This isn't a lengthy book, nor will it tax a more enterprising reader. In fact, I read it in but a scant three sittings. It is well worth your time and attention. From the author of the somewhat more famous "the 25th hour", David Benioff, who would adapt that work into the screenplay directed by Spike Lee, comes this new book, published in 2008. It's a story set in Russia during the siege of Leningrad which contains enough of the classic hero's journey and a bit of Jason and the Argonauts to make Joseph Campbell proud. An alert reader will easily be able to tease out the crucial plot elements, details, and ending well before they arrive, but the quality of the writing is good enough, the characters compelling enough, that the reader probably won't mind. Despite the ease and speed with which I read this book, I did enjoy it very much. And as I said, the characters were compelling enough to force me to exit care about them. I could have stood with a little less predictability, and the author seems clearly set on writing works which are practically screenplays to begin with, as they were innumerable times where I could sense him setting a scene for a director who perhaps has yet to exist. Despite these minor annoyances, I heartily recommend this book.