When I was on my shopping trip in Germany recently, I came accross this book in German. It had been translated from American (never knew that was a language by itself), but the whole idea behind it sounded really intriguing.
The blurb: In the coldest winter in history, in a starving city under siege, two prisoners are thrown together on a desperate adventure. Lev, a shy, chess-loving teenager and Kolya, a charismatic chancer. They are given one week to complete an extraordinary mission: to scour the ravaged countryside and find a dozen eggs. Or come back empty-handed, and die.
The setting of Leningrad (also named Piter in the book, current day St Petersburg) during the German siege in 1942, half its people gone, the other half under constant threat of bombs, hunger and cold is the place where about half the story takes place. The two boys, Lev and Kolya have been thrown into prison for different reasons: Lev because he looted a dead German pilot (stealing from the state) and Kolya because he deserted from the Red Army. But they get one more chance: the colonel's daughter is getting married and wants a proper feast while the city is starving. If the boys can find a dozen eggs before the week is out, they get to live, otherwise they will be hunted down and killed.
My verdict: a really good book. Well written, fast paced but not too fast, believable characters and you start to feel for the two boys as they move through the city and then the country side as they search for the eggs. They meet girls, Partisans, Germans. They even find a chicken. But, do they get the eggs? Find out yourself, it is worth it...