Heart-stopping, funny, compelling, finely honed and high-spirited are just some of the words used by critics to describe City of Thieves; which is a picaresque adventure set during the Siege of Leningrad with 17 year-old Lev as D'Artagnan and the reality of the conflict ever present. Very highly recommended.
One moment I thought I had a few minutes left to live; the next a sniper from Archangel was flirting with me. Was she flirting with me? The days had become a confusion of catastrophes; what seemed impossible in the afternoon was blunt fact by 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; soldiers became signposts; a partisan with half a face stood swaying in the snow, staring sad-eyed at his killers. ... I just kept moving, hoping to find another half slice of bread for myself and a dozen eggs for the colonel's daughter.