Jack Teller is an agent with the CIA.
Born in Germany before the First World War. His father died in that war to end all wars and it was just he, his mother, and a younger brother. Then in 1927 his mother passed away at a young age and it was decided the boys would live with a distant aunt. But Teller at 13 had other plans so one night he said goodbye to his brother and set out on his own for America. Such is the prologue in the first book.
This series tells of events in fairly separated periods of a man's life. The first takes place in 1963 when Teller is 48 and has quit the CIA after over two decades of being an operative. He is tired of the shadowy world of espionage and ready for something better.
The second takes place much earlier, in 1940, as America ponders whether to go to war and the German influence is seen everywhere in Europe, especially Lisbon which has become a hotbed of espionage. Teller is a young, fresh agent out to see the world and to make a difference and often not ready for the difference the world will make on him.
The third jumps from 1953 to 1979 and talks of his adventures in two parts of Iran's recent history, one a few years into the reign of the Shah of Iran and the other as the dying monarch sees his kingdom fall as two forces vie for the remnants. Teller is an experienced agent, new to the Agency but not new to the game in the earlier portion and definitely an old, tired hand in the latter portion.
The books depict distinct periods of not only Teller's professional life but, more intriguing, distinct periods of America's modern life dealing with a globalization that is both exhilarating and daunting to the OSS and later the CIA. Teller's part in it all brings the challenges home to one person and makes it real.