The Trinity Six
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The Trinity Six

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  1,918 ratings  ·  305 reviews
A "Washington Post" Notable Fiction Book for 2011The most closely-guarded secret of the Cold War is about to be exposed - the identity of a SIXTH member of the infamous Cambridge spy ring. And people are killing for it...

London, 1992. Late one night, Edward Crane, 76, is declared dead at a London hospital. An obituary describes him only as a 'resourceful career diplomat'....more
Paperback, 418 pages
Published 2011 by Harper Torch
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Joseph Finder
Loved this book. Here's what I told BOOKLIST:

What is it about British spy novelists? From Graham Greene and Geoffrey Household and Eric Ambler to Ian Fleming, Len Deighton, and John le Carre—for some reason, when it comes to writing about espionage and betrayal, nobody does it better than the Brits. Something about the miserable weather in London, maybe? That whole declining Empire thing? Whatever the reason, the good news is that there’s a new heir to the throne: Charles Cumming, whose latest...more
F.R.
It wasn’t just MaClean, Burgess, Philby, Cairncross and Blunt in the Cambridge Spy Ring – there was a sixth man. In Charles Cumming’s novel his history emerges and promptly entangles itself with the past of a Putin-like Russian President; whist in the middle a battered, but oh-so-sexy, historian tries to figure out the truth in an ever more dangerous world where murder is stalking him.

There are good ideas in this book, and it would have been interesting to see what a Le Carre, Deighton or even...more
Geevee
With my library copy and a few days off over the Easter period, this was a page turning and enjoyable read.

With not too much cerebral investment required by me, I met Dr Sam Gaddis and the other characters in this novel of spies, espionage and deception of a retired Secret Intelligence Service officer who being the undiscovered Sixth Man of the Cambridge Five (the real spy ring who were recruited by the Russians in WWII and the 1950s and who successfully in various guises passed information abou...more
Jim
An extremely good Cold War thriller set in the present day when our protagonist, a British professor, finds himself investigating claims surrounding the classic Cambridge affair and the Cold War decades afterwards. It seems that there are still people out there who don't particularly like the fact that he's doing research and dredging up old stories, but who's trying to kill him and those close to him? In today's thriller world, most geopolitical thrillers involve Muslim extremists, and for good...more
Rob Kitchin
At the heart of The Trinity Six are two compelling premises: that there was a sixth Cambridge-recruited Russian spy working at the heart of British intelligence, and that Platov (a thinly disguised Putin) has a dark secret that would topple him and which needs protecting at any cost. The plot cleverly twists these in and around each other, providing a compelling reason for the danger in Gaddis’ investigation. The novel unfolds as a pretty conventional spy thriller (including Gaddis bedding a muc...more
Miles
The film “The Third Man”, the Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti (or KGB as it’s widely known in the West) and Katarina Witt all have something in common – although the latter is a tenuous link at best, they are all mentioned in Charles Cumming’s “Trinity Six” – a tale of spies, political skullduggery, cold war secrets and a Russian expert hell-bent on discovering an intriguing truth that has remained a secret for decades.

Full Review on my blog:- http://www.milorambles.com/2011/02/22...

Way bac...more
Liz Wilkins
So, Hannah and Kate having made me dive into my first spy thriller with the wonderful “A Foreign Country” by the same author, were kind enough to send me a copy of one of his other novels “The Trinity Six” Yes I love those girls! Because this was absolutely superb once again.

Sam Gaddis, Academic, needing money after facing rising childcare costs and a huge tax bill, is searching around for a story that he can turn into a book. He stumbles onto the possibility of a sixth spy, hidden from history,...more
Roger Pettit
A quotation from a review in the UK Sunday newspaper The Observer on the inside front cover of the paperback edition of this book compares its author with Len Deighton and John le Carre, and states that he is a natural successor to both those giants of recent espionage fiction. However, on the evidence of The Trinity Six, which is the first novel by Charles Cumming that I have read, I think the author is actually carrying on where Eric Ambler left off. A typical Ambler hero is an ordinary person...more
Ed Schneider
I'm a huge Le Carré fan and enjoy British secret service shenanigans, moles, deceptions and the like. Charles Cumming mixes in the real history of Philby, Bland and the other Trinity Five traitors with his fictitious tale of a possibly secret sixth participant in the counterspy episode. It is a quick-reading novel that I read at bedtime and found myself staying up later and later to find out the important part of any book -- the "what happens next" part.

The protagonist, Sam Gaddis, is a professo...more
Gerry
The fact that the book has only two stars from me is because I struggled to come to terms with fact and fiction.

'The Trinity Six' begins by outlining what Burgess, MacLean, Blunt, Philby and Cairncross had been up to so was quite gripping. It then drifted to fiction, which in fairness it is and doesn't claim to be anything else, when Sam Gaddis appeared and, hard up, he wanted to make some money by exposing the sixth member of the Cambridge group. And he went to any sort of length to get the tru...more
Nyree
Hmm not convinced and only on p56
Mark
Comparisons and marketing can often hurt a book more that help it. The Trinity Six is a case in point. When you start comparing a book to LeCarre's Karla Trilogy, you start raising the bar pretty high - and it's a bar set too high for Charles Cumming's somewhat perfunctory thriller. If anything, this feels more Dan Brown than Len Deighton, with a professor protagonist, huge swaths of poorly-disguised exposition and backgrounding, and a series of twists and turns always laid out in the last sente...more
Sebastian
Sam Gaddis ist Professor für russische Geschichte am angesehenen University College London und hat sich durch seine Veröffentlichungen einen Ruf als ausgesprochener Russlandexperte erarbeitet. Dazu zählt auch sein neuestes Buch “Zaren”, in dem Gaddis einen Vergleich zwischen Peter den Großen und dem derzeitigen russischen Präsidenten Sergej Platow zieht. Allerdings wird das Werk trotz der Reputation seines Autors von der Presse weitestgehend vernachlässigt und bleibt auch kommerziell hinter den...more
Nancy
What do you say when a "thriller" isn't thrilling? I'm struck speechless, or more accurately, wordless.

There were many elements of this book that I like, and seek out. I enjoy reading about academics that land out of their element and have to cope. I like a quiet the process of a quiet man becoming a man of action, and all that stuff. And this book had those elements which I responded to in a very positive way.

I also am a great John Le Carre fan and like the cold war, spy vs. spy thing. So when...more
John
I've been working my way steadily through Charles Cumming's backlist and I think this is the best so far. It helps that it relates back to the lodestone for much of British spy fiction, the Trinity Five; and it builds very cleverly from that base and links it to the modern world.
The protagonist is another version of Cumming's flawed heroes, albeit a bit older, and I found my self in sympathy with him from quite early on,
Like all good spy stories, the plot twists and turns with alacrity and it is...more
Barb
I had not read Charles Cumming before "The Trinity Six" but it will not be the last book of his that I will read. I enjoy spy thrillers and this no exception. It is not a constant action page turner but rather a "make you think and try to figure out" plot. Just when you think you know where it is going, it goes in another direction. Not being British there were some references not familiar to me but I just researched them and [hopefully] added a bit to my knowledge and vocabulary. Sam engaged me...more
Deb
Until reading "Trinity Six", I have not been particularly attracted to Cold War spy thrillers for some reason. Perhaps the dark underbelly of sanctioned deceit has read too much like horror stories for me to "appreciate" the intrigue, power plays, and lack of remorse required by the spying sector. With that attitude, I could let the Cold War spy stories stay in the past. Today, however, it appears that the Cold War was a misnomer by Russian standards, and we might think more truthfully of it as...more
Michael Martz
I'd give this 3.5 stars if I could. The writing is solid, but at times I almost feel like the author was telling a non-fiction story. The prose is pretty dry and straightforward, and nowhere near as gripping as what we've read in his later books. The story is quite interesting and it's tricky to follow the actions of the various characters, none of whom may be who you (or the protagonist) think they are and all of whom have hidden agendas. I thought the character development was a little light,...more
AntKathy
A review of this book prompted me to purchase it -- what could be better than a novelization of a sixth member of the Cambridge spy network, that had never been made public? Cumming's "The Trinity Six: A Novel" was well written and exciting -- the tale of a UCL professor, who specializes in Eastern European studies, and who is unexpectedly gifted with the opportunity and materials to track down an unnamed Cambridge (Trinity College) spy. Caught in the middle of British Intelligence and the FSB,...more
Gerald Sinstadt
The Trinity Six reads like the work of an author who has read a lot of espionage stories without conveying a sense of really knowing it from the inside. No amount of research into the names of streets in Berlin or railway stations in Hungary can compensate for this absence of authentic knowledge. Credulity struggles to accept staff of the Secret Intelligence Services in London frequently referring to each other as "spies."

The writing is at best competent, the characterisation superficial and str...more
Carey Combe
I thought the first 100 or so pages was a bit too too cliched and predictable, but after that I couldn't put it down it was very tense and realistic and the end was worthy of the build-up ( Unlike others, I didn't guess it!). Reasonably believable characters, but a great one for lovers of spy thrillers!
Davis Farnham
I've drifted away from the spy genre but selected this as a vacation paperback and was rewarded accordingly. My feeling is this isn't in the highest pantheon of Le Carre and others but very good and provided interesting background on the post Cold War intrigues.

It appeared that the Sergei Platov character was very much modeled on Putin and the direction that Russia is taking under him. Referencing recent assassinations of journalists and other movements toward a totalitarian state under Putin m...more
Chip
3, maybe 3.5 stars. Good, and certainly better than your average crappy airport bookstore "thriller", but not great. May/will probably read more by the author, but not frantically running out to look for his other books.
Janet Martin
A slightly less stubborn and naive protagonist would have earned this book another star. Brilliantly performed by John Lee.
george burns
The Five Live Again

The Soviet penetration of British intelligence during World War 11 is one of the greatest espionage stories. We know there were five moles, but what if there was a sixth man? That is the premise of this exciting thriller. Using a technique pioneered by Eric Ambler, the author propels an innocent outsider into the mix of lies, betrayals and murders. But this protagonist, a professor of Russian history, is not so innocent: his problems are of his own making and he is not a parti...more
Marsha
Okay, it was a bit slow and rough going at the beginning of the book, mostly because of all of the names, titles, and abbreviations, but if you can hang on through that part the remaining story is quite interesting. I don't think I've ever read a Russian Spy novel before and I have to admit that I just might have to look for a few more (I received this book through first reads). As the synopsis is quite detailed above already, I'm not going to spend time rewriting that part. I think that the aut...more
Tricia
The Trinity Six: A Novel
By: Charles Cumming

As soon as I started this book I was questioning the whole point; the beginning of the book contains the crucial information about the sixth man in The Trinity Six. We know his name from the get-go, so I wondered what the next 354 pages would contain.
Unfortunately it wasn't much.
The characters are boring and there is really nothing to them. There is nothing written that makes them likeable to me. Not to mention there are a ton of names dropped and I cou...more
Mal Warwick
Much of the latter-day literature of espionage is based, directly or indirectly, on the notorious “Cambridge Five” — young, bright Cambridge men seduced by the lure of Communism as undergraduates during the tumultuous 1930s who spied for the Soviet Union during World War II. Their defection to the USSR following the war created what was arguably the greatest spy scandal in modern history. For many years thereafter, rumors of a “sixth man” continued to roil the waters of the British Secret Intell...more
Lynn
The Trinity Six presents the possibility of a sixth man that was part of the Cambridge Five spy ring. Sam Gaddis is a Russian history professor and writer. Due to a divorce, tuition fees for his daughter's school and a slow selling book he finds his financial resources stretched thin. His best friend Charlotte, a journalist, throws him a lifeline over supper. She is researching an article on the sixth man and has found some credible sources. Charlotte knows there will be strong interest for a bo...more
Tommy /|\
I'm not always that into spy/thriller books. I make a few exceptions - usually for Tom Clancy and that lot -- especially when I know the storyline is compelling, fun and has a lot of character development. Cumming does not disappoint this triad of requirement for me.

I requested the book from the Early Reviewers program at Library Thing solely because I was familiar with the saga of the Cambridge Five and the purported myth of a sixth individual. The story started out somewhat slowly, with a lot...more
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really good spy novel 4 28 Aug 06, 2014 02:37AM  
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Charles Cumming is British writer of spy fiction. His international bestselling thrillers including A Spy By Nature, The Spanish Game, Typhoon and The Trinity Six. A former British Secret Service recruit, he is a contributing editor of The Week magazine and lives in London.

http://us.macmillan.com/author/charle...
More about Charles Cumming...
A Foreign Country A Spy by Nature The Spanish Game Typhoon The Hidden Man

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“He believed in the unarguable notion that if a young person is lucky enough to read the right books at the right time in the company of the right teacher, it will change their life forever.” 5 likes
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