My Review | City of Thieves

City of ThievesCity of Thieves by David Benioff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

David Benioff, the creator of the Game of Thrones HBO series, wrote this book. It is about two men paired together to go on an impossible mission, a quest for a brutal military man, to find a dozen eggs in war-worn Leningrad with their lives on the line. So it’s a road picture with landmines, bad guys everywhere, during the Nazi blockade of the starving city now called St. Petersburg, which I visited in 1994 for the Goodwill Games.

Colonel Grechko puts the two leads on this quest: Lev, a 17-year-old Jewish boy trying to survive on this own, and Kolya, a solider arrested for deserting his regiment. The Colonel’s daughter is getting married and the eggs are need for a cake.

“Off we go, then, on a tour into the haunted theme park of modern European history. It is January 1942, the first winter of what would become a 900-day siege … As if caught in a nightmarish folk tale, Lev and Kolya chase rumors of eggs but find only a series of bleak and mostly gruesome dead-ends. “ – Los Angeles Times

They leave the city for the countryside, which brings more dangers. In one of the best sections of the book finds the duo in a country cottage awaiting the Germans, very nerve-racking and tense. Later they fall in mercenaries bent on hunting down Nazi death squad members; a dangerous vocation.

I loved these two guys; they are caught in between the Germans and the Russians.

“Stealing the show in the novel, Kolya keeps Lev distracted with his hilarious mini-lectures on history (“All the Frenchmen with [guts] died on the way home from Moscow in 1812”); literature (“Oblomov is a morality lesson . . . a little trifle you make your kids read so they don’t grow up lazy”); and sex (“The secret to winning a woman is calculated neglect”) along with periodic updates on the state of his bowels.” – Washington Post

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