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The Trinity Six [Kindle Edition]

Charles Cumming
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (189 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $9.99
Sold by: Macmillan
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Book Description

A Washington Post Notable Fiction Book for 2011



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…


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'. But Crane was much more than that - and the circumstances surrounding his death are far from what they seem.


Fifteen years later, academic Sam Gaddis needs money. When a journalist friend asks for his help researching a possible sixth member of the notorious Trinity spy ring, Gaddis knows that she's onto a story that could turn his fortunes around. But within hours the journalist is dead, apparently from a heart attack.


Taking over her investigation, Gaddis trails a man who claims to know the truth about Edward Crane. Europe still echoes with decades of deadly disinformation on both sides of the Iron Curtain. And as Gaddis follows a series of leads across the continent, he approaches a shocking revelation - one which will rock the foundations of politics from London to Moscow…


"Cumming's novel is characterized by a gripping sense of realism. He displays a vast knowledge of spycraft and Cold War history, and the dense, three-dimensional world he crafts comes complete with seedy hotels and smoky nightclubs. The result is absolutely gripping. Taut, atmospheric and immersive--an instant classic." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on The Trinity Six


The Trinity Six is a Kirkus Reviews Best of 2011 Thrillers title.



Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. British author Cumming (Typhoon) revitalizes the moribund cold war spy novel in this stunning stand-alone that centers on the "Cambridge Five" (Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean, et al.), who betrayed their country to the Soviet Union during and after WWII. Fifteen years after 76-year-old Edward Crane is pronounced dead at a London hospital in 1992, academic Sam Gaddis learns that Crane was the oft-rumored sixth man in the Cambridge spy ring—and that he's alive and ready to tell his story. Gaddis, a well-regarded scholar of modern Russia who needs money to support his ex-wife and their daughter, thinks he can turn this bombshell into a bestselling book. But the people who know about it, including one of Gaddis's best friends, journalist Charlotte Berg, are turning up dead—and the intelligence agencies in Britain and Russia would prefer to squelch the story. Cumming's knowledge of the spy business, his well-crafted prose, and his intensely engaging plot make this a breakthrough novel. 100,000 first printing. (Mar.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Books and films almost beyond number have been inspired by the �Cambridge Spies,� five well-bred, brilliant English university students recruited to spy for the Soviet Union in the 1930s. Their efforts helped Stalin defeat the Nazis, press the Cold War, and even brought down the government of Harold Macmillan in 1963. They also created a cottage industry of speculation that their number was larger. Playing on that speculation is what Cumming is up to in his latest novel. History professor Sam Gaddis, facing mounting financial problems, learns that there was a sixth Cambridge spy. People with information Sam needs for the book that will get him out of debt begin to die, and Sam must wonder not only if he will be next but whether his assailant will come from Russia�s FSB or Britain�s MI6. Cumming�s plot is appropriately convoluted, and the convolutions drive the narrative. The characters are well drawn, especially Sam and a sly 91-year-old former spook in a nursing home. Cold War hot spots, including Moscow, Berlin, Vienna, and Budapest, as well as Cambridge circa 1933, are rendered skillfully. The Trinity Six is a fine successor to Typhoon (2009) for a young author already compared with le Carr� and Littell. --Thomas Gaughan

Product Details

  • File Size: 1129 KB
  • Print Length: 369 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; Reprint edition (March 15, 2011)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00486UAWU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,365 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
84 of 86 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have long been fascinated by true life tales of espionage, and so I was excited to pick up Charles Cumming's "The Trinity Six." Cumming has begun to make a name for himself within this genre, and it's easy to see why. In "The Trinity Six," he takes on one of the most notorious spy rings ever discovered and puts his own fictionalized spin on things. The Cambridge Five included Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean, John Cairncross, Anthony Blunt, and Kim Philby. All students at Trinity College in the 1930s, these individuals were recruited by Russian Intelligence and took important stations within the British establishment before meeting their individual fates as the truth became uncovered. I have followed this stunning account in both non-fiction and fictionalized formats for years ("Another Country" with Rupert Everett representing Burgess--but named Bennett--is one of my favorite film incarnations of the group's early days). I'd undoubtedly describe myself as a bit of a nerd on the topic! In "The Trinity Six," Cumming presents a scenario in which there was a sixth spy--one that went completely undiscovered!

Set in modern day, the story revolves around a British historian (of Russian history) and author named Sam Gaddis. Gaddis happens upon what might be the biggest scoop of his life and soon becomes entrenched in finding out about the British Government's involvement in covering up this sixth individual. Things turn dangerous as those who have relevant details of the case start turning up dead. Never knowing who to trust or who to turn to, Gaddis starts unraveling the plot which includes espionage, double agents, and a treacherous secret big enough to topple a foreign regime.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good thriller March 4, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The premise of this thriller is interesting, the characters mainly believable, and the well-layered plot drives you along, but just not as intensely as I would have liked.

I won't offer any spoilers, but the general idea is that the five Cambridge spies were actually six, in that one more associate spun off to Oxford, worked for the Soviets for awhile, then flipped into a double agent. The first part of the book is all about a London prof and biographer of the current Russian leader (Sergei Platov, a paper-thinly-veiled riff on Vladimir Putin) who is in financial straits and needs a new bestseller book deal. And certainly a book revealing a sixth spy in the infamous ring would lead to that. But when the main character turns over that rock it reveals all manner of slimy and unpalatable creatures; deaths ensue; international travel and intrigue; a chase; and a new, deeper, darker mystery unfolds, one that British intelligence has been hiding for decades.

Again, the idea and premise of the plot is good. I just found the execution too predictable. I knew who the sixth man was too quickly and the essence of the second secret, if an interesting idea, was neither surprising nor entirely credible (some scenes drawn in the Kremlin might have helped). Maybe I just read too many thrillers.

The main character, Sam Gaddis (a choice of last name as homage to one of the great Cold War scholars, perhaps) is well drawn and believable, if a bit more adventurous that one would expect a college prof to be. And the story is entertaining enough and full of some interesting bits of history.

Koroche, in the end, this is a decent beach read that could have used a bit more tension and might have benefited from a bit more Russian flavor.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There were five. They were upperclass British men, educated in the best schools, went to Cambridge before World War II. Some were homosexual, some not. They were successful, impressive and smart. They were also the Soviet Union's best spies. Burgess, MacLean, Philby, Blount...the names still resonate. But there were always rumors about a sixth man who was never caught. For years there were rumors about a prime minister being part of it, Harold Wilson. In this cracking good spy thriller, Charles Cumming starts out slowly as Professor Sam Gaddis, a well known professor of Russian History who has just written a negative biography of the Russian President, finds out from a recently deceased friend that the sixth man may want to come in out of the cold. The story builds and builds and the tension rises until you just cannot put the book down.

The spy thriller has become fairly moribund since the end of the Cold War...maybe this sort of thriller-historical will resuscitate it. "The Trinity Six" certainly proves that the genre is alive and well.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First rate espionage novel February 7, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If you like espionage, buy this book. The first 100 pages seemed a little dull and dry at first but I found out later that it was necessary background. The rest of the book more than made up for it. It was exciting to the very end. Being American, I had to adjust to the colourful spelling and the plurals for company and organization names. I liked that it took place in many countries--United Kingdom, Spain, New Zealand, Austria and Hungary. The characters were unique and well described and you can't beat double agents. The action was understated. If you like Ian Fleming or Ken Follett this many not be the book for you. If you like LeCarre, you'll love it. I will definitely read more of Charles Cumming's books.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I was happy with my choice
My failing to read the Winston Churchill WW II series has been an on-going source of guilt. After reading the first to volumes, I needed a break. Read more
Published 13 hours ago by Sewickley Ronpa
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard to Put Down
Great story; well-written. Not deep, but pure enjoyment.
Published 11 days ago by Michael Alterowitz
4.0 out of 5 stars Good character faced with a tricky problem
Starts strong and fades a bit at the end. Good character faced with a tricky problem. Did not reach the solution that I came up with.
Published 12 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Still reading, but excellent
Published 19 days ago by Charles Tegeler
5.0 out of 5 stars Great spy novel
This is my first read by this author, and I'm hooked! It's a very satisfying spy novel - one I couldn't put down. The fact that it is well written makes it even better. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Suzanne T
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
👍👍👍👍👍
Published 29 days ago by domingo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Better than Le Carre comparable to Greene
Published 1 month ago by Michael Lion
5.0 out of 5 stars For those who love anything to do with espionage and Burgess
For those who love anything to do with espionage and Burgess, Philby and Maclean, this is a book to enjoy.
Published 1 month ago by Susan O'Neill
4.0 out of 5 stars A dark time in the British espionage game!
Great story of the spies who betrayed Britain and her allies for years. Was there a sixth spy? Mr. Cumming certainly makes a good case here, very possible. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars a number of his characters impress as similarly opinionated and...
The plot is complex and interesting enough. However, I gain a strong impression that the author is highly opinionated and uses his work to express his strong impressions on a... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Peter Sorensen
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More About the Author

Charles Cumming is a British writer of spy fiction. He was educated at Eton College (1985-1989) and the University of Edinburgh (1990-1994), where he graduated with 1st Class Honours in English Literature. The Observer has described him as "the best of the new generation of British spy writers who are taking over where John le Carré and Len Deighton left off".

In 1995, Charles Cumming was approached for recruitment by the United Kingdom's Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). A Spy By Nature, a novel partly based on his experiences with MI6, was published in 2001. The novel's hero, Alec Milius, is a flawed loner in his early 20s who is recruited by MI6 to sell doctored research data on oil exploration in the Caspian Sea to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

In 2001, Charles Cumming moved to Madrid. His second novel, The Hidden Man (2003), tells the story of two brothers investigating the murder of their father, a former SIS officer, at the hands of the Russian mafia. The Hidden Man also examines the clandestine role played by SIS and the CIA during the Soviet war in Afghanistan.

Charles Cumming's third novel, The Spanish Game (2006), marks the return of anti-hero Alec Milius, who becomes involved in a plot by the paramilitary Basque nationalist organization ETA to bring down the Spanish government. The Spanish Game was described by The Times as one of the six finest spy novels of all time, alongside Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Funeral in Berlin and The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Typhoon, published in 2008, is a political thriller about a CIA plot to destabilise China on the eve of the Beijing Olympics. The story spans the decade from the transfer of the sovereignty of Hong Kong in 1997 to present-day Shanghai. In particular, the author highlights the plight of the Uyghur Muslim population in Xinjiang, a semi-autonomous region of The People's Republic of China. The acclaimed novelist William Boyd described Typhoon as "a wholly compelling and sophisticated spy novel - vivid and disturbing - immaculately researched and full of harrowing contemporary relevance."

In March 2008, Charles Cumming published an interactive online story, The 21 Steps, as part of a Penguin We Tell Stories project. Readers follow the protagonist's travels through Google Maps. Cumming's novels have been translated into six languages. His work is published in the United States by St Martin's Press. In 2009, Cumming left Penguin to join Harper Collins. His fifth novel, The Trinity Six, a thriller about the Cambridge spies, is published in the United States in March 2011.


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