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The Trinity Six

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  3,732 Ratings  ·  422 Reviews
The 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.
Hardcover, 406 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by HarperCollinsPublishers (first published January 1st 2011)
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Dec 02, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
I had stumbled upon this book in my library. The author was new to me but the interesting storyline made me give this book a try.

Before I come to my review of the book, please allow me to say a few lines about the Cambridge Spy Ring . The Cambridge Spy rings refers to the students of Trinity College, University of Cambridge who had been recruited by the Russian intelligence. Members of the ring identified: Kim Philby, Donald Duart Maclean, Guy Burgess, Anthony Blunt and John Cairncross. Later,
Joseph Finder
May 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2015
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
Jul 03, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, fiction, thrillers
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
Nov 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
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
Feb 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews
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 Barnsley
Jun 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
Rob Kitchin
Jul 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ed Schneider
Jul 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 09, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hmm not convinced and only on p56
Dec 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
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
Bev Taylor
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
dr sam geddes is a lecturer, an expert in russian history. unfortunately his last book did not sell well and now he finds he needs more money, especially as his e-wife is chasing him for extra funds for their daughter's schooling

he then finds a lead for a book that could solve all his problems but this story f a lifetime becomes an obsession that could kill him

bodies start piling up - all who had links - plus he is being led down dead ends and sold re herrings. he has the secret service to con
Apr 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2018
History professor Sam Gaddis learns from a journalist friend that she has uncovered leads indicating that there may have been a sixth member of the infamous Cambridge spy ring, one who was never revealed to the public and may even be still alive. Shortly after the conversation, the friend turns up dead. Trying to follow in her footsteps and unravel the mystery behind the potential sixth man himself, Sam begins to track down her contacts and gets himself embroiled in mortal danger as one by one, ...more
Zohar -
Mar 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
“The Trinity Six” by Charles Cumming is a fictional spy thriller focusing on the theory that the Cambridge Five (a ring of English Trinity College students who were spies for Russia – Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean, John Cairncross, Anthony Blunt, and Kim Philby) had a sixth member. As always, what gets the politicians is usually never the act, but the cover up.

Dr. Sam Gaddis, a British historian of Russian history, has a problem, he owes a ton of money after his divorce and his ex-wife, who marrie
Sep 14, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Mal Warwick
Apr 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Laurie Johnston
Apr 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tribute to wily 90 year-olds!

Sam Gaddis, a Russian scholar, is broke, but thinks he can write a best-selling book from research left by a journalist friend.

Before she unexpectedly dies, Gaddis’s friend, Charlotte Berg, confides she’s unearthed a possible sixth to a notorious 1930s ring of Cambridge-recruited Russian spies. Her source? Irascible Thomas Neame. He claims he’s the sixth man’s confidante, is ninety-one and hard to find. But Gaddis, aided by Charlotte’s notes, tracks Neame down in
Feb 25, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 19, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Rodrigo Acuna
Jun 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Knowledge can be deadly

This is a book that looks back at the cold war and recreates some of the atmosphere of fear and treachery that the west and the Soviet block instituted, it also revives how much of that shadow still is with us. By presenting us with a very recognisable master spy from the east that still holds power and demands that old soviet love of exercising fear as a form of respect.

A good plot that explores the old history while creating a new myth that that straddles our real world
Gerald Sinstadt
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
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
Nov 29, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
May 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: espionage
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
Carey Combe
Mar 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
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topics  posts  views  last activity 1 2 Jan 03, 2017 02:10AM  
really good spy novel 4 35 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.
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