Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Trinity Six” as Want to Read:
The Trinity Six
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Trinity Six

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  2,611 ratings  ·  352 reviews
"A smashing Cold War thriller for the twenty-first century." --People magazine

Recruited in the 1930s, the members of the Cambridge spy ring were the most notorious Soviet spies in history. But what if there were a sixth member of the ring whose identity was never revealed?

"A lively thriller…astute…inventive…a notable addition to the accounts of the Cambridge spies." --The
Paperback, 512 pages
Published November 26th 2013 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2011)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Trinity Six, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Trinity Six

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
It is 1992, a few years after the cold war and in a hospital in London late one night, a low level diplomat, Edward Crane is declared dead. But Crane was much more than that, and not everything is as it seems.

A decade and a half later, Sam Gaddis, an academic with a particular interest in Russia, suddenly has a mountain of debt to pay. The huge tax bill, and demands from his ex wife means he needs to land a lucrative book deal. An old friend hints that she is onto the story of a lifetime, that s
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
What is it about certain male authors who feel the need to create good-looking, bad boy men in their forties who are irresistible to women half their age? Is it wish fulfillment? Or do these men really believe that all hot twentysomething women are panting after fortyish men? I specify hot, of course, because these male characters certainly wouldn’t care if a non-hot twentysomething wanted to leap into bed with them.

This particular fortyish bad boy is Sam Gaddis, the main character of The Trini
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
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
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
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
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
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:-

Way bac
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,
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
Falko Rademacher
I'm a bit astonished about the praise this book received. It's not total crap, but flawed in many ways. The writing style is not very elegant and absolutely humourless. Most annoyingly, Cumming likes to state the obvious again and again, explaining and interpreting everything that happens and is said, so the readers don't have to use their brains by themselves - it's almost insulting. This book has been written mainly for people who don't like to think on their own.

So fantastically clever as he
Hmm not convinced and only on p56
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
I thought this book would be about the Anthony Blount Guy Burgess affair, in other words, a modern day spy thriller that revealed some truths about a past historical event. Instead, it was just glancingly about the past, resolving itself instead into a pretty boring spy story with all the standard female agents and double crossing bosses that have become a cliche of the genre. Not badly written, but I thought the protagonist was an ambitious user who gave lip service to worrying about putting hi ...more
I am a fan of cold war spy novels and hold John LeCarre's Smiley trilogy, starting with Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy to be perfection in this genre. I've read and enjoyed some of Charles Cumming previous books such as Typhoon so this was a natural to try.
It was a great disappointment. This one was not as good as Typhoon. The storyline involves the discovery of a possible sixth double agent conspirator along with Kim Philby, John Cairncross, Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean and Anthony Blunt who were
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Patrick SG
This book by the reliably readable Charles Cumming is almost like two different books pieced together. A lot of detailed exposition makes up the first 40 percent of this book - including a necessary section where two of the main characters spend a good deal of time just conversing. Interspersed with this part are hints of the drama and action that make up the second half of the story. The first part contains lots of history on British espionage of the mid-20th century. But if you're not that int ...more
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.
Pep Bonet
If you thoght that spy books were over, that they belonged to the Cold War, take a look at Charles Cumming. You might think, as I do, that The Trinity Six doesn't compare with good old Le Carré's books, but still, it's a good book. It has all the ingredients in it. I must admit that I read first his latest book: A Colder War: Free Sampler and I found the latter better, more complete, more sad as well, more realistic and philosophical. But I spent a very good time reading the story of the sixth m ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
really good spy novel 4 32 Aug 06, 2014 02:37AM  
  • Potsdam Station (John Russell, #4)
  • Bloodmoney: A Novel of Espionage
  • The Miernik Dossier (Paul Christopher #1)
  • The Arms Maker of Berlin
  • The Nearest Exit (The Tourist, #2)
  • A Spy's Life
  • The Prodigal Spy
  • The Runner
  • Kingdom of Shadows (Night Soldiers, #6)
  • Red To Black (Anna Resnikov, #1)
  • London Match (Bernard Samson, #3)
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.
More about Charles Cumming...
A Foreign Country A Spy by Nature A Colder War The Spanish Game Typhoon

Share This Book

“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
More quotes…