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Six Days of the Condor (The Condor #1)

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  13,044 Ratings  ·  190 Reviews

CIA operative Malcolm, codenamed Condor, discovers his colleagues butchered in a blood-spattered office, he realizes that only an oversight by the assassins has saved his life. He contacts CIA headquarters for help but when an attempted rendezvous goes wrong, it quickly becomes clear that no one can be trusted. Malcolm disappears into the streets of Washington, hoping to e

Unknown Binding, 192 pages
Published May 1974 by W. W. Norton & Company
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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le CarréThe Bourne Identity by Robert LudlumThe Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréThe Hunt for Red October by Tom ClancyThe Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
Best Spy Novels
45th out of 879 books — 1,569 voters
The Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le CarréThe Day of the Jackal by Frederick ForsythThe Bourne Identity by Robert LudlumThe Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
25th out of 705 books — 839 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Oct 21, 2014 Checkman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of conspiracies
One of the all time classic paranoid thrillers of the 1970's and a sentimental favorite of mine. James Grady's first novel when he was in in his mid-twenties. It's very much a product of the time when he wrote it. Watergate paranoia, Vietnam, disillusionment with the U.S. government, the anti-authority attitude of the Baby Boomers and more all play a part in the plot.

To younger readers the plot will seem unoriginal. A low level intelligence analyst stumbles across a conspiracy hidden within the
Oct 24, 2010 Eric_W rated it really liked it
Shelves: spies
In an introduction to the audiobook, Grady provides some background on how he, and the intelligence community, were influenced by this book. He happened to be wandering down a street when he imagined that behind one of the doors was a secret CIA research bureau. And then he wondered what would have happened if one of the workers left and returned to find all his colleagues dead. Grady learned in 2008 from Comrade J by Pete Early, that the Russians assumed from watching the Redford movie that thi ...more
May 03, 2016 Cheryl rated it liked it
This spy thriller was made into the Robert Redford film, Three Days of the Condor. Although the plot of the book differs from the film, the basic elements remain the same. The reason for the hit on "Condor's" department differs from that of the film version. Also, the book has a more definite ending than the film. A good read, but I just like the movie better.
Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo
5 Stars


In the quiet Washington D.C. neighborhood near the Capitol is a pristine townhouse. Its plaque reads American Literary Historical Society. The headquarters ostensibly is for literary analysis, advance and achievement, but no one gets passed the front desk. Unless of course proper clearance is shown and verified. The Society is actually a Company Department Office. The research analysts read mystery and thriller novels and pass any scenarios that are too close to the mark of past an
Lewis Perdue
Sep 09, 2011 Lewis Perdue rated it it was amazing
There's Six Days of the Condor ... and then there is everything else. This is the thriller that every thriller writer wishes s/he had written. A classic that I re-read once a year just so I have something to aim for when I sit down to write.
Nancy Oakes
Dec 04, 2008 Nancy Oakes rated it really liked it
Shelves: spy-fiction
The national headquarters of the American Literary Historical Society is in Washington, DC, its purpose ostensibly for literary analysis, advance and achievement. No one goes there and takes tours -- they can't get past the main desk without proper clearance. In reality, it's a CIA office where people read and analyze mystery and spy novels (what a dream job!) to seek out correlations between fiction and fact.

One of the employees there, Ronald Malcolm, advises another employee (Heidegger) to ig
the gift
another mid-70s conspiracy thriller seen on tv when too young to fully appreciate. but remembered, watched dvd, recall too clearly the star power of redford and dunaway, very interesting to read it again and see where it was made cinematic, compressed 6 days into 3. the book is lean to begin with, the times were paranoid, but it is not too complex, just suggestive of more than we can know. the book is fun, quick, clean, unencumbered by extra psychology, complex characters, could see how this app ...more
Susan Olesen
Nov 22, 2015 Susan Olesen rated it did not like it
I almost NEVER quit on a book, but I quit this one after suffering 100 pages. It was so famous, I wanted to read it. But it was just bloody awful. Besides the unbelievable fact that the lead character kidnaps a woman, forces her at gunpoint to take him to her house, and then she just decides to climb into his bed and screw him that night? Really? I would have been out the door. It was so poorly written by today's standards that the main action - the very moment Malcolm finds out he might be bein ...more
Sep 21, 2012 Mart rated it it was ok
"Da Vinci Code" and other similar modern conspiracy thrillers are a well developed, refined product category. They have several intertwined subplots, plenty of surprising twists and substantial character development.

"Six Days of the Condor" is one of the foundation lying books of this genre. It's an early model. It's like a 70ties car compared to new, 2012 vehicles. It has everything, but everything is just far shittier in every regard. The plot is very simple. There are no twists (that's an ex
Aug 03, 2013 Corey rated it it was ok
Clumsily written (the author even used 'lay' where he meant 'lie,' which brings to mind the eternal question: where were the editors?), badly plotted, this thriller bears little resemblance to the very fine, taut Sydney Pollack/Robert Redford film made from it ("Three Days of the Condor," which should tip you that Pollack and screenplay writer Lorenzo Semple know more than Grady about pacing). In every instance where the moviemakers veered from the plot they bettered the story. This is one of th ...more
Karen B.
I'm not one to usually read spy novels but seeing that this book was the basis for the movie (titled Three Days of the Condor ) I had to find out why the difference in titles. The author gives a great explanation of this and more about how the Russians ended up modeling a section of their spy network based on the movie. Luckily I had just enough memory of the movie, but not enough to interfere with the enjoyment of the book. This book is fast-paced and was a quick read. It kept me glued to the ...more
Jul 09, 2015 Violet rated it really liked it
When I was a wee lass I watched a movie 'Three days of Condor'. Robert Redford kidnapped Fay Dunaway and then they had sex! There's a great lesson for everybody, methinks - if Robert Redford kidnaps you, sexytimes is a given.
And the book itself. I must have liked it, 'cause 4* rating. I just cannot remember why. But Robert Redford and Fay Dunaway will be forever imprinted in my brain.
Jan 14, 2016 Kelanth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spionaggio
I sei giorni del Condor, in originale "Six Days of the Condor" è un romanzo di spionaggio scritto da James Grady nel 1974. Dal romanzo è stato tratto il famoso film "I tre giorni del Condor" del 1975 diretto da Sydney Pollack, con protagonista un grande Robert Redford.

La trama del libro è presto scritta: Malcolm è un agente della CIA, non un uomo d'azione, ma un lettore di romanzi gialli che cerca coincidenze tra le trame dei libri ed azioni criminali del mondo reale. La sezione per la quale lav
May 02, 2015 Jessie rated it really liked it
This is a classic spy book, one of the first written. It was uncomplicated and easy to follow; very different from the spy books of John Le Carre. I enjoyed it a lot and found it entertaining. I thought it was interesting that it was this author's first book. The interview I heard with the author said that he started it with the idea of-- what if you came back from lunch and everyone in the office was dead. What a great premise. ** stop here for spoilers*** The man who is code named Condor works ...more
Aug 27, 2015 PirateSteve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A.K A. Six Days Of The Condor
These people won't even give a straight answer about the title of the book.
It's all about a CIA operative whose job it is to read... how cool is that.
Read this book and you'll know everything there is to know about espionage.
Also loosely adapted by Hollywood into what I thought was a good movie.
If you believe any of this, maybe spy thrillers actually aren't for you.

I did enjoy the book.
Feb 27, 2016 Erik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fast paced, well thought out, and oh so 70's... James Grady does a fantastic job creating an exciting spy thriller. No superhuman hero abilities, no shocking personal faults or vices, no twists like being gay or a cross dresser... in fact, our CIA Analyst seems just like your everyday librarian or school teacher. Now sick some very bad "bad guys" on that normal person... and watch the fun begin.

I thought the plot was decent, and the handling of our hero's abilities to foil the "bad guys" as qui
Bev Hudson
Jan 27, 2016 Bev Hudson rated it liked it
Definitely a age turner because I had to see what was going to happen next.
Dead bodies on every page. Reminded me of all the whodunnits on TV now.
Granted, I had to finish it the minute I got home with 33 pages to go, but I wouldn't recommend it to my Goodreads friends.
Nov 07, 2015 Marty rated it really liked it
Read this while I was in college, shortly after it was published. One of the best spy novels I've ever read.
Jul 10, 2015 William rated it really liked it
It would be presumptuous of me to add my praise of this work to that of the decades of more credible reviewers. So I will just note, for anyone who cares to consider it, that in my opinion this is one of the best works of its genre and its time.
Yes, reading it today the technology and some of the plot devices come across as rather antique, but if you remember pay phones, and the world without communications at the speed of light for all matters, you will really enjoy a trip back to a simpler tim
Oct 04, 2011 V. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Very short book, and some of the writing is a little basic, but it zips along quite quickly. There are lots of little details about how the intelligence agency works that are fairly convincing, and lots of deatils about the way people work that aren't. The ending is particularly unconvincing and a bit rushed (and different to the movie).

Overall, it's a fun read for the most part, but not very memorable.
First of all, gotta love the male hero forcibly and violently threatening a woman into helping him escape, and then she falls for him (obvi.) As my Nana pointed out, its a really cool premise that there is a branch of the CIA who reads spy and murder mystery novels and combs them for unintentional accuracy, or potential overseas threats. Talk about the blurring of fiction and non-fiction. I barely remember the movie, just Robert Redford mailing the three envelopes. I 100% appreciate the length- ...more
Jan 18, 2014 Zora rated it liked it
Quick read and interesting premise. Considering the book's publication date, the author gets points from me for having the female character actually do something in a fight and for saying something vaguely positive about a gay bar. Other bits of anachronism are probably accurate for their day--getting info from an airline and the DMV by making up a story over the phone, and an airport chase involving guns. Man, those were the days. :-/

Weaknesses: a bit too much exposition; unnecessary introducti
Good book. Fast-paced. Set in the 70's but still readable today. Now I want to see the movie.
Dec 16, 2015 Lena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spies. Intrigue. Action. Sex. Murder.
These are a few of my favorite things! At last a classic that exceeds expectations! It was fast paced, relevant, intelligent, and short. A must read.
James Love
Having watched the movie version, I was a little reluctant to attempt the book. I am pleasantly surprised to find once again the book is better than the movie.
Apr 28, 2014 Scott rated it really liked it
Six Days the Condor, written by James Grady, is a highly enjoyable, well written, original thriller. Sometimes, it is not easy to achieve those three criteria in the thriller genre but Six Days the Condor truly achieves all three and then some. The story starts quick and never gives up, an incredibly fast and ferocious read a true page turner. The detail is well penned and the characters are thoroughly thought out. The main protagonist, Code Name Condor, is just a pencil pusher for the CIA belon ...more
Brett James
May 19, 2010 Brett James rated it liked it
This book, and the subsequent movie entitled, "The three Days of the Condor," tell you everything you need to know about adapting novels to the screen.
Jeff Howells
Oct 26, 2015 Jeff Howells rated it liked it
The novel on which one of the greatest 70s conspiracy films (and one of my favourite ever films) '3 Days of the Condor' was based. I have to say the film is a great improvement on the book, which is a fairly average potboiler. In this novel the action takes place in Washington in the spring rather than New York in the run up to Christmas. Most of the other main set pieces are the same although the conspiracy/cover up is caused by something else entirely. In this edition of the book the author al ...more
Ian Brydon
Dec 26, 2015 Ian Brydon rated it it was ok
This was one of those rare instances where the cinema adaptation is so much better than the book that inspired it. The film, with Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway, is an espionage classic, with Redford excelling as the slightly naïve operative who, by dint of being absent on an errand at the critical moment, escapes being murdered when a hit squad storms his office.

In the film, the tension is maintained throughout, and the viewer's attention is held, effortlessly. Sadly, I found that the reverse
Rick Fisher
May 25, 2014 Rick Fisher rated it it was ok
Shelves: spy-thirller
2.5 stars
Just a little to slow for my taste. The movie was much better.
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Classic Trash: Six Days of the Condor: Finished (Spoilers) 7 4 May 09, 2016 02:02PM  
Classic Trash: Six Days of the Condor: In Progress (No Spoilers) 3 3 May 01, 2016 12:07PM  
How Prophetic Has This Book Been? 7 30 May 28, 2014 10:39AM  
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James Grady is a longtime author of thrillers, police procedural and espionage novels. He graduated from the University of Montana School of Journalism in 1974. During college, he worked for United States Senator Lee Metcalf of Montana as an staff member.

From 1974 - 1978 he was an investigative journalist for the famous muckraker Jack Anderson. Best known as the author of [Book:Six Days of the Con
More about James Grady...

Other Books in the Series

The Condor (3 books)
  • Shadow of the Condor
  • Last Days of the Condor

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“Do you thinking not getting caught in a lie is the same thing as telling the truth?"--Robert Redford from the 1975 movie Three Days of the Condor” 4 likes
“I needed a day job that required me mostly to use my mind and hands, because my heart and soul belonged to my dreams.” 0 likes
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