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Dom’s Book Club for September, 2017: City of Thieves, by David Benioff

If the author’s name rings a bell, it’s possible that you’ve seen it during the credits of TV’s current mega-smash-hit. David Benioff is the co-creator and writer of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Yeah, he’s doing okay.

But I discovered his books long before venturing into G.O.T. My son actually told me about a book called The 25th Hour, which introduced me to Benioff’s writing. I really enjoyed that book, but loved this one.

City of Thieves is set in Russia during World War II. It’s been described as “darkly humorous,” which is fair, but it’s much more than that. It’s a peek into how people survive – indeed, do almost anything to survive – a nightmarish world that has been upended by war and starvation.

In a nutshell, two young Soviet men are arrested – one for looting, the other for desertion – and are destined to be executed. But a Soviet Colonel offers them a chance at life. All they have to do is somehow find a dozen eggs so for the Colonel’s daughter’s wedding cake.

Farfetched? If you think so, then you have no idea how brutal conditions were in Russia during the Nazi invasion. People turned to cannibalism, in some cases, because they were literally starving.

Their journey through enemy lines, risking their lives many times, makes this an adventure story of sorts. But the unlikely camaraderie of the two young men also makes for a gripping coming-of-age tale, one that keeps you riveted through every chapter. I loved it.

Find City of Thieves at your nearest Tattered Cover Book Store. If you mention Dom’s Book Club, they’ll happily knock 20% off the price for this title. Hope you like it!


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