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City of Thieves: A Novel by David Benioff
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City of Thieves: A Novel (original 2008; edition 2008)

by David Benioff

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3,5832581,473 (4.19)301
Member:booksandwine
Title:City of Thieves: A Novel
Authors:David Benioff
Info:Viking Adult (2008), Edition: First Edition, First Printing, Hardcover, 272 pages
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City of Thieves by David Benioff (2008)

  1. 20
    The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad by Harrison E. Salisbury (MartinRohrbach)
    MartinRohrbach: Vom Autor selbst als Referenz in dem Buch erwähnt.
  2. 10
    The Siege by Helen Dunmore (GCPLreader)
  3. 21
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (avalon_today)
    avalon_today: Kolya reminds me of Rudy, a bit older but none wiser, with his self-assurance and confidence, ok maybe he has lost some of his sweetness, but I still see the humor and zest for life.
  4. 00
    Wolf Among Wolves by Hans Fallada (infiniteletters)
  5. 00
    Wolves Eat Dogs by Martin Cruz Smith (jennyl.keen)
  6. 01
    Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith (Ciruelo)
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» See also 301 mentions

English (241)  German (7)  Dutch (2)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  Norwegian (1)  Italian (1)  Swedish (1)  All (256)
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Synopsis: Thrown in prison together in a starving city during siege, two prisoners are called to the colonel who sets them on a mission: to find a dozen eggs to make a wedding cake for his daughter who is about to get married. Bring back a dozen eggs (the only missing ingredient) and they will be given their ration cards back. Come back empty handed? ...

- '"You bring me the eggs by sunrise Thursday, you get them back. You don't, well, you've got all of January to eat snow, and there won't be any cards waiting for you in February, either. That's assuming one of my men doesn't find you and kill you before then, and my men are very good at that."' (p.54)

My Opinion: From page one the plot starts running! Every chapter takes a slight twist. Encounters with other people on their mission keep things on edge - are they out to get them, or people who have their best intentions at heart?

We quickly grow fond of the the pair on the mission - Kolya, an easygoing, more risk-adverse personality with more life experience and 17 year-old Lev, keen to find the eggs ASAP and return safe and sound to the city.

Without giving anything away, the plot twist at the end made me want to go back to the start and read it all over again. ( )
  Moniica | Feb 25, 2017 |
On first reading City of Thieves doesn't seem like a great book for a Book Club.

In fact it seems like nothing else but a treatment for a movie, (The author has written for "Game of Thrones" and other TV and movie venues) or just a easily disposable airport bookstore book of casual historical fiction.

Or maybe not,

At the siege of Leningrad two lamebrains - a looter and a deserter - are sent out into the starving city on a mad quest -- to obtain a dozen fresh eggs for the colonel's daughter's wedding cake.

So it's a buddy comedy - set in the hunger and cold and sudden death or a frozen war zone.

And it's a quest novel - and a coming of age novel - and a lot of other things too. It's some solid fast paced story telling.

You can nit pick - these two birds feel more like Archie and Jughead than two soulful Russians - or you can groan at the rather tacked on happy ending - or you can just go with it.

The horrors of war and siege and starvation are much in evidence here too. Be warned.

It's not a patch on the depth and passion of Vasily Grossman's Life and Fate which covers the same ground with epic majesty and genuine tragedy. But it was a good book. You might give it a try.
  magicians_nephew | Feb 10, 2017 |
City of Thieves is the story of a boy living in Russia during World War II. The storyline was fantastic and unlike anything I have ever read. It's not your typical war story: Leningrad is under seize by the Nazis during the unforgiving Russian Winter. When a boy is caught trying to loot a Nazi fighter pilot's body, he just barely misses being executed. Instead, he is assigned the unorthodox task of finding eggs to bake a cake. This seems like a pretty minor task but one must remember that people are eating shoes and wood shavings in this city.

The plot line is very well written. Although it is a grim tale, the adventurous spirit and humorous characters keep the story alive. The bizarre but comical mission the main character and his friend, an ex-soldier, are given tangles them up in all sorts trouble. The ex-soldier is portrayed as a sarcastic man who performs best when he is under pressure. He is a junky for danger and tense situations. Therefore, his character development really tied the book together. ( )
  stefanb777 | Jan 18, 2017 |
This work of historic fiction loops the reader in from the very beginning and the author deftly intertwines horror and humor in a tale that keeps the pages turning. I generally dislike gratuitous F*bombs and otherwise coarse language in books, but in this one, it seemed quite appropriate, not only for the shock value of it, but because it just seemed to fit the circumstances and made it much more realistic. Benioff is a talented writer and I think I'll have to find more of his books. ( )
  daatwood | Dec 28, 2016 |
This book has a deceptively simple plot: During the siege of Stalingrad, a colonel offers to spare the lives of Lev, a teenager arrested for looting, and Kolya, a soldier accused of desertion, if they find a dozen eggs to bake a wedding cake for the colonel's spoiled daughter. The only problem, of course, is that everyone in Stalingrad is starving to death and the city is surrounded by the German army. But over the course of four days, Lev and Kolya will discover what they truly value about their country and themselves: they will discover courage and friendship and love and change each other's lives forever. Benioff has meticulously researched this book and his characters come alive on the page, especially the irrepressible Kolya. I usually wish novels were shorter but this is one book I wanted to be longer: my time with Lev and Kolya was all too short. ( )
1 vote BHHSLIBRARY | Oct 11, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Benioff, Davidprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gyllenhak, UlfTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Perlman, RonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ven, Sandra van deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
and if the City falls but a single man escapes
he will carry the City within himself on the roads of exile
he will be the City

Zbigniew Herbert
At last Schenk thought he understood and began laughing louder. Then suddenly he asked in a serious tone, "Do you think that the Russians are homosexuals?"
"You'll find out at the end of the war," I replied.

Curzio Malaparte
Dedication
For Amanda & Frankie
First words
My grandfather, the knife fighter, killed two Germans before he was eighteen.
Quotations
The Nazis had printed thousands of invitation cards to a grand victory party Hitler intended to throw at the Astoria Hotel after conquering, what he had called, in a speech to his torch-bearing strom troopers, "the birthplace of Bolshevism, that city of thieves and maggots." Our soldiers had found a few of the invitations on the bodies of fallen Wehrmacht officers. They had been reprinted in the newspapers, copied by the thousands, and nailed to walls all over the city. The Politburo hacks could not have devised better propaganda. We hated the Nazis for their stupidity as much as anything else--if the city fell, we wouldn't leave any hotels where the Germans could sip schnapps in the piano bar and bed down in the deluxe suites. If the city fell, we'd bring her down with us.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0452295297, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:13 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Documenting his grandparents' experiences during the siege of Leningrad, a young writer learns his grandfather's story about how a military deserter and he tried to secure pardons by gathering hard-to-find ingredients for a powerful colonel's daughter's wedding cake.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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