Thurston is the catalyst for the stories. He is the owner of the Canary’s Eye diamond and a compulsive gambler with dangerously high debts to a ruthless gambling syndicate.
He hired Woolfe to steal the diamond in order to commit insurance fraud. Both Woolfe and the syndicate were to be paid from the insurance pay out.
However, once he had the cash in hand, his addiction kicked in, and he fled the Continent. Now he has to stay ahead of both his pursuers. Woolfe wants to be paid. The syndicate wants to make an example of him.