The Covert-One series is a sequence of thriller novels written by several authors after the death of Robert Ludlum, presumably according to some of his ideas. The books feature a team of political and technical experts, belonging to a top-secret U.S. agency called Covert-One, who fight corruption, conspiracy, and bioweaponary at the highest levels of society.
Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Jonathan 'Jon' Jackson Smith, M.D.: Jon Smith was born and raised in Council Bluffs, Iowa, graduated from the University of Iowa, and attended medical school at the University of California at Los Angeles. His career is varied—a military doctor in MASH units, operative in military intelligence, and a troop commander. During the First Gulf War, he was a battlefield surgeon, and he served a short time in Somalia. In the opening book of the series, The Hades Factor, he is a research scientist with USAMRIID, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, located at Fort Detrick, Maryland. During his time there, he became engaged to another research scientist, Sophia Russell. At the end of the first novel, he's approached to join a brand-new, independent, highly secret agency called Covert-One.
Randi Russell: Randi is the older sister of Dr. Sophia Russell, Smith's fiancée who dies in The Hades Factor by a lethal injection. She is a skilled operative working for the CIA, and is often seconded by Covert-One to assist Smith in his endeavors. In many cases, it is by simple chance that she encounters Jon Smith. She is known to resent Smith for his failure to save her fiancé, a major in the U.S. Army, and also for failing to save her sister Sophia. In The Arctic Event, the head of Covert-One flags Randi as a possible recruit for his agency, finally taking her in during The Ares Decision.
Martin 'Marty' Joseph Zellerbach: Marty is a computer expert with Asperger syndrome. He is very helpful in The Hades Factor, The Paris Option, and The Utopia Experiment. He also makes a short appearance in The Ares Decision and The Janus Reprisal.
Peter Howell: Howell is a British national, a former-Special Air Service officer and known for working with a number of intelligence agencies, including the CIA and MI6. He is an old friend of Jon Smith's, appearing in six novels, but absent from The Altman Code, The Moscow Vector, The Arctic Event, and The Utopia Experiment. He has a secluded home in the U.S., which contains a command center and a sizeable armory. Like Randi Russell, Howell usually encounters Smith purely by chance, except in The Hades Factor and The Ares Decision, where he is recruited by Smith for a mission.
Nathaniel Frederick 'Fred' Klein: An obscure government agent with experience with the CIA and the Pentagon, Fred Klein is selected by President Sam Castilla to set up Covert-One, after the devastating effects of Victor Tremont's Hades Project. Klein is an extremely secretive man, and almost nothing is known about him. He often counsels the president directly, advising him on what to do.
Samuel Adams 'Sam' Castilla: Castilla is the President of the United States in all Covert-One novels, an experienced and wise diplomat and politician. After he and his numerous intelligence agencies failed to prevent the Hades Project before it killed thousands, Castilla orders Fred Klein, an old college friend, to set up Covert-One, an elite agency and the personal action arm of Castilla, to combat such national security threats. Though several have their suspicions, Castilla is the only man outside of Covert-One who knows of its existence.
Maggie Templeton: Ex-CIA, she is Fred Klein's sister-in-law and secretary, executive assistant and second in charge of Covert-One. She first appears in The Cassandra Compact.
Major General Oleg Kirov: Kirov is a former officer of the KGB, a self-proclaimed 'new Russian', who now operates as a senior intelligence officer at the Federal Security Service. Kirov appears in The Cassandra Compact, and also in The Moscow Vector. In both cases, he assists Lieutenant Colonel Smith in succeeding, even though in his second appearance, the enemy Smith is fighting is Kirov's own government.
Professor Valentina Metrace: Metrace is a professor of Warfare at Cambridge who is a special weapons expert and a skillful Covert-One agent. Her only appearance is in The Arctic Event.
Star: Star is the newest member of Covert-One, a former librarian in her thirties with massive computer skills.
Andreas Beckmann: A German national who is an acquaintance of Peter Howell. He first appeared in The Janus Reprisal.