THE TRINITY SIX by Charles Cumming
Kirkus Star

THE TRINITY SIX

KIRKUS REVIEW

A London academic risks his life to uncover a real-life, decades-old Cold War mystery in Cumming’s (Typhoon, 2009, etc.) edgy thriller. 

Over a wine-soaked dinner with his friend Charlotte, Sam Gaddis, university professor and author of several widely unread books on Soviet history, learns a tantalizing piece of information: that the Cambridge Five, a real-life KGB cell that operated in 1930s England, was actually six spies strong, and Charlotte has access to someone who claims to be privy to the sixth spy’s memoirs. Gaddis, who is in desperate need of quick cash, happily accepts his friend’s offer to collaborate on a book, but when she dies of a heart attack that night, it is up to Gaddis to find her contact—an elderly man named Thomas Neame—and complete the book on his own. Gaddis doesn't realize that Charlotte was actually murdered by an agent of the FSB (the post-Soviet successor to the KBG) because of her interest in the truth about the Cambridge Five. So he begins holding clandestine meetings with Neame, but soon wonders whether the cagey old man is telling the whole truth. When he notices that other people privy to the secret of the sixth spy are dying one by one, Gaddis decides he must publish the full story to save his own skin. But since he doesn’t know whether he can trust anyone involved in this game, uncovering the truth could cost him his life. 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.

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-312-67529-5
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2010




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