City of Thieves is the story of Lev Beniov’s coming of age. The story takes place during the brutal German siege of Leningrad, Russia. Lev is arrested for looting a dead German parachutist; he is thrown into jail with Kolya, a military deserter. As they await execution by the Russian military, they are given a chance to have their lives spared. The new duo must complete the daunting task of retrieving a dozen eggs for a wedding cake for the colonel’s daughter. However, in a city cut off from resources for months, they must embark behind enemy lines to find the luxury of twelve eggs.
The newly formed friendship fends off cannibals, gunfire, and freezing temperatures in order to scavenge for the eggs. They rush across Leningrad until they come across a poultry farm. The farm is used as prostitution ring for the Germans at night. As they try and leave the farm, they are captured once again by Germans. In order to obtain the eggs and keep their lives, Lev must beat the sadistic German officer at a game of chess. Lev beats the officer and kills him and his soldiers to ensure safe escape. Him and Koyla run back to Leningrad, to deliver the eggs but are shot at accidentally by Russian forces. Koyla is rushed to the hospital but dies from blood loss. The book ends by revealing what happened to Lev, as his young grandson asks him to repeat his story of Leningrad again.
Reading Response: City of Thieves at first seemed to be just another World War II story. As I started reading I thought I was not going to have any interest at all in the story; however after I got into the story I found myself more intrigued than I thought I was going to be. This story is an excellent depiction of war itself. It is very realistic and easy to relate to even without any personal experience with war.
City of Thieves reminds me of the current conflict of Israel and Palestine. As one nation fights