City of Thieves Chapters 11-14 Summary & Analysis

David Benioff

City of Thieves

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City of Thieves Chapters 11-14 Summary & Analysis

Chapter 11 Summary

Lev and Kolya begin their journey to Mga, walking along the disused Moscow railway line which, like all of Leningrad’s railway lines, has been cut by the Germans. While Lev is still seething with jealousy over Kolya’s liaison with Sonya, Kolya boasts about his sexual prowess, claiming that he will teach Lev what he knows and help him find a girl. Kolya also continues to quote from The Courtyard Hound, while berating critics for their neglect of the novel he considers a masterpiece. Their conversation is interrupted by a gruesome scene: the bodies of a couple and three children sprawled in the snow, their flesh hacked off for meat.

By midday they reach the edge of the Leningrad defenses, where they are stopped by Russian soldiers. Kolya produces a letter given to them by the colonel, stating that they are on a special mission for the NKVD and must not be detained. The sergeant is impressed and finds them some food supplies before sending them on their way.

Chapter 12 Summary

As they leave behind the darkness of the city and walk through woodland, Lev’s spirits are lifted by the sight of trees and birds. The conversation between the two men flows naturally, and Lev enjoys discussing his father’s poems with Kolya.

The sound of a distressed dog leads them to a clearing in the woods, where the snow is covered with the treads of recently departed German tanks and the bodies of dead dogs. The whimpering dog appears, limping and bleeding, with a box strapped to his back. Kolya informs Lev that these are canine mines, trained to run underneath German tanks, though the Germans clearly spotted the ploy and shot all the dogs. He uses Lev’s knife to put the dog out of his misery, before they continue their journey to Mga.

Chapter 13 Summary

Having lost valuable time, and now unlikely to make it to Mga before nightfall, which brings dangerously low temperatures, Lev and Kolya march at double-pace. They are now entering German territory and are therefore surprised to see a Russian soldier on guard, before realizing that he…

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