Sam Corby is a part-time agent for the CIA.
He is British by birth so working for the American spy agency might seem strange but then again, it was work and it paid and Sam Corby is all about earning a living, one way or another. Unfortunately for him, doing the odd job for the Agency to make a living often brings him close to losing that life.
When we first meet him, he is living in Pakistan and doing his best to make a decent income. He is 41 years old and fairly conversant in Urdu and Hindustani, certainly enough to get by on. He describes himself as "practically unemployable" but at the particular moment he was picking up a nice paycheck from an American company selling, of all things, batteries. "My function was to unload as many as the market could absorb, then some more." This work took him all over that country though he was especially successful and knowledgeable about the northern region branching into Afghanistan and India as needed.
Corby has no interest in the highly dangerous, and admittedly frightening, world of espionage and the thought of getting so involved in the region around Iran and Afghanistan and Pakistan in the late 70s through early 80s is so far from what he would want to be doing he would baulk at the suggestion. Unfortunately, a pushy self-described freelance reporter from America inveigled Corby's agreement to accompany Corby on his next sales run into the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region of Peshawar. And before Corby can even pack his bags for the upcoming trip, people are making some unpleasant and quite inaccurate assumptions about Corby's real motives and his true employers. Staying alive would mean making some of those false beliefs actually fact.
- To a man who just threatened him, Sam Corby says, "If your job's scaring people, you're not very good at it".
- Corby is chastised in a conversation by a man who admonishes him, "Don't try to be box clever, old boy. You haven't the equipment and I haven't the time".
- Regarding a friend in the first adventure, Donovan, who was suffering at the time: "He was a Muslim and Muslins don't drink. He was also part Irish; Irishmen do. He got no sympathy from me."