During the Nazis’ brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in his daughter’s wedding cake. In a city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation, Lev and Kolya embark on a hunt through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and behind enemy lines to find the impossible.
I thought the storyline was very engaging. These two individuals get an impossible task but they still give it everything they’ve got because not finding those eggs equals death. The search for those eggs gives the writer the opportunity to show off the horror in this starving city, the lengths people will go to to stay alive and the creativity to keep the hunger at bay.
The characters in this book are great. The main-character is Lev, a young man (I think he’s somewhere around 17 years old. He lies about it from time to time) who sits on the roof of his apartment building with the other young people who live there, to spot fires and put them out. One night, he is arrested for looting and brought to the crosses (prison) and there he meets Kolya. Throughout the book, Kolya charms everyone he meets and somehow he also managed to charm me because I ended up liking him a lot. Lev always stays a bit in the background, which is just the way he is. These two were thrown together by chance and they make a great pair.
I really liked this book and as you can probably tell, I grew very attached to the characters. I rolled my eyes once or twice when Kolya was, once again, talking about sex but it didn’t bother me. I don’t doubt that boys/men would have had those discussions for real.
This book has a lot of friendship in it, which I loved. The awfulness of the war (the soldier in the snow, the dogs, Zoya,…) were given proper attention. They also meant something to the story, they weren’t just there for the shock-factor.
I also felt like I learned things. About Saint-Petersburg and its history, about the war and about the people in that war.
The writing was very colourful both in describing the scenery and the sex. There was always a sense of truth. Solid writing, I enjoyed it very much.
I would definitely recommend this book!
Let me know if you’ve read it.