Solomon Vine is an agent with MI6.
In the prologue of the first recorded adventure, he is an agent in good standing interrogating a major terrorist catch in Istanbul. Then a call from his head boss back in England results in the order to let the man go immediately, which confuses Vine quite a bit. Then finding the terrorist alone in the interrogation room dying from a gun shot wound comes as a major surprise. The last stunner was finding the evidence showed the last person to enter that room before the shooting was ... himself.
So, when the main part of that adventure commences, he is an agent on suspension and pondering, who knows how seriously, chucking it all away and heading somewhere other than England where the temperature was warmer and the Secret Intelligence Service was not upset with him. That is when he receives a message to meet the Chair of the Joint Intelligence Service in an out-of-the-way place, said message being delivered in an old-school manner such that electronic eavesdropping was not possible.
Vine has been with MI6 for going on 16 years by the time we meet him. A flashback to his introduction to the idea of "wanting to be a spy", taking place in 2000, shows Vine's response to that question by his recruiter, soon to be his boss, Cosmo Newton, was a non-answer of "I wasn't aware that I did". It was in that interview we learn Vine was a product of "state-run care homes", that his ability with languages stopped at "I've just about mastered English", and that he was pretty good with numbers. More importantly, we learn that when asked if he would serve his country and obey every command no matter what, Vine thought for a moment and said he would follow "loyalty under the law, never no matter what". Interesting answer.
The problem mentioned above which generates Vines suspension will cause him to take the odd job with the National Security Council, looking into little matters here and there, keeping his hand in the game while he and they decide whether he should stay in it.
- About Solomon Vine it is written, "For a professional liar, he was always curiously inept at white lies, the small ones".