Eli Glinn is the president of Effective Engineering Solutions, Inc. A former Special Forces operator, Glinn is an expert psychological profiler who developed computer programs that can predict, to a certain extent, human behavior. He is confined to a wheelchair due to injuries sustained at sea during an EES operation off the southern coast of Chile, chronicled in The Ice Limit.
Glinn was orphaned at the age of two when his parents were killed in a plane crash. After a string of foster homes, he found himself in a military academy, where he found a thirst for great challenges, solving extremely difficult problems. During an advanced cryptanalysis class, the professor assigned a problem that had never been solved, known as the Michelson Conjecture; Glinn worked on it for forty-eight hours straight and had the solution ready for the next class.
As an intelligence operative in the army, Glinn came up through the Airborne, then the Rangers. He quickly became an expert at prisoner interrogation, photo reconnaissance, underwater demolition, and counterintelligence. His team was among the best in the field during the Vietnam War, excelling in hot-war situations and holding an impressive kill-loss ratio. During an operation to secure a bridge on the Cambodian border, they were given bad intel on enemy placements, and most of the team was killed; only Glinn and his engineering specialist, Manuel Garza, survived.
Still driven by the challenge of the impossible, Glinn founded EES after leaving the military, with Garza on board as an engineer. One of their first failure analysis projects was the plane crash that had killed his parents (the cause was a ruptured fuel line).
At EES, Glinn developed a suite of computer programs that work together to predict how a single person will react in a given situation, using history, sociology, and statistics. He called it Quantitative Behavioral Analysis, or QBA, based loosely on the fictional discipline of "psychohistory" from Isaac Asimov's Foundations series.
Seven years after EES was founded, billionaire Palmer Lloyd hired them to expropriate the world's largest meteorite from Chile for his new museum. EES secured the twenty-five thousand ton meteorite on a specially outfitted supertanker Rolvaag but were pursued by a Chilean destroyer with a rogue captain. Rare miscalculations by Glinn led to the destroyer crippling the Rolvaag, which was then wrecked in a storm. The supertanker and the meteorite went to the bottom under two miles of water, and three-quarters of the crew died–over one hundred people, including captain Sally Britton, the only woman Glinn ever envisioned himself capable of loving.
Lloyd was among less than two dozen who survived, and he blamed Glinn for the sinking of the boat and the deaths of the crew members. Glinn himself had gone down with the ship and had been presumed dead until a news report placed him at Lloyd's office building as the billionaire was preparing for another expedition to destroy the meteorite. Lloyd's obsession with the meteorite slowly drove him to madness. Glinn shared the same obsession, though it manifested itself quite differently in his own meticulously organized head: it became EES's primary focus.
Eli Glinn's name was the result of an exhaustive search by Constance Greene on behalf of FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast to find an entity capable of constructing a complete psychological profile of the agent's younger brother, Diogenes, based solely off of information provided by Aloysius. Glinn was fascinated by Aloysius, recognizing his rare intellectual equal. Glinn quickly surmised that a critical piece of information was missing, either repressed or deliberately withheld by Pendergast, and the agent's initial session with EES psychologist Rolf Krasner devolved into an intellectual game between doctor and patient, ending with Pendergast continuing to assert that the information Glinn sought–the cause of Diogenes's hatred of Aloysius–did not exist.
Glinn nonetheless completed the profile on Diogenes as promised, although the resulting file was so disturbing he immediately sought out Aloysius, who had been confined to Bellevue prison as a result of his efforts to stop Diogenes. He enlisted the help of Pendergast's closest associates: Proctor, Constance Greene, and NYPD sergeant Vincent D'Agosta, to break the incarcerated agent out of Herkmoor federal prison, where he was due to be transferred. The operation was successful, and once the elder Pendergast was safely back at EES headquarters, Glinn immediately brought him up to speed on the activities of his sibling, and again inquired about the missing piece of information. When Aloysius again claimed it did not exist, Glinn convinced him to undertake a memory crossing. Taken aback by the extent of EES's knowledge of his own personal history, Pendergast nevertheless agreed, and ultimately uncovered and related the details of The Event.
Glinn and EES returned their attention to the meteorite and soon realized they would require the services of an expert in nuclear weapons design. Glinn recruited a scientist from Los Alamos National Laboratory named Gideon Crew, a former art thief and magician with an inoperable terminal condition.
To evaluate and acclimate Crew to EES, his first assignment, detailed in Gideon's Sword, was to steal a highly secret and valuable set of electronic plans–believed to be for a new superweapon–from a Chinese scientist who was on a flight bound for the United States.
Glinn immediately afterward tasked Crew with defusing a hostage situation involving a former Los Alamos co-worker. Chronicled in Gideon's Corpse, Crew uncovered a nuclear threat from a mysterious terrorist cell set to unleash a devastating attack in just ten days.
Having finally made the decision to become a full-time EES operative, Crew was next asked to steal a single page from a priceless Irish national treasure, the Book of Kells–the finest illuminated manuscript in existence. When he successfully delivered it, Glinn shocked the operative by promptly placing the page into a chemical bath that dissolved the intricate artwork, seemingly leaving nothing but a blank page. But behind its gorgeously illuminated imagery, the stolen page contained a map dating back to the ancient Greeks, revealing the location of a small unknown island in a remote corner of the Caribbean. The island was the host of a strange lotus root with miraculous healing properties that could change the world. Though the island and its unique protector were both lost, EES managed to save a single root, from which they began working to replicate its regenerative properties. Glinn himself served as an early test subject, beginning with the raw lotus root itself, and the results were incredibly positive: he began feeling stronger and healthier by the day, improving to the point where just a month after the end of the mission, he was able to slowly rise from his wheelchair and walk a few short assisted steps. By the events of Beyond the Ice Limit, he had all but abandoned the wheelchair, and claimed his vision and even the grip in his ruined hand continued to improve daily.