Welcome to the book blog of writer and creative writing tutor, Diane Paul.

Thanks to the publishers and kind PR people who send me books and releases about their clients' books for review. Press releases and review copies of fiction and non-fiction are always welcome. (No sci-fi, fantasy or erotica please.)

Due to the barrage of requests from self-published authors for reviews, I'm unable to deal with them all, although I'm sometimes drawn to non-fiction for the subject matter. And because I love print books, the smell, the touch of the paper and the sight of the words, I don't have an electronic reader or review e-books.

E-mail to: bookblogforbookworms@keywordeditorial.com for the postal address.

My writing website: http://www.keywordeditorial.com/

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Read Benioff's City of Thieves - great book!

David Benioff's City of Thieves (Sceptre) gives a fascinating insight into the deprivations of war during the German invasion of Russia in 1941. Its darkness is only lightened by the humour and Benioff successfully mixes the two to present a well-researched version of his grandfather Lev's harrowing experiences in the coldest environment recorded; when ordinary citizens were dying on the streets from cold and hunger and some had even turned to cannibalism.

Benioff is a Hollywood screenwriter and author of The 25th Hour and When the Nines Roll Over. He lives in Los Angeles and New York City. After taping his grandfather's memoirs of his boyhood experiences during the Second World War when Leningrad was under nightly attack from Nazi bombers, Benioff wrote this exceptional novel. It's a novel of great breadth and originality, based on Lev's life when, aged 17, the Germans invaded Vyazina where his mother and sister had fled to safety. He never heard from them again. His father, a famous poet, had already been murdered by the Nazis and Lev is suddenly alone.

When he's arrested for looting a dead German paratrooper, he finds himself sharing a cell in the notorious Crosses prison with a student accused of deserting his regiment. Will they be executed? Not if they complete a task in one week for the deadly NKVD Colonel who wants a special wedding present for his beautiful daughter. But finding a dozen eggs among a starving populace isn't that easy and the two men bond as they experience cannibals selling ground human sausage links, dogs used as bombs, frozen soldiers, no food and little energy to propel them forwards.

Killing becomes a matter of survival during war but for the Nazis it's a sport and a call for bloodlust. Benioff has turned to Curzio Malaparte's Kaputt for his information about their anti-partisan actions. The pleasures and brutality of their murders are sickening but compelling reading. It's important to know about it and to be aware how easy it is for people to degenerate into a sub-human primitive state and one wonders how those who survived and returned to their homeland managed to live with themselves afterwards.

Beautifully crafted, totally believable, wonderful characters and truth. Read it.

For more about the book and author, use this link:

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