City of Thieves

City of Thieves

A Novel

Book - 2008
Average Rating:
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From the critically acclaimed author of The 25th Hour and When the Nines Roll Over and co-creator of t he HBO series Game of Thrones , a captivating novel about war, courage, survival -- and a remarkable friendship that ripples across a lifetime.

During the Nazis' brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, 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 Soviet 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 through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and behind enemy lines to find the impossible.

By turns insightful and funny, thrilling and terrifying, the New York Times bestseller City of Thieves is a gripping, cinematic World War II adventure and an intimate coming-of-age story with an utterly contemporary feel for how boys become men.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2008.
ISBN: 9780452295292
9780670018703
Branch Call Number: BEN
Characteristics: 258 pages ; 24 cm

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MelissaYAReader
Dec 05, 2017

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.

a
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.

AL_LESLEY 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.

ChristchurchLib Aug 09, 2016

Historical Thriller. During the World War II siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is jailed for looting a German soldier's body. The timid teenager shares a cell with 20-year-old Kolya, a handsome, charismatic Cossack deserter; both are due to be executed for their infractions. To save their lives, they accept a colonel's offer -- find a dozen eggs for his daughter's wedding cake, and they will be spared. But there are no eggs to be found in the starving city. And when they go behind enemy lines, they take on an even more dangerous task that will keep you anxiously turning the pages.

JCLGreggW Mar 01, 2016

Easily one of the better reads of this - or any - year, this is about two mismatched souls who have to scour a besieged Leningrad during one of the coldest months of WWII in search of a dozen eggs. (Yes, seriously.) Like many great novels, there is MUCH more going on beneath the surface - this is a book that consists of equal parts remembrance, friendship, coming of age, sacrifice, literature, and patriotism. Oh, and love, too. Benioff is a master storyteller, giving us rich, memorable characters and an amazing story, suitable for many audiences. If you're looking for a great book club pick, you won't find better.

s
shelleyfisher
Dec 08, 2015

This is a book that can be shared with anyone and they will love it. Such a good read.

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wyenotgo
Aug 03, 2015

This book has a lot going for it: High adventure, dark (but at times hilarious) comedy, intriguing characters and a compelling historical drama. It certainly has its share of gritty scenes, the setting being the siege of Stalingrad, surely one of the most vicious, cruel episodes in the history of warfare. Vast numbers of people are literally dying of starvation every day and the living must resort to the most extreme measures just to survive, even including the sale of human flesh. Human ingenuity contrives astonishing things when faced with dire necessity; for example dismantling books in order to boil the binding to extract the glue, thus concocting a sort of thin "book soup". The plot reaches its climax in a chess game played for truly life or death stakes.
Not for the faint of heart, but a wonderfully entertaining read.

p
Palomino
Jan 18, 2015

Bleak, unforgettable Russian literature from a modern master whose first book scared the hell out of me. This one seems more optimistic, at times almost like a fairytale, I wanted to share it with a young person who deserves better than today's YA nonsense, and finally decided the horrors-of-war parts were too horrible. But if you are an adult, you must read this, the writing is as fine as any Booker Prize winner, and the story makes you think.

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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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