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

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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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

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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.

HCL_staff_reviews Jul 30, 2018

When Lev is caught and imprisoned for looting during the siege of Leningrad, he and fellow prisoner Kolya are given a miraculous reprieve, contingent on the fulfillment of a nearly impossible task: find one dozen eggs for a colonel's daughter's wedding cake. Benioff is a fantastic storyteller, and this embellishment of his grandfather's true life experiences results in an engaging historical, coming-of-age adventure. — Jane B., Linden Hills Library

Apr 21, 2018

A wonderful book. Benioff captures the lives of various people caught up in the horrible Siege of Leningrad. Despite the subject matter being grim to say the least he develops characters and the interplay between them thoughtfully with wit and compassion. I got to the end of the book exhausted but still wasn't ready to put it down.

Mar 03, 2018

The Marin library has, for some reason, slapped a "teen" sticker on this novel. Had I noticed that before checking the book out I probably wouldn't have bothered. Thankfully, I didn't. This novel is one of the best, most enjoyable, and well written (wonderful dialogue and characters who come to life) novels I've read in a long while. I now want to read everything by this amazing author whether it's been slapped with a "teen" sticker or not. Why should teens get all the reading enjoyment. Wonderful book.

ArapahoeAnnaL Dec 14, 2017

From the co-creator of the HBO show "Game of Thrones," this well-written addition to the collection of WW II historical fiction portrays two young Russians in a series of adventures during the German siege of Leningrad (St. Petersburg). The horrors of war and nazism (starvation, cannibalism, genocide) are leavened by optimism, compassion, friendship, and love.

I really like the friendship that develops between the two characters. Benioff, better known for Game of Thrones is an expert at character development. This story was rich and full of detail, but it is the friendship between the two protagonists that makes this story shine. This book is gritty, realistic, and sometimes the young men can discuss things in a crude manner. What struck me most was how much humor he added to what could have been a really dark book.

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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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