The book starts off in London, 1992 with the death of Edward Crane. He was 76 years old and died in a hospital. His obituary described him as a career diplomat. On the surface nothing would seem strange abut a 76 year old man dying, but in time we learn that his death was not what it seemed.
Sam Gaddis is a professor at University College London in Russian History who gets involved in researching a ring of Soviet and British spies - the Trinity Six. He is tipped off by a journalist friend of his who dies after telling him about the story she is working on. Sam is convinced she was killed to silence the story but has no proof. He continues investigating on his own, drawing both the attention of MI6 and the FSB. He wants to stop but is compelled by the story and hopes to score a big book deal with the completed story as he is heavily in debt.
At times Sam's not sure who if anyone he can trust, although he continues to get information from multiple sources. I enjoyed it until the very end. While some reviewers were frustrated by Gaddis' mistakes I thought they made him more believable. He is not a spy, he is an academic, of course he's going to make some mistakes and take some risks. I feel like the ending wasn't very realistic, as all the loose ends are too neatly tied up in the end. Not sure if Cumming is planning a sequel (this was published in 2011), which could make the ending make sense.
Still I've missed the Cold War spy novels and this definitely is reminiscent of those. I also appreciated the similarities between the fictional President of Russia - Sergei Platov - and Vladimir Putin. I would be willing to try another by this author, but first I think it's time I read one of John le Carre's since I never have.