Ingo Finch is a physician with the British Army.
He will become a spy.
Our first meeting of him has him under fire and likely to get shot or blown up by artillery on the front lines during the Second Boer War in South Africa in 1899. It was hardly the place to find anyone the least bit involved in espionage and Finch is very much not the least bit so involved. He is trying to stay alive and trying to help others in his company do the same.
Once back a tad from the ongoing carnage, he is again in a field operating room working feverishly to deal with the victims of that same carnage hopefully survive albeit without all the limbs they started the day with.
"As a family doctor back home, he had never before cut into anything more than a lab rat. In just a few short weeks he had been raised from a lancer of boils to some kind of surgeon. Truthfully, he felt more like a tradesman - a carpenter or plumber - removing bits, stemming flows, procedures far too gruesome for even the most cast iron of stomachs to bear."
His ever-so gradual transition from the gory muck of the field operating tent into the murky world of clandestine operations will start when he reluctantly volunteers to remain behind with the wounded too hurt to be evacuated when a Retreat order is given for the British forces.
Even after that extremely interesting case that he would inadvertently get in the middle of is resolved and a few years pass bringing him back to England, his 'luck' for finding his way into other fascinating and highly dangerous situations will continue. The circumstances for his involvement will vary as much as the locales but they will all be quite exciting.