David Benioff brings his cinematic skills to the page in this fast-paced and captivating novel based on his grandparents’ survival of the siege of Leningrad. Imprisoned for looting a German paratrooper’s corpose, Lev’s life will only be spared if he and fellow prisoner Kolya can find a dozen eggs for the commanding Colonel’s daughter's wedding cake. Lev and Kolya find horror beyond imaging, but also improbable hope and humor as they search the city and beyond in their nearly impossible quest.— Sara, Atlanta
“During the siege of Leningrad in WWII, two young men are sent on an improbable errand. The horror of war is only heightened by the lightness with which Benioff handles their evolving friendship and the grim task that evolves from their mission. Great characters and authentic historical background make this a surprisingly winning novel.”
— Russ Lawrence, Chapter One Book Store, Hamilton, MT
“I have just met two of the most likable and remarkable characters, Lev and Kolya, young Russian men trying to survive the Siege of Leningrad who are given a chance to save themselves from death if they can find a dozen eggs for the wedding cake of the daughter of a powerful and ruthless Russian colonel. Thus begins an odyssey that is at times disturbing, but the beauty of this novel is in the writing. It contains humor along with sadness, and these two men forge a friendship that is priceless.”
— Carol Katsoulis, Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, IL
“Set against the war-torn backdrop of Leningrad, two teenage boys end up, through stranger and stranger twists of fate, traveling cross-country to find a dozen eggs in exchange for their very lives. In the process, they learn more about human nature, both in themselves and others, than can possibly be explained. Wickedly funny and incredibly sad, it's far too short to be this lovely -- and yet it is.”
— Russ Marshalek, Wordsmiths Books, Decatur, GA
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From the critically acclaimed author of The 25th Hour, 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, 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.