James Cronley is an agent with the CIA.
At least he will be. Once the CIA exists. As we first meet Cronley, the Agency is just being formed and the people who would become its founding members are being collected and vetted and indoctrinated. It will be an exciting and worrisome time for each of them because there are no rules for this sort of thing and no manual for how things are to be done.
Add to that there is a tremendous amount of negative energy being directed towards the nascent group. The Soviet Union does not want the competition which means its brand new satellite states do not as well. The FBI is as turf-conscious as it can be and the idea of the new kid on the block is not well received. The Pentagon is particularly upset because the genesis of the CIA was the Office of Strategic Services and the brass wants to believe they controlled it, whether they actually did or not.
So into this bubbling pot of potential and anxiety and jealousy, young agents like Cronley quickly learn there is no safety net for them and a fall usually meant death.
We meet 2nd Lt. Cronley, an officer in the U.S. Army Cavalry, in late October of 1945 when he has just come back from a mission for the OSS in which he removed from the possess of Nazis fleeing to Argentina a good amount of uranium oxide meant for their continued atomic weapon research. The recognition for this successful mission extended up the chain of command to the President and would be a major factor for his jumped promotion to Captain and his movement soon thereafter to the newly formed Central Intelligence Group, later changed to the CIA.
Cronley is described as a "handsome young officer - blond, six-foot-one, 212 pounds" and further said to be a "lanky and tanned Texan". He is the son of an influential man born and bred in the Lone Star state and a German WWI war bride. He is dashing in his uniform and a bit jauntey in his demeanor and not a little sassy when the opportunity arises. He is also newly married the day after his return from South America and then widowed the next day due to a drunk truck driver.
Though the beginning history of the CIA is richly detailed with intimate conversations and actions by the key players include Truman, the key actor in most of the action described is Cronley, a 22-year old man who had already shown enough success that the first Director of the new agency had dubbed him "Super Spook".