BookBrowse Reviews City of Thieves by David Benioff

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City of Thieves

A Novel

by David Benioff

City of Thieves
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  • First Published:
    May 2008, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2009, 272 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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Novel. A high-quality page-turner set during the World War II Siege of Leningrad

City of Thieves reads like a novelized "buddy movie" (think Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid or Thelma and Louise). This odd couple is comprised of Lev (small, dark, cowardly, morose, virginal and awkward) and Kolya (tall, blonde, handsome, funny, brash, rakish and confident), who together take what amounts to a war-time "road trip." Like movies of the genre, the principals move through scenes that are alternately tragic and exhilarating, culminating in an exciting, action-packed finish as the heroes realize their goal. It's hard not to like tales that fall into this pattern, provided they're reasonably well-done - and City of Thieves certainly is more than well-done – it's exceptional.

Benioff (who wrote the screenplay for The Kite Runner) has a great ear for dialog - Koyla and...

Saint Petersburg or Leningrad?
Saint Petersburg (map) was founded by Tsar Peter I (Peter The Great) in 1703, after he captured the land from the Norwegians during The Great Northern War (fought over the Baltic region). Peter moved his capital from Moscow to St Petersburg in 1712 and it continued as the capital for most of the years up until 1918 when the capital moved back to Moscow. In 1914, it was renamed Petrograd as Saint Petersburg was perceived as too Germanic. Then in 1924, to honor the recently deceased Soviet leader, it was named Leningrad. In 1991, the same day that the Russians held their first presidential election, a majority of voters in Leningrad voted to restore the city's name to Saint Petersburg. Today, St Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia and the northernmost ...

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