Richard Raven is a part-time agent with the British Secret Service.
He is a man stuck in a dead-end job, trapped inside an office "prison" when he decides that excitement at any cost was better than a slow death by monotony. At 23, he was already feeling life had passed him by and he chafed at the dullness. In a strange act of rebellion, he sent an advertisement to a newspaper declaring he had gone to university, was an accomplished driver having participated in rallies, wanted some exciting new job, and was willing to go anywhere and do anything. He did not really expect anything from it but it was fun to imagine. Then he got a response.
As the series progresses, the adventures keep coming, sometimes because of friends he knows and sometimes because of the contacts in the Intelligence community he gathers. Although not a traditional member of any agency, he acquires a closeness to British Intelligence and on occasion takes a job for them when the work sounds interesting or exciting. The jobs he does pay enough to give him enough independence to travel and that travel often lands him into the thick of things. Knowing this and knowing that he is not known as a regular agent, the Secret Service likes having him around.
He even enjoys a begrudging respect by the CIA, a group he goes up against more than once. While he does not work for them on any assignment, he has accepted their help or their acceptance, when his mission does not put him into conflict with theirs.
Raven is a young man throughout the series and enjoys a young man's attention to the ladies, an attention they promptly and regularly return. With Raven, the enjoyment is truly appreciated and valued, something they recognize.
Most of all, though, Raven likes adventure and cannot think of turning away from a mystery or an unknown that offers a chance of excitement. Even if it could kill him.