City of Thieves

City of Thieves

A Novel

Book - 2008
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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
Characteristics: 258 p. ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

A writer learns his grandfather's story about how a
deserter and he tried to secure pardons during the
siege of Leningrad by gathering ingredients for a
powerful colonel's daughter's wedding cake.

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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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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runfastread Mar 18, 2014

runfastread thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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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