufted cheek-bones irresistibly suggested some fierce and gigantic man-ape". Another man talked of Grundt being "a picture of a vast and massive man, swarthy and sinister".
"The Soviets find that spies, like meat, don't keep!"
[Note: most editions of the books have Clubfoot's first name as Adolf but some put it alternatively as Adolph."