- Hardcover: 416 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins - GB (1 February 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007337795
- ISBN-13: 978-0007337798
- Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.6 x 24 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 662 g
- Customer Reviews: 342 customer ratings
The Trinity Six Hardcover – 1 February 2011
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Praise for The Trinity Six:
‘An utterly absorbing and compelling novel. A brilliant re-imagining of events surrounding the notorious Cambridge spy-ring’ William Boyd, bestselling author of Restless
‘Sheer excitement’ Daily Telegraph
‘Often talked of as a potential heir to John le Carré, Cumming confirms here that he’s a reliably classy storyteller … an assured and richly enjoyable thriller’ Sunday Times
‘Delicate and supremely controlled, this is a spy story to be savoured, not rushed’ Daily Mail
‘None of the new generation of spy writers lives up to the standard set by Deighton, Forsyth and Le Carré. Enter Cumming, a long-awaited light at the end of a very long tunnel … This is today's spooks at their most ruthless, with Sam, a heroic if naive amateur sleuth, taking international hitmen and beautiful female agents in his stride to get to the truth. As good as Le Carré – praise indeed’ Guardian
Praise for Charles Cumming:
‘From the first page to the last it has the ring of absolute authenticity. Tautly written, cleverly plotted…it reminded me strongly of the early books of John le Carré’ Robert Harris
‘The master of the modern spy thriller’ Mail On Sunday
‘If Cumming keeps up this standard he deserves to become an institution in his own right’ The Times
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I will endeavour not to ruin any plot details but the story which is told here is such a beautiful idea that if it were true would make me sleep better at night, alas in truth is not done justice by this book. One for conspiracy theorists maybe. I have read a number of Cumming's spy novels and they are superior to this. However, in saying that the way the plot plays out, with a decent protagonist and ends in a way befitting the background of the narrative.
I've got to admit it was an impulse buy, following the completion of the brilliant Kim Philby biography by Ben Macintyre. So my thirst for more Philby, Burgess, McLean et al, was not really quenched here. But please havea read and tell me I'm wrong
Top international reviews
Although 'The Trinity Six' is set in today's world, it's backdrop is the Cold War, and the secrets held by both the UK and Russian intelligence services. It is a historical fact that the Soviet Union recruited several high-flying Cambridge graduates in the 1930's (including Philby, Burgess and Maclean) who went on to spy for Russia whilst holding prominent UK establishment positions. It has long been rumoured that the group included a sixth, so-far unidentified person. Following the sudden death of a close friend, London university lecturer and Russian expert Dr Sam Gaddis takes on the project she was working on to uncover the identity of the sixth Cambridge spy. As he asks questions, other people die, and Gaddis realises that he has started to uncover facts which both the UK and Russian intelligence services want kept secret at all costs.
I definitely recommend 'The Trinity Six' - it's a highly-enjoyable spy thriller.
The central character in this tale about spycraft is Sam Gaddis an academic from UCL. He is 40-something and divorced and needs to supplement his academic stipend with some extra income from writing. He is an historian specialising in Russian history, he is fluent in Russian and author of biographies of Russian leaders including the current Russian president, a vertically challenged ex KGB man who goes by the name of Sergei Platov. Platov's physical attributes and rise to political dominance and neo-Tsar status is remarkably similar the actual encumbent of the office of President of Russian, Vladimir Putin.
Through a series of apparently coincidental events he takes up the investigation begun by a recently deceased friend. He is following the trail of the 6th man in Cambridge Spy Ring. Very quickly he gets in over his head, an amateur in a world of professional killers. I did not find Sam Gaddis a particularly attractive person. I certainly did not like him as much as he liked himself and I was quite content as he stumbled from one near death experience to another. Will he, won't he come to a sticky end? He gets around bit too, Spain, Russia, Austria, Hungary all play a part.
The author puts across very well that sense of being unable to decide what is true and what is false, who is who they say there are and who is not, who can you trust and who can you not trust. That 'other world' feeling is well created and the British spymaster is every bit as amoral as his Russian opponents, or should that be colleagues?
The book is well written and even though I do not read many spy stories I enjoyed this. I was prompted to buy because earlier this year I had bought and read Charles Cummings' 'A Foreign Country' A Foreign Countrywhich I enjoyed a lot. Also with a theme of espionage it was more 'thriller' in style and I enjoyed it marginally better than this but both are good entertaining reads.
Charles Cumming now moves in grand circles on the shelf with John le Carre, Gerald Seymour and Robert Harris. All in a similar genre but different styles, they write classic and enjoyable page-turners about the murky worlds of spies and politics.
If you watched or read "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy ..." or "Their Trade Is Treachery" by Chapman Pincher or other books about the same period, the late 60s, MI5 was penetrated by Soviet agents at the highest levels. Known as the Cambridge Four, members of the ring have been identified: Kim Philby (Stanley), Donald Maclean (Homer), Guy Burgess (Hicks) and Anthony Blunt (Johnson). Several people have been suspected of being the "fifth man" of the group; John Cairncross (Liszt) was identified as such by Oleg Gordievsky, though many others have also been accused of membership of the Cambridge ring. (Cf "Their Trade Is Treachery" and "Too Secret Too Long" by Chapman Pincher.)
Cumming adds further twists in a fast-moving, easy-to-read spy thriller of the old sort; no fancy gadgets, flying machines or outlandish and unbelievable heroics just "ideological convictions, duty, loyalty to one's country. Spying is about weakness - he lust for money, for status, for sex. This is the guilty secret of our secret trade". (P 74) The identity of the sixth man was one of the most carefully guarded secrets of the Cold War.
If you need more details, look at the product information or some of the other reviews; I just recommend it to those who enjoy page-turner, spy thrillers of the George Smiley sort without the hi-tech gadgets - just thinkers.
that he holds: one which even today could cause an international crisis. It eventually falls to a British academic to investigate the story after the sudden death of a friend who first brought the rumour to his attention. It becomes apparent that he is in considerable danger when he discovers that the Russian president is an integral part of the story and that their secret service are prepared to kill to prevent it coming to light. Beautifully written and a very satisfying read.
It was a great concept and a real page turner, my biggest disappointment was that it had to end. It was a book I could hardly put down. If you like this kind of stuff then read this. Word of warning though stay away from 'Typhoon' this must have been written with a hangover. All his other books are good though.
I enjoy Charles Cummings books. Started reading him after I heard him talk at the Cheltenham Book Festival in 2016, talking about Le Carre. I enjoy the trade craft details. I really enjoyed the plot twists and turns. A well written book that kept me engaged from start to finish.