City of Thieves

City of Thieves

Book - 2008
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When a dead German paratrooper lands in his street, Lev is caught looting the body and dragged to jail, fearing for his life. He shares his cell with the charismatic and grandiose Kolya, a handsome young soldier arrested on desertion charges. Instead of the standard bullet in the back of the head, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful colonel to use in his daughter's wedding cake. In a city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation, Lev and Kolya embark on a hunt to find the impossible.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2008.
ISBN: 9780452295292
0452295297
Characteristics: 258 pages, 20 cm.

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gothiclibrarian Dec 04, 2018

Benioff's short novel would be a great selection for a book discussion group.

You're never quite sure how much of this tale is fiction and how much comes directly from sitting down and talking about the siege of Leningrad with the author's grandfather.

Moving adroitly from laugh-out-loud humor to dismal-yet-captivating description of the horrors that occured during the siege, the reader feels fully immersed in Levi's coming-of-age story. Not an easy feat to craft a page-turner of fiction dwelling on an historic event of WWII where 632,000 individual souls perished.

HCL_staff_reviews Jul 30, 2018

When Lev is caught and imprisoned for looting during the siege of Leningrad, he and fellow prisoner Kolya are given a miraculous reprieve, contingent on the fulfillment of a nearly impossible task: find one dozen eggs for a colonel's daughter's wedding cake. Benioff is a fantastic storyteller, and this embellishment of his grandfather's true life experiences results in an engaging historical, coming-of-age adventure. — Jane B., Linden Hills Library

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tirjan
Apr 21, 2018

A wonderful book. Benioff captures the lives of various people caught up in the horrible Siege of Leningrad. Despite the subject matter being grim to say the least he develops characters and the interplay between them thoughtfully with wit and compassion. I got to the end of the book exhausted but still wasn't ready to put it down.

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redtayres
Mar 03, 2018

The Marin library has, for some reason, slapped a "teen" sticker on this novel. Had I noticed that before checking the book out I probably wouldn't have bothered. Thankfully, I didn't. This novel is one of the best, most enjoyable, and well written (wonderful dialogue and characters who come to life) novels I've read in a long while. I now want to read everything by this amazing author whether it's been slapped with a "teen" sticker or not. Why should teens get all the reading enjoyment. Wonderful book.

ArapahoeAnnaL Dec 14, 2017

From the co-creator of the HBO show "Game of Thrones," this well-written addition to the collection of WW II historical fiction portrays two young Russians in a series of adventures during the German siege of Leningrad (St. Petersburg). The horrors of war and nazism (starvation, cannibalism, genocide) are leavened by optimism, compassion, friendship, and love.

I really like the friendship that develops between the two characters. Benioff, better known for Game of Thrones is an expert at character development. This story was rich and full of detail, but it is the friendship between the two protagonists that makes this story shine. This book is gritty, realistic, and sometimes the young men can discuss things in a crude manner. What struck me most was how much humor he added to what could have been a really dark book.

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Ash898
Jan 06, 2017

I started this book and couldn't put it down, I've never been a fan of reading stories based around war but even the most harrowing scenes don't last very long and there is a certain comedic feel throughout. It's a short book but I felt the characters were very well rounded. There was never a boring moment. Loved it, would read it again and again.

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gilmango
Nov 29, 2016

Not a big fan of "war stories" but what a great read, maybe my favorite book of the last 10 years. Such a shame that the writer only seems to write for Hollywood and Game of Thrones now. I cannot seem to rate it here but would give it 5 stars. My wife loved it too as did her book club.

j
JaniceDeG
Nov 14, 2016

I'm definitely not in the majority here as most seemed to have presented positive comments regarding this book. Personally, I found it bleak and boring, so much so that I opted to abandon it and move onto something more interesting.

ArapahoeLesley Nov 09, 2016

I am so sick of WW2 fiction, but this book.... this book breaks that mold and was a joy to read. There was tragedy, hilarity, love, friendship, and impossible quest and just about everything else you can think of. Excellent book.

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runfastread Mar 18, 2014

runfastread thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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IvanBello
Apr 26, 2012

IvanBello thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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siammarino Nov 15, 2014

Lev and Kolya are natives of Piter during the siege of Leningrad. The unlikely pair get thrown together in a jail and are offered their freedom if they can come up with a dozen eggs for the wedding cake of an official's daughter. Great historical novel that recounts the siege from the Russian point of view. Characters display humor, courage and ingenuity. Loved the bittersweet ending.

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