City of Thieves by David Benioff
A Novel

81%

20 Critic Reviews

Benioff blends tense adventure, a bittersweet coming-of-age and an oddly touching buddy narrative to craft a smart crowd-pleaser.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

From the critically acclaimed author of The 25th Hour and When the Nines Roll Over and co-creator of the HBO series Game of Thrones, a captivating novel about war, courage, survival — and a remarkable friendship that ripples across a lifetime.

During the Nazis’ brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in his daughter’s wedding cake. In a city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation, Lev and Kolya embark on a hunt through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and behind enemy lines to find the impossible.

By turns insightful and funny, thrilling and terrifying, the New York Times bestseller City of Thieves is a gripping, cinematic World War II adventure and an intimate coming-of-age story with an utterly contemporary feel for how boys become men.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About David Benioff

See more books from this Author
David Benioff is an author and screenwriter. His first novel, The 25th Hour, was adapted into a popular feature film. His short story collection, When the Nines Roll Over, received critical acclaim.
 
Published January 1, 2008 by Viking Pr, New York, New York, U.S.A.. 258 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction
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Critic reviews for City of Thieves
All: 20 | Positive: 19 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Excellent
Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews on May 20 2010

This gut-churning thriller will sweep you along and, with any luck, propel Benioff into bestseller land.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Boris Fishman on Jul 06 2008

In its own modest way, “City of Thieves” becomes a commentary on the literary rigidities of our day.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Robert Collins on Jun 27 2009

It is Lev's vivid narration and the historical detail that make this an enthralling novel.

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Publishers Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on Feb 28 2008

Benioff blends tense adventure, a bittersweet coming-of-age and an oddly touching buddy narrative to craft a smart crowd-pleaser.

Read Full Review of City of Thieves: A Novel | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Book Reporter

Excellent
Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg on Dec 27 2010

On rare occasions we’re handed a gift of a novel that’s so filled with truth it has the power to change the way we look at the world. CITY OF THIEVES is one of them.

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LA Times

Below average
Reviewed by Donna Rifkind on May 11 2008

What does distract ruinously from the power of "City of Thieves" is the barrier between its characters' emotions and the reader's.

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Entertainment Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Jennifer Reese on May 20 2008

By listening carefully — and making the rest up — Benioff has produced a funny, sad, and thrilling novel.

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Christian Science Monitor

Good
Reviewed by Megan Wasson on May 01 2008

Benioff's tale of two Russian soldiers during the siege of Leningrad is equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking.

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Booklist Online

Good
Reviewed by Ben Segedin on May 01 2008

Seventeen-year-old Lev's adventures during the Siege of Leningrad will thrill mature readers.

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USA Today

Excellent
Reviewed by Carol Memmott on May 28 2008

This spellbinding story perfectly blends tragedy and comedy.

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Pajiba

Excellent
Reviewed by KatSings on May 01 2008

It’s worth it, every moment. If you love good literature and well developed leading characters, pick this up immediately.

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San Francisco Chronicle

Above average
Reviewed by Jesse Berrett on May 13 2008

Many of the motifs and images here seem recycled from previous war novels and movies, but Benioff's palpable love for his grandfather animates the book and lends it heart, and the dialogue is as funny and sharp as he wants it to be.

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BookIdeas.com

Good
Reviewed by Bob Walch on May 01 2008

For Lev Beniov this is an unforgettable coming-of-age situation and it is also one the reader won't soon forget.

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Oprah.com

Good
Reviewed by Cathleen Medwick on May 01 2008

As elusive a treasure as the farm-fresh eggs that could ransom their lives—makes this novel, with all its wartime horrors, as heartening as survival itself.

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Time Out Chicago

Above average
Reviewed by Jonathan Messinger on May 14 2008

Benioff is able to create an exciting, small story that touches on the horrors of war while keeping it amusing and palatable. The value of that, of course, is debatable.

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Kepler's

Good
Reviewed by Angela M. on May 01 2008

This amazingly visual story holds you spellbound until you turn the last page.

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Three Guys One Book

Good
Reviewed by Jason Rice on Jun 05 2008

Benioff gives us a thrilling ride that is a shocking and profound historical document and a wild adventure story rivaling Jack London and Toby Wolff.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by IAteTheApple on May 01 2008

If the characters' marksmanship doesn't awe you, their creative use of chess-playing and literary knowledge will.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Thanks_For_All_The_Fish42 on May 01 2008

Despite all of what is disturbing about the book, it manages to end on a happier note, one that will leave with the feeling that even though there is evil in the world, there will always be good too.

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Helium

Good
Reviewed by S.E. Mathews on Jan 14 2009

What truly sells the novel is the engaging character interaction and Benioff's silky prose because the premise, in and of itself, is not a new one.

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Reader Rating for City of Thieves
89%

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Robert Milius 17 Feb 2014

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