In the first weeks after World War II, a squeaky-clean new second lieutenant named James D. Cronley Jr. is spotted and recruited for a new enterprise that will eventually be transformed into something called the CIA. One war may have ended, but another one has already begun, against an enemy that is bigger, smarter, and more vicious: The Soviet Union. The Soviets have hit the ground running, and Cronley's job is to help frustrate them, harass them, and spy on them any way he can.
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James Cronley thought he had done well - he didn't know he'd done this well. His first successful mission for the about-to-be-official new Central Intelligence Directorate has drawn all kinds of attention, some welcome, some not. On the plus side, he's now a captain; promoted to Chief, DCI, Europe; and in charge of a top secret spy operation. On the minus side, a lot of people would like to know about that operation, including not only the Soviets, but his own Pentagon, as well as a seething J. Edgar Hoover.
January 1946: Two WACs leave an officers' club in Munich, and four Soviet NKGB agents kidnap them at knifepoint in the parking lot and shove them in the back of an ambulance. That is the agents' first mistake, and their last. One of the WACs, a blond woman improbably named Claudette Colbert, works for the new Directorate of Central Intelligence, and three of the men end up dead and the fourth wounded.