City of Thieves

City of Thieves

A Novel

Book - 2008
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A writer visits his retired grandparents in Florida to document their experience during the infamous siege of Leningrad. His grandmother won't talk about it, but his grandfather reluctantly consents. The result is the captivating odyssey of two young men trying to survive against desperate odds.
Publisher: New York : Viking, Plume, 2008
ISBN: 9780670018703
Characteristics: 258 p. ; 24 cm
Call Number: BENIOFF, D


From Library Staff

Offensive Language; Sexual Content

List - Now Featuring: Holidays
DCLadults Dec 01, 2016

Looking for a little historical fiction to sink your snowshoes into? This slightly dark, yet witty tale takes place in frozen, war-torn Russia during the Nazis' siege of Leningrad. Two survivors agree to a seemingly impossible mission to save themselves. A favorite!

List - WWII Historical Fiction
DCLadults Sep 20, 2016

A thief and a deserter are given an impossible task during the Nazi’s siege of Leningrad: Find a dozen eggs for the wedding cake of a Soviet colonel’s daughter. The two journey through the deprived city, giving insight to the devastation of the war through an unmanageable expedition.

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Sep 16, 2020

Zakaria recommendation

Sep 08, 2020

I rarely read books like this with violence and misery. This one engrossed me, however, so I recommend it!

Apr 17, 2020

An astonishingly well-crafted story, full of heart-ripping details, poignancy, as well as humour. There is so much humanity woven into the storyline of two young men - whose characters are wholly realized - struggling through the siege of Leningrad on a mission that will save their lives. Their hazardous mission takes us through the barbaric horrors of war, but not without doses of humour and hope and with a full wallop of honesty. Bennioff constructs their whole world for us. I rarely give full stars – this book earned every one.

Dec 24, 2019

One of the two best books I read this year. Benioff has a smooth, easy writing style. The story is interesting the whole way through that takes the reader back to WWII. Well defined characters.

IndyPL_JoannaW Sep 28, 2019

A ridiculous quest. Two quirky young men who become buddies. A devastating depiction of the Siege of Petersburg. Atrocities. Humor. Wonderful complex characters. Dramatic events. A love story. A coming of age story. Strange events: vendors selling jars of dirt from a sugar factory to a starving population. This is a compelling read…enjoyable and rich in details. Highly recommended.

Jul 12, 2019

I also texted Greg (see below), he was actually pretty indifferent. Set during the siege of Leningrad, this is a darkly comic adventure store from the David Benioff, who wrote the novel on which the film "25th Hour" is based on but will be forever be known as the "Game of Thrones" showrunner. He mentions consulting "The 900 Days" for the history, but I'd also recommend "Leningrad: Tragedy of a City Under Siege" and "Symphony for the City of the Dead," which is about the composer Shostakovich, who endured the siege and wrote one of his most famous symphonies about it.

Jun 23, 2019

Sent to Greg -- he texted he loved it!

Feb 19, 2019

Audiobook on Hoopla

Jan 04, 2019

oh my;; i can't recommend this book enough. extremely intense, beautifully written, amazing dialogue- i can't praise it enough. it kept on giving. it incredibly funny but it also pulled in the rawness of life in Russia during WW2. a great read- i couldn't put it down.

IndyPL_AnikaW Dec 04, 2018

Benioff's short novel would be a great selection for a book discussion group.

You're never quite sure how much of this tale is fiction and how much comes directly from sitting down and talking about the siege of Leningrad with the author's grandfather.

Moving adroitly from laugh-out-loud humor to dismal-yet-captivating description of the horrors that occured during the siege, the reader feels fully immersed in Levi's coming-of-age story. Not an easy feat to craft a page-turner of fiction dwelling on an historic event of WWII where 632,000 individual souls perished.

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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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