Six Days of the Condor [NOOK Book]

Overview

The novel that inspired the Robert Redford film Three Days of the Condor

Sandwiches save Ronald Malcolm’s life. On the day that gunmen pay a visit to the American Literary Historical Society, he’s out at lunch. The Society is actually a backwater of the Central Intelligence Agency, where Malcolm and a few other bookworms comb mystery novels for clues that might unlock real life diplomatic questions. One of his colleagues has learned something ...
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Six Days of the Condor

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Overview

The novel that inspired the Robert Redford film Three Days of the Condor

Sandwiches save Ronald Malcolm’s life. On the day that gunmen pay a visit to the American Literary Historical Society, he’s out at lunch. The Society is actually a backwater of the Central Intelligence Agency, where Malcolm and a few other bookworms comb mystery novels for clues that might unlock real life diplomatic questions. One of his colleagues has learned something he wasn’t meant to know. A sinister conspiracy has penetrated the CIA, and the gunmen are its representatives. They massacre the office, and only learn later of Malcolm—a loose end that needs to be dealt with. Malcolm—codename Condor—calls his handlers at the Agency, hoping for a safe haven, instead drawing another attempt on his life. With no one left to trust he goes on the run. But like it or not, Malcolm is the only person who can root out the corruption at the highest levels of the CIA.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781453229231
  • Publisher: MysteriousPress.com/Open Road
  • Publication date: 11/22/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 186
  • Sales rank: 34,464
  • File size: 535 KB

Meet the Author

James Grady (b. 1949) is the author of screenplays, articles, and over a dozen critically acclaimed thrillers. Born in Shelby, Montana, Grady worked a variety of odd jobs, from hay bucker to gravedigger, before graduating from the University of Montana with a degree in journalism. In 1973, after years of acquiring rejection slips for short stories and poems, Grady sold his first novel: Six Days of the Condor, a sensational bestseller which was eventually adapted into a film starring Robert Redford. After moving to Washington, D.C. Grady worked for a syndicated columnist, investigating everything from espionage to drug trafficking. He quit after four years to focus on his own writing, and has spent the last three decades composing thrillers and screenplays. His body of work has won him France’s Grand Prix du Roman Noir, Italy’s Raymond Chandler Award, and Japan’s Baka-Misu literary prize. Grady’s most recent novel is Mad Dogs (2006). He and his wife live in a suburb of Washington, D.C.

James Grady (b. 1949) is the author of screenplays, articles, and over a dozen critically acclaimed thrillers. Born in Shelby, Montana, Grady worked a variety of odd jobs, from hay bucker to gravedigger, before graduating from the University of Montana with a degree in journalism. In 1973, after years of acquiring rejection slips for short stories and poems, Grady sold his first novel: Six Days of the Condor, a sensational bestseller which was eventually adapted into a film starring Robert Redford. After moving to Washington, D.C. Grady worked for a syndicated columnist, investigating everything from espionage to drug trafficking. He quit after four years to focus on his own writing, and has spent the last three decades composing thrillers and screenplays. His body of work has won him France’s Grand Prix du Roman Noir, Italy’s Raymond Chandler Award, and Japan’s Baka-Misu literary prize. Grady’s most recent novel is Mad Dogs (2006). He and his wife live in a suburb of Washington, D.C.
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Read an Excerpt

Six Days of the Condor


By James Grady

OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA

Copyright © 1974 W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4532-2923-1


CHAPTER 1

Wednesday


Four blocks behind the Library of Congress, just past Southeast A and Fourth Street (one door from the corner), is a white stucco three-story building. Nestled in among the other town houses, it would be unnoticeable if not for its color. The clean brightness stands out among the fading reds, grays, greens, and occasional off-whites. Then, too, the short black iron picket fence and the small, neatly trimmed lawn lend an aura of quiet dignity the other buildings lack. However, few people notice the building. Residents of the area have long since blended it into the familiar neighborhood. The dozens of Capitol Hill and Library of Congress workers who pass it each day don't have time to notice it, and probably wouldn't even if they had time. Located where it is, almost off "the Hill," most of the tourist hordes never come close to it. The few who do are usually looking for a policeman to direct them out of the notoriously rough neighborhood to the safety of national monuments.

If a passerby (for some strange reason) is attracted to the building and takes a closer look, his investigation would reveal very little out of the ordinary. As he stood outside the picket fence, he would probably first note a raised bronze plaque, about three feet by two feet, which proclaims the building to be the national headquarters of the American Literary Historical Society. In Washington, D.C., a city of hundreds of landmarks and headquarters for a multitude of organizations, such a building is not extraordinary. Should the passerby have an eye for architecture and design, he would be pleasantly intrigued by the ornate black wooden door flawed by a curiously large peephole. If our passerby's curiosity is not hampered by shyness, he might open the gate. He probably will not notice the slight click as the magnetic hinge moves from its resting place and breaks an electric circuit. A few short paces later, our passerby mounts the black iron steps to the stoop and rings the bell.

If, as is usually the case, Walter is drinking coffee in the small kitchen, arranging crates of books, or sweeping the floor, then the myth of security is not even flaunted. The visitor hears Mrs. Russell's harsh voice bellow "Come in!" just before she punches the buzzer on her desk releasing the electronic lock.

The first thing a visitor to the Society's headquarters notices is its extreme tidiness. As he stands in the stairwell, his eyes are probably level with the top of Walter's desk, a scant four inches from the edge of the well. There are never any papers on Walter's desk, but then, with a steel reinforced front, it was never meant for paper. When the visitor turns to his right and climbs out of the stairwell, he sees Mrs. Russell. Unlike Walter's work area, her desk spawns paper. It covers the top, protrudes from drawers, and hides her ancient typewriter. Behind the processed forest sits Mrs. Russell. Her gray hair is thin and usually disheveled. In any case, it is too short to be of much help to her face. A horseshoe-shaped brooch dated 1932 adorns what was once a left breast. She smokes constantly.

Strangers who get this far into the Society's headquarters (other than mailmen and delivery boys) are few in number. Those few, after being screened by Walter's stare (if he is there), deal with Mrs. Russell. If the stranger comes for business, she directs him to the proper person, provided she accepts his clearance. If the stranger is merely one of the brave and curious, she delivers a five-minute, inordinately dull lecture on the Society's background of foundation funding, its purpose of literary analysis, advancement, and achievement (referred to as "the 3 A's"), shoves pamphlets into usually less-than-eager hands, states that there is no one present who can answer further questions, suggests writing to an unspecified address for further information, and then bids a brisk "Good day." Visitors are universally stunned by this onslaught and leave meekly, probably without noticing the box on Walter's desk which took their picture or the red light and buzzer above the door which announces the opening of the gate. The visitor's disappointment would dissolve into fantasy should he learn that he had just visited a section branch office of a department in the Central Intelligence Agency's Intelligence Division.

The National Security Act of 1947 created the Central Intelligence Agency, a result of the World War II experience of being caught flat-footed at Pearl Harbor. The Agency, or the Company, as many of its employees call it, is the largest and most active entity in the far-flung American intelligence network, a network composed of eleven major agencies, around two hundred thousand persons, and annually budgeted in the billions of dollars. The CIA's activities, like those of its major counterparts—Britain's MI6, Russia's KGB, and Red China's Social Affairs Department—range through a spectrum of covert espionage, technical research, the funding of loosely linked political action groups, support to friendly governments, and direct paramilitary operations. The wide variety of activities of these agencies, coupled with their basic mission of national security in a troubled world, has made the intelligence agency one of the most important branches of government. In America, former CIA Director Allen Dulles once said, "The National Security Act of 1947 ... has given Intelligence a more influential position in our government than Intelligence enjoys in any other government of the world."

The main activity of the CIA is simple, painstaking research. Hundreds of researchers daily scour technical journals, domestic and foreign periodicals of all kinds, speeches, and media broadcasts. This research is divided between two of the four divisions of the CIA. The Research Division (RD) is in charge of technical intelligence, and its experts provide detailed reports of the latest scientific advances in all countries, including the United States and its allies. The Intelligence Division (ID) engages in a highly specialized form of scholastic research. About 80 percent of the information ID handles comes from "open" sources: public magazines, broadcasts, journals, and books. ID digests its data and from this fare produces three major types of reports: one type makes long-range projections dealing with areas of interest, a second is a daily review of the current world situation, and the third tries to detect gaps in CIA activities. The research gathered by both ID and RD is used by the other two divisions: Support (the administrative arm which deals with logistics, equipment, security, and communications) and Plans (all covert activities, the actual spying division).

The American Literary Historical Society, with headquarters in Washington and a small receiving office in Seattle, is a section branch of one of the smaller departments in the CIA. Because of the inexact nature of the data the department deals with, it is only loosely allied to ID, and, indeed, to CIA as a whole. The department (officially designated as Department 17, CIAID) reports are not consistently incorporated in any one of the three major research report areas. Indeed, Dr. Lappe, the very serious, very nervous head of the Society (officially titled Section 9, Department 17, CIAID), slaves over weekly, monthly, and annual reports which may not even make the corresponding report of mother Department 17. In turn, Department 17 reports often will not impress major group coordinators on the division level and thus will fail to be incorporated into any of the ID reports. C'est la vie.

The function of the Society and of Department 17 is to keep track of all espionage and related acts recorded in literature. In other words, the Department reads spy thrillers and murder mysteries. The antics and situations in thousands of volumes of mystery and mayhem are carefully detailed and analyzed in Department 17 files. Volumes dating as far back as James Fenimore Cooper have been scrutinized. Most of the company-owned volumes are kept at the Langley, Virginia, CIA central complex, but the Society headquarters maintains a library of almost three thousand volumes. At one time the Department was housed in the Christian Heurich Brewery near the State Department, but in the fall of 1961, when CIA moved to its Langley complex, the Department transferred to the Virginia suburbs. In 1970 the ever-increasing volume of pertinent literature began to create logistic and expense problems for the Department. Additionally, the Deputy Director of ID questioned the need for highly screened and, therefore, highly paid analysts. Consequently, the Department reopened its branch section in metropolitan Washington, this time conveniently close to the Library of Congress. Because the employees were not in the central complex, they needed only to pass a cursory Secret clearance rather than the exacting Top Secret clearance required for employment at the complex. Naturally, their salaries paralleled their rating.

The analysts for the Department keep abreast of the literary field and divide their work basically by mutual consent. Each analyst has areas of expertise, areas usually defined by author. In addition to summarizing plots and methods of all the books, the analysts daily receive a series of specially "sanitized" reports from the Langley complex. The reports contain capsule descriptions of actual events with all names deleted and as few necessary details as possible. Fact and fiction are compared, and if major correlations occur, the analyst begins a further investigation with a more detailed but still sanitized report. If the correlation still appears strong, the information and reports are passed on for review to a higher classified section of the Department. Somewhere after that the decision is made as to whether the author was guessing and lucky or whether he knew more than he should. If the latter is the case, the author is definitely unlucky, for then a report is filed with the Plans Division for action. The analysts are also expected to compile lists of helpful tips for agents. These lists are forwarded to Plans Division instructors, who are always looking for new tricks.

Ronald Malcolm was supposed to be working on one of those lists that morning, but instead he sat reversed on a wooden chair, his chin resting on the scratched walnut back. It was fourteen minutes until nine o'clock, and he had been sitting there since he climbed the spiral staircase to his second-story office at 8:30, spilling hot coffee and swearing loudly all the way. The coffee was long gone and Malcolm badly wanted a second cup, but he didn't dare take his eyes off his window.

Barring illness, every morning between 8:40 and 9:00 an incredibly beautiful girl walked up Southeast A, past Malcolm's window, and into the Library of Congress. And every morning, barring illness or unavoidable work, Malcolm watched her for the brief interval it took her to pass out of view. It became a ritual, one that helped Malcolm rationalize getting out of a perfectly comfortable bed to shave and walk to work. At first lust dominated Malcolm's attitude, but this had gradually been replaced by a sense of awe that was beyond his definition. In February he gave up even trying to think about it, and now, two months later, he merely waited and watched.

It was the first real day of spring. Early in the year there had been intervals of sunshine scattered through generally rainy days, but no real spring. Today dawned bright and stayed bright. An aroma promising cherry blossoms crept through the morning smog. Out of the corner of his eye Malcolm saw her coming, and he tipped his chair closer to the window.

The girl didn't walk up the street, she strode, moving with purpose and the pride born of modest yet firm, knowledgeable confidence. Her shiny brown hair lay across her back, sweeping past her broad shoulders to fall halfway to her slender waist. She wore no makeup, and when she wasn't wearing sunglasses one could see how her eyes, large and well-spaced, perfectly matched her straight nose, her wide mouth, her full face, her square chin. The tight brown sweater hugged her large breasts and even without a bra there was no sag. The plaid skirt revealed full thighs, almost too muscular. Her calves flowed to her ankles. Three more firm steps and she vanished from sight.

Malcolm sighed and settled back in his chair. His typewriter had a half-used sheet of paper in the carriage. He rationalized that this represented an adequate start on his morning's work. He belched loudly, picked up his empty cup, and left his little red and blue room.

When he got to the stairs, Malcolm paused. There were two coffeepots in the building, one on the main floor in the little kitchen area behind Mrs. Russell's desk and one on the third floor on the wrapping table at the back of the open stacks. Each pot had its advantages and disadvantages. The first-floor pot was larger and served the most people. Besides Mrs. Russell and ex–drill instructor Walter ("Sergeant Jennings, if you please!"), Dr. Lappe and the new accountant-librarian Heidegger had their offices downstairs, and thus in the great logistical scheme of things used that pot. The coffee was, of course, made by Mrs. Russell, whose many faults did not include poor cooking. There were two disadvantages to the first-floor pot. If Malcolm or Ray Thomas, the other analyst on the second floor, used that pot, they ran the risk of meeting Dr. Lappe. Those meetings were uncomfortable. The other disadvantage was Mrs. Russell and her smell, or, as Ray was wont to call her, Perfume Polly.

Use of the third-floor pot was minimal, as only Harold Martin and Tamatha Reynolds, the other two analysts, were permanently assigned that pot. Sometimes Ray or Malcolm exercised their option. As often as he dared, Walter wandered by for refreshment and a glance at Tamatha's frail form. Tamatha was a nice girl, but she hadn't a clue about making coffee. In addition to subjecting himself to a culinary atrocity by using the third-floor pot, Malcolm risked being cornered by Harold Martin and bombarded with the latest statistics, scores, and opinions from the world of sports, followed by nostalgic stories of high-school prowess. He decided to go downstairs.

Mrs. Russell greeted Malcolm with the usual disdainful grunt as he walked by her desk. Sometimes, just to see if she had changed, Malcolm stopped to "chat" with her. She would shuffle papers, and no matter what Malcolm talked about she rambled through a disjointed monologue dealing with how hard she worked, how sick she was, and how little she was appreciated. This morning Malcolm went no further than a sardonic grin and an exaggerated nod.

Malcolm heard the click of an office door opening just as he started back upstairs with his cup of coffee, and braced himself for a lecture from Dr. Lappe.

"Oh, ah, Mr. Malcolm, may I ... may I talk to you for a moment?"

Relief. The speaker was Heidegger and not Dr. Lappe. With a smile and a sigh, Malcolm turned to face a slight man so florid that even his bald spot glowed. The inevitable tab-collar white shirt and narrow black tie squeezed the large head from the body.

"Hi, Rich," said Malcolm, "how are you?"

"I'm fine ... Ron. Fine." Heidegger tittered. Despite six months of total abstinence and hard work, his nerves were still shot. Any inquiry into Heidegger's condition, however polite, brought back the days when he fearfully sneaked drinks in CIA bathrooms, frantically chewing gum to hide the security risk on his breath. After he "volunteered" for cold turkey, traveled through the hell of withdrawal, and began to pick up pieces of his sanity, the doctors told him he had been turned in by the security section in charge of monitoring the rest rooms. "Would you, I mean, could you come in for a second?"

Any distraction was welcome. "Sure, Rich."

They entered the small office reserved for the accountant-librarian and sat, Heidegger behind his desk, Malcolm on the old stuffed chair left by the building's former tenant. For several seconds they sat silent.

Poor little man, thought Malcolm. Scared shitless, still hoping you can work your way back into favor. Still hoping for return of your Top Secret rating so you can move from this dusty green bureaucratic office to another dusty but more Secret office. Maybe, Malcolm thought, if you are lucky, your next office will be one of the other three colors intended to "maximize an efficient office environment," maybe you'll get a nice blue room the same soothing shade as three of my walls and hundreds of other government offices.

"Right!" Heidegger's shout echoed through the room. Suddenly conscious of his volume, he leaned back in his chair and began again. "I ... I hate to bother you like this ..."

"Oh, no trouble at all."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Six Days of the Condor by James Grady. Copyright © 1974 W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted April 19, 2013

    A Good Read!

    Very good book! I read this in the mid-70's when it was first published and recently saw the movie version again and it inspired me to reread the book. The book was fast paced and the character development was good, the story line was fair. If you liked the movie you will like the book, the movie followed close enough to really appreciate both which is pretty rare these days.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 27, 2015

    Did not like

    Was hard to follow. It jumped around to much.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2014

    B&N steals your money!

    I could not read the book on my Nook PC. I had a book I purchased in 2010 in the library, and could read it.It turns out that I changed my email address since the first book was purchased, and had registered with B&N with the old address and now also with the new. So I signed into the old account online,and found the old book. But the new book was not there. Tried three times to contact B&N with online chat to get the new book moved to my original account. They all transferred me to digital support,sic, at which point the chat session timed out and closed. Like an idiot, I updated the info in the original account,including password and some expired credit card information. And,in desperation, I ordered a second copy of "Six Days Of The Condor",using my original email address and the new credit card info. Now, after paying double for one,I have both books in my Nook library.I am ready to purchase an e-reader,and the Nook is probably the device I need. But wait!! More problems... I can read the twice paid for book but now I cannot open the old book. Nook wants my credit card number and I have no idea what card I used to purchase it. I don't know if I have the same card any more or if I do does it have the same number. Credit cards and email addresses change for various reasons, and at 82 years old my memory is not capable of keeping track of old outdated data.I will not spend over $100 for a device that won't let me read books I have lawfully purchased.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 27, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Very good read

    Short but well put together. Quite a different conclusion than the movie's, but might be considered better if you like your stories to have a definitive end.

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