John Sand is an agent with MI-6.
Recently retired agent is more accurate.
It is the early 1960s and veteran operative Sand has only now, after many action-filled years of service, decided to put it all behind him as he begins a new life with a new bride and a promise to himself that his danger-ridden days were behind him. He would find that less than accurate quite quickly.
Just married to the incredibly lovely Stacey Boldt only 24 hours before the first recorded adventure has them arriving at their honeymoon hotel in Jamaica, Sand, a "tall tan dark-haired [man] Life magazine had once described as 'cruelly handsome'", is neither surprised nor amused that he is so readily recognized upon checking into the hotel.
"Such encounters with strangers ... had become common occurrences in the life of John Sand, and represented one of the primary reasons for his early retirement from MI6, the United Kingdom's Secret Intelligence Service."
"Ever since a longtime friend and former colleague of his had begun writing those thinly veiled and somewhat ridiculously exaggerated novels based on Sand's assignments, the undercover intelligence operative had been unable to perform his duties with any sort of anonymity. A secret agent, after all, must remain, well-secret. And Sand's secret was out. First it had been Sunday supplement fluff pieces. And then that Life magazine article and photo spread labeled Sand the "real" hero of JFK's favorite espionage novels, leading to more such unwanted publicity, until his effectiveness as a cloak-and-dagger man was now nil. Particularly since the books had started hitting the bestseller lists, and Hollywood ... had come knocking."
Through the course of the small number of adventures we have of Sand after his 'retirement' we can see first of all why he is considered by those in the know to be the best at what he does, and second, why though he has left the adventure game behind him, it has never left him in the least.
Say hello to "Sand. John Sand".