Paul Christopher is an agent with the CIA.
He is most definitely a spy from the old school. The novels about his life and his career span the years from his service soon after WWII up to the current era. He is urbane and sophisticated, not to mention a published poet who still writes poetry on the side but not for sharing with others.
The novels depict a harsh life for those involved in the business, one where those you love become targets if not victims and your ally of yesterday is as likely to abandon you today as kill you tomorrow.
Through it all, Christopher becomes one of the best in the intelligence business and learns that being the best has its major downsides. Most haunting about the series is the fact that Christopher's dedication pushes him to learn things the power brokers don't want known and he pays dearly for it as do his friends, his wife, and his lovers.
Despite all the subtefuge, intrigue, and back-stabbing that he encounters in the shadowy world in which he works, Christopher manages to maintain an even keel, probably his poet nature sustaining him but that does not mean that he isn't affected. It just means that he has decided what he was meant to do in this world and doing it the best he can is the only way he knows how to operate.
The author takes a couple of side trips in the series. Many lists of his books do not include them as in the Christopher series. I do because they relate to cousins of the main character who have an impact on his life. While he is not involved in these two books, he is affected. Lastly, the final book takes a huge turn when it talks about an event that happened when Christopher was a young adult and how it would keep having an affect for the next fifty years.