Dr. Gideon Crew is a field operative for the New York-based corporation Effective Engineering Solutions, and a nuclear physicist currently on indefinite medical leave from Los Alamos National Laboratory. Crew is also a jazz enthusiast, avid fisherman, and gourmet chef.
Crew is described as tall and lanky, with long floppy jet black hair, blue eyes, and a personal style that leans toward Hawaiian shirts and cashmere sweaters. He is also missing the top joint of his right ring finger. He is a master of disguise and social engineering, with a tendency toward promiscuity fueled by a weakness for alcohol.
Gideon Crew was born in Claremont, California, to L. Melvin and Doris Crew. When he was in the seventh grade, the family moved from California to Washington DC, where Melvin Crew had taken a job as a civilian cryptologist with the United States Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) at the height of the Cold War. After a flawed encryption system resulted in one of the worst intelligence disasters of the Cold War, the blame fell to Melvin, who cracked under the pressure of the accusations, took a hostage, and was shot and killed by FBI snipers after surrendering, as a twelve-year-old Gideon looked on.
The incident left Doris Crew spiraling, as she turned to alcohol and a constant succession of men while their finances dwindled. They moved continuously. Gideon began a lifelong interest in explosives, often creating homemade pyrotechnical devices, mixing his own gunpowder, and charging neighborhood kids a quarter to watch the detonations. At seventeen, they moved to Laramie, Wyoming, where his successful liberation of an obscure forgotten woodblock print from the Laramie Historical Society and a John Steuart Curry lithograph from the Muskingum Historical Site launched his successful stint as a small-time thrillseeker art thief. The proceeds from sales of the fruits of his labors at first went to helping his mother pay rent, though after dropping out of college and moving back to California, it became a full-time endeavor. Only an exquisite pencil sketch by Winslow Homer remains in his possession.
Revelations and Revenge
Crew returned to Washington DC upon learning that his mother was dying. On her deathbed, she revealed to Gideon that his father had been made a scapegoat for the INSCOM disaster–he had, in fact, written a memo explicitly informing his superiors that the encryption standard, code-named "Thresher", was theoretically flawed. His warnings unfortunately went unheeded: Thresher was approved and implemented, the Soviets took just four months to crack it, and on July 5, 1988, twenty-six American deep cover operatives and double agents were killed. The group leader of the Thresher project, Lieutenant General Chamblee Tucker, destroyed the evidence and ordered Melvin Crew killed to silence him. Doris Crew's dying message to her son was to "even the score" with Tucker, making sure he knew why and by whom.
The revelation gave Gideon renewed purpose, and he returned to college, earning a doctorate in physics from MIT and going to work at Los Alamos National Labs in New Mexico. After several years of searching and planning, Crew found the evidence to clear his father's name and took his revenge on the general.
Effective Engineering Solutions
His mission of vengeance against Tucker caught the eye of Eli Glinn, whose company, Effective Engineering Solutions, had been hired to bring down the general. Glinn brought Crew to New York and recruited him as a freelance operator for EES.
Crew's first EES 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.
He was immediately afterward tasked 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. 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 hiding a secret that could possibly change the world.
While in the hospital being treated for injuries following his encounter with General Tucker, tests revealed the presence of an abnormal congenital tangle of arteries and veins deep in the brain known as a "vein of Galen aneurysmal malformation." The condition was inoperable, untreatable, and invariably fatal: Crew was told he had approximately one year to live.