Nathan Monsarrat is an agent with the CIA.
To ask him, he is an ex-agent and happy to be gone from the Agency but to ask them, he very much still is associated with them and at their call whenever they need him. Granted, they might need more than a little bit of persuasion when the call comes but they make sure that it is enough to get him to do what they need.
When we first meet Monsarrat, he is just being released after being held captive by Fighters Against Terror in Africa (FATA), a rebel group in the delta region of Niger River. FATA had been holding him for the past several months and that period had not passed well for the man, shown by him having lost sixty pounds and "now skeletal with dysentery, enervated by malaria, and beset by a gallimaufry of lesser jungle diseases". All of that sounds bad with some even worse.
Prior to his capture by FATA Monsarrat had been in impressive shape: "An inch over six feet, he possessed a thick mop of unruly, brown hair and weighed five pounds below two hundred. His unblemished skin shone with health, and his crisp, brown eyes flashed with energy. The muscles of his chest and arms were firm. His six pack rippled. He carried himself as if he were still a three-letter athlete at the university in his native Iowa, football in the fall, basketball in the winter, and baseball in the spring". Those college days had been fifteen years earlier, before he "exchanged his undergraduate innocence for the arrogance of the CIA".
His horrific experience with FATA cemented his growing desire to leave the Agency and he accomplished that, with some help, and just past his 40th birthday, we meet up with Monsarrat as he works as the Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Greylock College in western Massachusetts. His Agency days were behind him and his new simpler life was all he really wanted; at least as far as he was concerned. Unfortunately, many of those at Langley would find new things for him to do and new ways to force him to do them.
- Regarding his joining the Agency, Monsarrat recalls how "fifteen years earlier, he exchanged his undergraduate innocence for the arrogance of the Central Intelligence Agency".