Author: David Benioff
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.
I was completely enthralled by this book. I was so excited about it, that when my husband came home from work I started to tell him about it, and ended up chronicling the book from start to finish. He now knows every single thing that happened in it. I can't believe it took so long for me to read it; my brother left it at my house a few years ago, and it took me that long to pick it up and read it. I am sorry I didn't read it sooner.
The story sounds simple: two men on a search for a dozen eggs. But it is so much more. Imagine searching for a dozen eggs during the siege of Leningrad in the winter. No one has eaten, there is no food in the city, the land is barren and cold. Dogs and cats no longer exist as pets or even on the streets. They resort to "library candy", eating the glue from the bindings of books, for the tiny amount of protein to be gained. People are desperate, and doing desperate things.
The two main characters Lev and Kolya are as different as two characters could be. A soldier, Kolya, a golden boy of 20, is affable, charming, and has an easiness of spirit, even when the chips are down. He finds things to smile and joke about, and spreads his good humor around. Lev, a 17 year old boy, is serious, a deep thinker, who does not think of himself as courageous, and admires his new comrade Kolya, even when he is annoyed at him. An unlikely pair thrown together by fate, who through their journey of only a few days become great friends. I don't want to give much away so I don't want to say much, but there are moments in this book that are so full of beauty and sadness, strength and desperation, that I never knew what was coming on the next page.
I loved this book. It was one of the best books I read in 2013, and I highly recommend it to everyone.