City of Thieves
‘City of Thieves’ is set during the German siege of Leningrad, a nearly three-year period in WW2 where the city was cut off from the rest of the world. Though a work of historical fiction, it has more in common with a post-apocalyptic novel (it actually served as the inspiration to the hit zombie game ‘The Last of Us’) which is a testament to the horrific conditions of the siege.
The novel tells the story of buttoned-down Lev and free-spirited Kolya, two teenage prisoners assigned the impossible task of collecting a dozen eggs for an army colonel’s wedding. The interplay between these characters is a classic buddy-cop film trope, the two opposites you know are destined to become best friends. Though this could be a critique of the novel, its tendency towards the cliche, it offers enough entertainment and heart to minimize the issue.
‘City of Thieves’ is truly a one of a kind read, one I can’t help but return to every year. It seamlessly mixes action, humour and tragedy in a way few novels do. It’s an unforgettable book that will remind you why you fell in love with reading.
"In certain ways I am deeply stupid. I don’t say this out of modesty. I believe that I’m more intelligent than the average human being, though perhaps intelligence should not be looked at as a single gauge, like a speedometer, but as a full array of tachometers, odometers, altimeters, and the rest."-David Benioff, City of Thieves