Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I have a fascination with Russia. It's somewhere I'd never want to live--I'd be miserably cold 90% of the time, I imagine--and yet, the people and culture intrigue me. That could be one reason why I loved David Benioff's City of Thieves but really, it's probably just because it's a good book.

So when I went to the library the other day, I had three books in mind that I wanted to check out. And of course, all three were already checked out. In my desperate search for enough books to tide me over to my next visit, I stumbled across City of Thieves and vaguely remembered hearing excellent reviews about it. I love, love, love the cover, so I was sold. (Seriously, I could see it as a poster. I'd buy it.)

Here's the basic plot: It's WWII. Lev is a 17-year-old Russian who has been jailed as a looter after stealing a flask off a dead German paratrooper. He think he's going to die but the colonel in charge gives him and another prisoner (a deserter), Kolya, a task to accomplish in exchange for their lives: find a dozen eggs. Oh, and by the way, this is during the siege of Leningrad, which is so bad that some people are turning into cannibals. The story follows their journey to find a dozen eggs.

Benioff's writing is funny, engaging, bittersweet and captures the spirit of Russia during that era. I loved the way the book was framed, which made the ending perfect. It's a short read and totally captivated me. I'm happy I read this book.

Rating: 9.5/10

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