City of Thieves

by David Benioff, 2008

Leningrad, WWII, in siege by Germans. Lev Beniov, young 17-year-old Jewish boy, gets arrested for looting (stole a knife off a dead German), thrown into the Crosses-Russian prison. Kolya, handsome soldier, thrown in same cell for desertion (went to town to get laid). They do not get executed but instead are sent on an impossible mission to find a dozen eggs for the Colonel’s daughter’s wedding. They have a week. There are no eggs in Leningrad.

Page 212: “The days had become a confusion of catastrophes; what seemed impossible in the afternoon was blunt fact by the evening. German corpses fell from the sky; cannibals sold sausage links made from ground human in the Haymarket; apartment blocs collapsed to the ground; dogs became bombs; frozen soldiers became signposts; a partisan with half a face stood swaying in the snow, staring sad-eyed at his killers. I had no food in my belly, no fat on my bones, and no energy to reflect on this parade of atrocities. I just kept moving, hoping to find another half slice of bread for myself and a dozen eggs for the colonel’s daughter.”

Lev, Kolya, and Vika (a tiny female sniper) make it to play chess with evil German officer. Lev is beating him, pulls his knife, and they end up killing him and his guards. Vika points them towards Leningrad and takes off. Almost to Leningrad with their dozen eggs, they get shot at by Russian army because they were carrying German guns. Kolya gets shot in the ass. He dies on the way to field hospital. Lev delivers the eggs to the colonel and finds out he already had 3 dozen eggs by then! Kolya died for nothing!

Page turner!!

Here’s the last paragraph. Vika has shown up at Lev’s door a couple years after the war is over. She has lots of red hair, pretty dress, makeup, and an egg carton:

“We could make an omelet,” I suggested.

“We?” She smiled, handing me the carton, picking up her suitcase, waiting for me to open the door wide and let her inside. “One thing you should now about me, Lyova. I don’t cook.”