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Review: “City of Thieves” by David Benioff (audio)

February 20, 2010

Several months ago, my brother picked up City of Thieves by David Benioff.  When I asked him how it was, he replied that he’d stayed up until 4am just to see how it ended.  That was enough of a recommendation for me, so I picked up a copy.  Like so many of my other books, it’s been waiting patiently on my shelf for its turn on the nightstand.

Recently, browsing my library’s selection of downloadable audiobooks, I noticed that City of Thieves was available.  In two days, I listened to the whole thing.

Set during the Siege of Leningrad during World War II, the novel is told from the perspective of Lev Benioff, the author’s (fictional?) grandfather.  Spanning only a few days, it is nonetheless replete with gripping action and memorable characters.  Arrested for looting the corpse of a German soldier and for being out past curfew, Lev finds himself thrown together with Kolya, who turns out to be quite a colorful character, quite the foil to the more reserved Lev.  They are brought before the Russian colonel, who takes their ration cards and gives them a task.

Their assignment is simple: they must procure a dozen eggs for colonel’s daughter’s wedding cake by the following week.  Should they fail, they will either be killed by the colonel’s men or starve without their ration cards.  What follows is their search for this precious commodity, which brings them face-to-face with unspeakable atrocities and unforgettable people.

I second my brother’s recommendation.  Pick this book up in written or audio form and it’s sure to hold you spellbound from beginning to end.

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