Tom Wilde is a university professor.
When we first meet him in 1936, he is teaching history at one of the many colleges in Cambridge, England. Things will change a bit over time.
Professor Wilde is described as "tall and angular, with high cheekbones and hair that was a little too long for some of the stuffier fellows of this most ancient and venerable of Cambridge colleges. He had spent much of his life in England, but he was American by birth and nationality and even in winter his skin had a summery hue. He had an outdoor face, uncommonly healthy among the morbid pallor of his academic colleagues. His voice was a hybrid that seemed to have washed up from the broad Atlantic; not quite American, not quite English."
Wilde is very much an academician at heart. He truly loves and enjoys the college environs, especially the hallowed halls he is able to trod at Cambridge. He is also very much an historian and has written several books on various subjects in the past which have received favorable notice.
He is, however, considered by many as a bit of a maverick for at times he does venture away from the ivy-covered lecture halls. It will be this occasional whim, along with a very inquisitive mind and a determination to not accept something simply because he was told it, that will cause him to poke his head into areas most of his colleagues would never approach.
As a result, he will find himself sometimes very much in the 'real world' and dealing with things far outside his comfort zone; things like death and murder, dark street meetings with foreign agents, concentration camps, secret laboratories, and more. There will even be a trip to the White House and a conversation with Roosevelt that will have a major effect on him.
Wilde is an American professor teaching in Britain. As a result, he will find himself involved with both American and British Intelligence operatives. He is not an agent himself, of course, but he will be as good as considering the number of people who will try to stop him.
- Said by his valet when recommending a split bet on a horse race, "Horses are only human, professor. Things can always go wrong."