Sunday, November 08, 2009

Cannonball Read - Book 79

Book 79 was City of Thieves by David Benioff. Here's the book jacket description:

"Stumped by a magazine assignment to write about this own uneventful life, a man visits his retired grandparents in Florida to document their experience during the infamous siege of Leningrad. Reluctantly, his grandfather commences a story that will take him almost a week to tell: an odyssey of two young men determined to survive, against desperate odds, a mission in which cold, hunger, and the Russian authorities prove as dangerous as the invading Wehrmacht.

"Two young men meeting for the first time in a jail cell await summary execution for crimes of dubious legitimacy. At seventeen, Lev Beniov considers himself 'built for deprivation.' Small, smart, insecure about his virginity, he's terrified about the sentence that awaits him and his cellmate, the charismatic and grandiose Kolya, a handsome young solider charged with desertion. However, instead of a bullet in the back of the head, the pair is given an outrageous assignment: In a besieged city cut off from all supplies, secure a dozen eggs from a powerful colonel to use in his daughter's wedding cake. Lev and Kolya embark on a hunt to find the impossible in five days' time, a quest that propels them from the lawless streets of Leningrad to the devastated countryside behind German lines. As they encounter murderous city dwellers, guerrilla partisans, and finally the German army itself, an unlikely bond forms between this earnest teenager and his unpredictable companion, a lothario who maddening, and endearing, bravura will either advance their cause or get them killed."

It was great. Totally engrossing, and incredibly realistic. And now I need to go do research on the siege of Leningrad - and I love it when historical fiction makes me feel like doing research. Seriously.

City of Thieves - A-

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