Max Speed is a reporter.
He has been one for more years than he cares to remember and he would be the first to admit his was a jaded take on life. Too many airports, too many antiseptic hotel rooms, too many late nights in the bars and waking with someone he didn't know and didn't want to. And too many times writing articles that every reader thinks is terrific and ground-breaking and important and which end up accomplishing nothing of substance. Bitterness is beginning to plague him along with the cynicism too many years on the front lines has made unavoidable.
Though Speed writes for a New York-based magazine, he lives in London, a reward he knows for caving into pressure and stopping scathing attacks on the Vietnam War during its early years, a time he thinks his writing might have made a difference. The push from Washington bureaucracy had been amazingly intense with the word being either he stop it or the magazine could fall on harsh times. His employers pushed from their end, too, and Speed relented. It is likely because of the unhappiness over his capitulation that Speed risks his life in the two adventures chronicled in the books.
Speed does not function as a spy in any capacity. He is after the story and, to a large degree, the truth, even if in his heart he wonders if it matters anymore. It is this pursuit of the story that happens to put him in the middle of the trouble and it is his wits more than anything else that keeps him alive. And he is determined that nothing will get in his face to find out and report the truth, not his bosses and not the regimes that find his facts unpleasant to see. And the latter usually have incentive to stop him.