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Clif's Book World

Adventures from reading books captured within short reviews.

City of Thieves: A Novel - David Benioff This is a well written historical novel that describes the adventures of some young Russians during the siege of Leningrad during World War II. Needless to say, it was not a good time for humanity. But if you want to tell a story of life and death, a time that concentrates the mind, you tell a story of war. There is an element of humor scattered throughout the telling of the story, but there’s nothing funny. The seriousness of the horrible actions of inhumanity are so bad that the story has to be told with some humor or it would otherwise be intolerable for the reader. But believe me, it’s not funny. But it is a heck of a story.

After reading the interview with the author at the following link, I’m convinced he’s done his research:
However, the opening bit of the book about it being based on his grandfather’s experience is pure fiction. I suppose something like the things in the story may have actually happened during the siege of the city. However, I’m inclined to think this particular plot is a bit too fantastic to be realistic.

The following review is from PageADay's Book Lovers Calendar for 11-27-12:
Lev and Kolya, committed to prison and awaiting execution for petty crimes, have a chance at freedom. If they can find a dozen eggs for the colonel’s daughter’s wedding cake, the colonel will spare their lives. Thus begins an odyssey through wintertime World War II–torn Russia that Entertainment Weekly calls “funny, sad, and thrilling” and USA Today declares “spellbinding.” For Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help, “it’s the perfect novel.”
Want to go the extra mile? David Benioff says that Harrison E. Salisbury’s The 900 Days, on the siege of Leningrad, is the book that most influenced his research.
CITY OF THIEVES, by David Benioff (Plume, 2009)