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If you’re a fan of historical fiction, “City of Thieves” by David Benioff is a must-read. This captivating tale of two young men on a perilous mission during the Siege of Leningrad is brought to life in the audiobook version, narrated by actor Ron Perlman. In this in-depth review, we’ll explore the various elements that make “City of Thieves” a compelling listen. From the plot and character development to the historical accuracy and voice acting, we’ll examine how all these pieces fit together to create a truly immersive experience.

Key Takeaways:

  • “City of Thieves” is a captivating historical fiction audiobook set during the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Ron Perlman’s narration brings the story to life, enhancing the overall listening experience.
  • The plot and character development are intricately woven together, keeping listeners engaged from start to finish.
  • David Benioff’s attention to historical accuracy and world-building is impressive.
  • Overall, “City of Thieves” is a highly recommended listen for anyone who enjoys immersive and memorable storytelling.

About the Author, David Benioff

David Benioff is an accomplished author and screenwriter, with several notable works to his name. Born in New York City in 1970, Benioff grew up in a Jewish family and attended Dartmouth College. After completing his undergraduate degree in 1992, he continued his studies at Trinity College, Dublin, where he earned a Master’s degree in Irish literature.

Benioff’s debut novel, “The 25th Hour,” was published in 2001 and later adapted into a film directed by Spike Lee. He is also known for co-creating the hit HBO series “Game of Thrones” alongside D. B. Weiss, which is based on the book series by George R. R. Martin. In addition to his success in the literary and entertainment industries, Benioff has also been involved in social and political activism, supporting causes such as marriage equality and combating climate change.

Despite his various accomplishments, Benioff remains grounded and focused on his craft, striving to create compelling stories that resonate with audiences. The knowledge and experience he has gained throughout his career are on full display in “City of Thieves,” a captivating tale that showcases his talent for immersive storytelling.

Overview of “City of Thieves”

David Benioff’s “City of Thieves” is a gripping tale set in Leningrad during World War II. The novel follows the unlikely friendship between two young men as they navigate their way through the dangers of a city under siege. The story is told from the perspective of Lev, a seventeen-year-old boy who finds himself arrested for looting. He is thrown into a cell with Kolya, a charismatic soldier accused of desertion. The two are given a chance to redeem themselves by finding a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel’s daughter’s wedding cake, and thus begins a harrowing quest through the war-torn city.

Plot Summary

“City of Thieves” is a captivating story that explores the intricacies of human relationships, survival, and sacrifice. The novel’s plot is centered around Lev and Kolya’s journey as they embark on a mission to find the elusive eggs. Along the way, they face a series of challenges that test their resolve and strengthen their bond. From dodging bombs and snipers to dealing with hunger and despair, the duo must overcome a multitude of obstacles to fulfill their mission.


The novel is set in Leningrad during the Nazi siege of the city. The city’s residents are struggling with extreme hunger, cold, and fear as they try to survive amidst the chaos of the war. Benioff’s vivid descriptions of the city’s horrors create a hauntingly realistic atmosphere that transports the reader to that period and place in history.

Main Characters

Name Description
Lev Benioff The protagonist, a young Jewish boy who is thrown into prison for looting
Kolya Vlasov A handsome, charismatic soldier accused of desertion who becomes Lev’s cellmate

The dynamic between Lev and Kolya is one of the main highlights of the novel. Their contrasting personalities and life experiences create an interesting and engaging dynamic that drives the narrative forward.

Overall Thoughts

Overall, “City of Thieves” is a compelling and well-crafted story that resonates with readers long after the final page. Benioff’s masterful storytelling, combined with the exceptional narration in the audiobook version, makes for a truly memorable listening experience. The novel’s themes of friendship, sacrifice, and survival are universal and timeless, making it a must-read for anyone looking for a thought-provoking and emotionally impactful story.

Narration and Voice Acting

One of the most critical aspects of any audiobook is the quality of the narration and voice acting. In the case of “City of Thieves,” listeners are treated to an exceptional portrayal of the characters and events within the book. The audiobook’s narrator, Ron Perlman, does an excellent job of bringing the story to life with his powerful voice and skilled delivery.

Perlman’s ability to capture the essence of each character, from the sarcastic Lev to the stoic Kolya, is truly remarkable. His voice acting is compelling, and he imbues each character with a unique personality, making them all distinct and memorable. During the more emotional scenes, Perlman’s sensitive delivery evokes a genuine emotional response, drawing the listener deeper into the story.

The combination of Perlman’s narration and the captivating story makes for an unforgettable listening experience. Listeners will find themselves fully immersed in the world of “City of Thieves,” thanks in no small part to the superb voice acting and narration.

Plot Analysis and Themes

“City of Thieves” is a gripping tale that weaves together various themes, making it a multi-layered story that will leave listeners spellbound. The protagonist’s journey is built upon a deeply stirring plot, full of twists and turns, making it an excellent read for anyone looking for a thrilling experience.

Plot Analysis

The plot of “City of Thieves” stands out because of its intricacy and unpredictability. Throughout the audiobook, we track the lives of Lev and Kolya, two young men thrown together in the wake of the Siege of Leningrad. David Benioff skillfully manages to keep listeners at the edge of their seats by introducing unexpected plot twists and turns. The audiobook also includes intimate moments that are well placed within the overall narrative, making it a truly masterful story.

City of Thieves Plot Analysis and Themes

One of the most striking features of “City of Thieves” is the author’s ability to create vivid imagery that paints a detailed picture of the setting and events that transpire. David Benioff has employed a writing style where nothing is unnecessary; each sentence works towards building up the story’s momentum. This technique, combined with his other storytelling techniques, makes for an unforgettable plot that remains one of the best in recent years.


The themes in “City of Thieves” revolve around war, sacrifice, and survival. The audiobook’s primary message is that even in the darkest of times, hope, friendship, and love can pull people through. The theme of sacrifice is also evident, as characters make personal sacrifices for the greater good. David Benioff captures the bravery and burdens of these sacrifices in a way that brings characters to life.

The theme of survival is central to the audiobook, as the two protagonists make their way through the ruins of Leningrad, enduring hunger, extreme weather conditions, and danger at every turn. David Benioff’s powerful storytelling techniques enable listeners to experience the struggles and triumphs of the characters on a visceral level.

In conclusion, David Benioff’s “City of Thieves” is a story that combines an intricate plot, memorable characters, and powerful themes to create an epic audiobook experience. Whether you’re a fan of war stories, historical fiction, or drama, this audiobook is sure to leave you captivated and emotionally moved.

Character Development

“City of Thieves” by David Benioff boasts an unforgettable cast of characters, each with their unique personality, backstory, and growth throughout the story. Lev, a young Russian Jew facing death for looting an enemy corpse, forms an unlikely bond with Kolya, a charismatic and reckless soldier who agrees to help Lev avoid execution in exchange for a favor.

Over the course of their journey, Lev and Kolya’s relationship develops from one of convenience to one of genuine friendship, with Kolya serving as a mentor and father figure to Lev. Their motivations, beliefs, and actions are explored in-depth, giving readers a deep understanding of their personalities and their journey.

Even the supporting characters, such as Vika, a brave and resourceful partisan fighter, are multi-dimensional, with their unique strengths and flaws. As the story progresses, readers witness the characters’ growth and transformation, making their eventual fates all the more impactful and heart-wrenching.

The character development in “City of Thieves” is incredibly well-crafted and adds to the emotional depth of the story. It showcases David Benioff’s immense talent for creating realistic and relatable characters that resonate with readers and stay with them long after finishing the book.

Historical Accuracy and World-building

In “City of Thieves,” David Benioff masterfully combines historical accuracy with vivid world-building, transporting readers back to war-torn Leningrad during the Siege of 1942. Through his detailed descriptions of the city and its inhabitants, Benioff creates a fully-realized world that immerses listeners in the story. The attention to detail is evident in the way he accurately portrays the day-to-day struggles of the city’s occupants during the siege, making the setting an integral part of the narrative.

As a work of historical fiction, “City of Thieves” seamlessly integrates factual information without sacrificing the human story. The book’s depiction of the violence and desperation of war is unflinching, yet it doesn’t shy away from the moments of kindness and camaraderie that can emerge in the darkest of times.

One of the most impressive aspects of the book’s world-building is Benioff’s incorporation of the Russian language and culture. The use of Russian words and phrases throughout the audiobook adds to the authentic feel of the story and immerses listeners in the setting even further. The characters themselves are also well-developed and nuanced, adding to the sense of realism and historical accuracy of the novel.

The Role of Historical Accuracy in the Novel

Benioff’s commitment to historical accuracy in “City of Thieves” elevates the novel from a simple adventure tale to a work of historical significance. The author’s research is evident in his portrayal of the brutal conditions of the siege and the detailed descriptions of the city’s landmarks, such as the Hermitage Museum and St. Isaac’s Cathedral. Through his attention to historical detail, Benioff pays tribute to the resilience and courage of the real-life people who lived through the Siege of Leningrad.

The Importance of World-building in “City of Thieves”

The immersive world-building in “City of Thieves” enhances the emotional impact of the novel, making the stakes higher and the characters’ actions more resonant. The setting is not only a backdrop for the story but an integral part of the plot, reflecting the characters’ journeys and providing insight into their motivations. Benioff’s vivid descriptions of the city and its inhabitants immerse the reader in a richly-realized world that feels both authentic and fully-developed.

Overall, “City of Thieves” is a stunning example of historical fiction, expertly weaving together historical accuracy, world-building, and compelling characters to deliver a powerful and unforgettable story.

Pacing and Suspense

David Benioff’s “City of Thieves” is a masterful work of fiction that carefully balances high-stakes action and character development. The audiobook version of this novel manages to maintain a consistently effective pace that keeps listeners engaged throughout the entire story.

The pacing of “City of Thieves” is one of its greatest strengths. The story is fast-moving and action-packed, with numerous twists and turns that keep the audience guessing. Despite the constant movement, the audiobook never feels rushed, and the tension builds organically as the characters navigate their perilous journey.

This steady buildup of suspense is another strong suit of the audiobook. From the opening scenes, the listener is drawn into a dark and dangerous world where survival is never guaranteed. Through immersive sound effects and vividly detailed descriptions, “City of Thieves” creates a sense of constant unease that never lets up, even in the quieter moments of the story.

The result is a truly captivating listening experience that will leave fans of historical fiction and action-packed adventure craving more.

Final Verdict and Recommendation

After evaluating all aspects of the “City of Thieves” audiobook, we highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys gripping historical fiction in an audio format. David Benioff’s masterful storytelling is brought to life by excellent voice acting and narration, making for an unforgettable listening experience.

The audiobook’s strengths include its well-developed characters, suspenseful plot, and immersive world-building, which transport listeners to the harrowing realities of war-torn Leningrad. The vivid descriptions and attention to historical accuracy also add an extra layer of depth to the story.

One minor weakness is the occasional slow pacing, but this is quickly overridden by the gripping narrative, which keeps listeners engaged and invested throughout the audiobook.

In summary, “City of Thieves” is a must-listen for fans of historical fiction or anyone looking for an engaging and thought-provoking story. We give it a 5-star rating and recommend it without reservation.


In conclusion, “City of Thieves” by David Benioff is a captivating audiobook that takes listeners on a thrilling adventure through war-torn Leningrad. The narration and voice acting are superb, bringing the story to life and immersing listeners in the world of the characters. The intricate plot structure, well-developed characters, and underlying themes make this audiobook a must-listen for fans of historical fiction.

Benioff’s attention to detail in portraying the setting and historical accuracy of the story is impressive, making it a highly educational piece of literature. Additionally, the pacing and suspense keep listeners hooked until the very end. Whether you enjoy historical fiction or simply a good story, “City of Thieves” is a commendable audiobook that comes highly recommended.


Is "City of Thieves" available as an audiobook?

Yes, “City of Thieves” by David Benioff is available in audiobook format.

Who is the author of "City of Thieves"?

The author of “City of Thieves” is David Benioff.

What is the audiobook "City of Thieves" about?

“City of Thieves” is an engaging tale of adventure and survival set during the siege of Leningrad during World War II.

What can you tell me about the narrator and voice acting in the audiobook?

The narration and voice acting in the audiobook of “City of Thieves” are top-notch, enhancing the overall listening experience.

How is the plot of "City of Thieves" analyzed in the audiobook?

The intricate plot structure and underlying themes of “City of Thieves” are analyzed, showcasing the storytelling techniques used by the author.

How are the characters developed in "City of Thieves"?

The main characters in “City of Thieves” experience significant growth and development throughout the story, adding depth to the narrative.

Is "City of Thieves" historically accurate?

“City of Thieves” offers a well-researched and historically accurate portrayal of the siege of Leningrad during World War II, showcasing the author’s attention to detail.

Does the audiobook of "City of Thieves" maintain a good pace and suspense?

The audiobook of “City of Thieves” successfully maintains a captivating pace and builds suspense, keeping listeners engaged from start to finish.

What is the final verdict on the "City of Thieves" audiobook?

The “City of Thieves” audiobook is highly recommended, offering a compelling historical narrative with exceptional narration and character development.

What are the main points discussed in this audiobook review?

This audiobook review covers the overview of “City of Thieves,” narration quality, plot analysis, character development, historical accuracy, pacing, and concludes with a final verdict and recommendation.

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