City of Thieves by David Benioff
Genre: Historical fiction
Four months into the siege of Leningrad, the city is starving. Seventeen-year-old Lev fears for his life when he is arrested for looting the body of a dead German paratrooper, while his charismatic cellmate, Kolya, a handsome young soldier arrested for desertion, seems bizarrely unafraid. Dawn brings, instead of an execution squad, an impossible challenge. Lev and Kolya can find a dozen eggs for an NKVD colonel to use for his daughter's wedding cake, and live. Or fail, and die.
In the depths of the coldest winter in history, through a city cut off from all supplies and suffering appalling deprivation, man and boy embark on an absurd hunt. Their search will take them through desolate, lawless Leningrad and the devastated countryside surrounding it, in the captivating journey of two men trying to survive against desperate odds.
This was a great book, the language flowed and he has real talent. He also writes screenplays, and I have seen the movies but I can say I like this book better.
The book takes place during the siege of Leningrad (St Petersburg), young Lev gets caught stealing from a dead German and brought to prison. There he and another man, a deserter gets a choice, bring him 12 eggs and they will get back their freedom. Not the easiest thing to do since the siege has lasted for a long time and there is nothing to find in the entire city. Only one thing to do, leave the city.
This book has it all cannibals, the horrors and brutality of wars, the civilians who suffer, and those who just try to get by. It is not really a tale about war. Since it focus on the hunting for the eggs, but while they hunt they see all these things. What the war has done to the people of the city and those behind enemy lines. The truth is always horrible.
I like Lev, he wants to survive, and being Jewish does not help later on. Kolya boasts about everything, women, his knowledge, and he also complains about not having gone to the bathroom for 9 days. They are a odd couple, and Kolya is trying to learn his little friend a thing or two about women.
It is a captivating story, great characters, and they are not entirely caught up in the whole propaganda machine. The book was researched and he captured the country. Not to mention he managed to make it less horrible too, they could still smile about things and that sure helped the reader too.
I do not think I have ever read a book about the "enemy", since when I think about those years I think about the 2 wars we fought against the Russians. Since they and the Germans had divided up Europe between them and tried to take everything they could. And we who were on the side the Russian wanted were the only ones to so to say get away. And we were mentioned too. Of course they had to mention the knives, honestly even I think about Finns like that. I also learnt something new, did not know we had the worlds best sniper. Funny that, learning something new about your own history. He sure did his homwork.
Blodeued's Cover Corner: Nice and fitting
Reason for reading. Library book
Final thoughts. Highly recommended