Dec 3, 2014

The Condor Flies Again

Thirty-seven years after he last wrote about the character, James Grady is revisiting his most famous creation. Ronald Malcolm, hero of the classic 1974 novel Six Days of the Condor and its 1978 sequel, Shadow of the Condor, will return next year in the provocatively titled Last Days of the Condor. According to the publisher's copy, "Last Days of the Condor is the bullet-paced, ticking clock saga of America on the edge of our most startling spy world revolution since 9/11. Set in the savage streets and Kafkaesque corridors of Washington, DC, shot through with sex and suspense, with secret agent tradecraft and full-speed action, with hunters and the hunted, Last Days of the Condor is a breakneck saga of America’s secrets." Grady previously explored the post-9/11 intelligence world with the Condor concept in an odd "reimagining" of his classic novel, a short story entitled "" That tale was about a new, young Condor; this one is about the original Condor in his old age. The Kirkus Review provides a few more details about the plot of the new novel:
All these years after achieving notoriety as a CIA whistle-blower, the silver-haired Condor lives on the edge of reality. Put on meds for every conceivable kind of post-traumatic disorder following a heart attack, he's visited by ghosts and gets "lost in time." When a distrusting federal agent assigned to monitor his recovery is found brutally murdered in Condor's apartment, [Condor] is the prime suspect.
That kind of makes it sound like more of a sequel to the movie version, 3 Days of the Condor, than the book. In the movie, the hero (rechristened Joe Turner and played by Robert Redford) ultimately blows the whistle on the CIA, an iconic finale both in keeping with its own post-Watergate, post-Pentagon Papers, post-Church Committee times (in which the country was deeply distrustful of the government and its intelligence agencies) and uncommonly prescient regarding our own (countless contemporary spy movies including Green Zone and Safe House have copied that ending, and supporters of Edward Snowden constantly compare him to Condor). In the book, there is no whistle blowing. Perhaps Kirkus Review is referring to something that happens in Shadow of the Condor, I suppose; I haven't read that one. But one could hardly blame Grady for incorporating the mythology of the film into his literary Condor world. While the book is inarguably one of the cornerstones of the modern espionage genre, there is little doubt that today more people are familiar with the story through the Sydney Pollack-directed movie. As a fan of both versions, I just hope he goes to the trouble of reconciling the two. According to Grady's publicists, the forthcoming sequel has already been optioned for a film itself, by MGM. (It would be quite cool if Redford could be lured into reprising his famous role.)

Last Days of the Condor hits shelves on February 17, 2015, published by Forge, and is available for pre-order on Amazon now.

No comments: