David Benioff is currently well known as the screenwriter of the incredible HBO adaption of George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones. He is also the screenwriter of the adaptation of The Kite Runner as well as X-Men Origins: Wolverine (I won’t mention Troy). But he did start of as a novelist.
His debut novel was The 25th Hour, which he also adapted for the Spike Lee film. This was a fantastic crime novel about a guy who has been convicted as a drug dealer and has one day left of freedom before have to report to prison. The book goes through his last day as he says goodbye to his friends, girlfriend and father and reflects on how he got into the life he did. It is both a brilliant book and film.
Benioff also wrote a fantastic collection of short stories, When The Nines Rollover. I don’t usually like short stories. They are either too short for you to get to know or care about the characters or they end too soon leaving you wanting more. This collection, however, was brilliant. Each story was different but each had enough to get you hooked without leaving you feeling cheated.
But my absolute favourite book by David Benioff is City of Thieves. It is easily one of the best war novels of the last ten years, maybe just being shaded by Matterhorn. Set during the Nazis’ siege ofLeningrad the futility of war is explored through an absurd life or death mission. In a city that has been cut off from the outside world, a 17-year-old boy and a Red Army deserter, must survive the starving, shell-ravaged city and the dangerous, lawless countryside in search of a dozen eggs for the wedding cake of a Russian Colonel’s daughter.
City of Thieves is a book that stays with you and one you will want to pass around your friends. It is also a great crossover book for teenage readers. It originally came out in 2008 and we still sell 5-10 copies a month. I’m sure David Benioff is going to swamped for many years to come continuing to adapt Game of Thrones but I hope he finds time to write another book one day, if not at least get City of Thieves made into a film!