We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
The Child Thief: A Novel | [Dan Smith]

The Child Thief: A Novel

A troubled World War I veteran races across the frozen steppe of 1930's Ukraine to save a child from a shadowy killer with unthinkable plans. Luka is a war veteran who now wants nothing more than to have a quiet life with his family. His village has, so far, remained hidden from the advancing Soviet brutality. But everything changes the day a stranger arrives, pulling a sled bearing a terrible cargo. In the chaos, a little girl has vanished, and Luka is the only man with the skills to find the stolen child and her kidnapper.
Regular Price:$24.95
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

In the tradition of City of Thieves and Child 44, a troubled World War I veteran races across the frozen steppe of 1930's Ukraine to save a child from a shadowy killer with unthinkable plans.

Luka is a war veteran who now wants nothing more than to have a quiet life with his family. His village has, so far, remained hidden from the advancing Soviet brutality. But everything changes the day a stranger arrives, pulling a sled bearing a terrible cargo. When the villagers’ fear turns deadly, they think they have saved themselves. But their anger has cursed them. In the chaos, a little girl has vanished, and Luka is the only man with the skills to find the stolen child and her kidnapper in these frozen lands. Besides, the missing girl is the best friend of Luka’s daughter, and he swears he will find her. Together, with his sons, Luka sets out across lands ravaged by war and gripped by treachery. Soon they realize that the man they are tracking is no ordinary criminal, but a skillful hunter using the child as bait in his twisted game. It will take all of Luka’s strength to battle the harshest of conditions and all of his wit to stay a step ahead of Soviet authorities. And though his toughest enemy is the man he tracks, his strongest bond is a promise to his family back home.

©2013 Dan Smith (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (185 )
5 star
 (92)
4 star
 (61)
3 star
 (25)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (2)
Overall
4.4 (168 )
5 star
 (90)
4 star
 (50)
3 star
 (25)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (0)
Story
4.5 (168 )
5 star
 (116)
4 star
 (35)
3 star
 (12)
2 star
 (0)
1 star
 (5)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    David Houston, TX, United States 09-28-13
    David Houston, TX, United States 09-28-13 Member Since 2008

    Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving. Love the reviews.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1591
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    502
    159
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    340
    18
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant--both the writing and the narration"

    The opening scene in The Child Thief, the slow, portentous approach of a mysterious stranger across a frozen landscape, is riveting and absolutely perfect. Incredibly, the book manages to sustain the same mesmerizing, understated quality throughout until the last words of the story, prepared for and half-expected and yet still immensely powerful, leave the listener breathless.

    Even as I was drawn inexorably into Dan Smith's dark, harrowing narrative, I had initial misgivings. It seemed to me that some of his characters acted in ways which were too foolish or ignorant for me to credit them even in a remote Ukrainian village paralyzed by fear of the imminent arrival of Stalin's GPU. Before long, however, these considerations had become irrelevant. Even though I occasionally doubted an action, I always believed and understood the emotional truth of the character, and the irresistible momentum of the events established their own logic and carried me along, completely fascinated and captive to the storyteller's voice. The result was the briefest thirteen hours I have ever spent listening to a book

    There are a few author/narrator pairings which strike me as extraordinarily "right." Richard Ferrone reading John Sandford's "Prey" novels; Jo Nesbo's work read by Robin Sachs; Steven Pacey's masterful command of Joe Abercrombie's fantasy novels all come to mind. Bronson Pinchot's hypnotic, absolutely bone true first person voice telling Luka's story belongs in that company. It is as fine an example of voice acting as I have ever heard-- restrained, measured, almost painfully quiet and richly expressive of the man and his profoundly moving experience.

    It is difficult for me to imagine a listener who would not be caught, entertained and often thrilled by this recording. I strongly recommend that you add it to your wish list, and I suggest you begin it when you have a nice stretch of free time so that you can savor it with few interruptions.

    35 of 35 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonny 02-05-14
    Bonny 02-05-14

    Addicted to books, both print and audio-.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    484
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    84
    56
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    68
    11
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Breathtaking story and narration"

    This book is simply mesmerizing. I bought this based on the positive review of one of the reviewers I follow, and am so glad I did. The setting is bleak: Ukraine, Winter, 1930. Soviet repression, neighbor turning on neighbor. But Luka, whose viewpoint we inhabit, is, in his imperfect way, ultimately compassionate and humane, and he fosters this humanity in the people he loves and in those he comes across by chance and misfortune. It's a remarkable book, and Bronson Pinchot more than does it justice. The narration is some of the best in the Audible universe. Take a good, long, deep breath before you begin listening, because you may not be able to exhale until it's finished. Very, very highly recommended.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 01-18-14
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 01-18-14 Member Since 2010

    Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1970
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    250
    193
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    465
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A steadfast hero"

    If you want to capture someone’s attention, don’t shout – whisper. In the midst of so many thrillers that shout – with fast action, chases, violence and gore - The Child Thief is all the more riveting because it is so quiet. Even Bronson Pinchot’s narration is hushed, compelling you to hang onto every word. The search for the kidnapper is quiet in a landscape muffled with deep snow that silences footsteps, but captures footprints, and the chase is a dangerous chess game of “come and get me if you dare”.

    While the landscape is vast, the viewpoint is small and detailed, as if even a person’s soul can be seen through the sniper’s scope on Luka’s rifle. A study of good and evil and of individuals struggling to save what is human in themselves through the search to save someone else. To me Luka is heroic in the best sense – someone who stays true to himself and his family in the face of mob madness, danger from the Red Army, and unthinkable evil from the child thief. One of the strongest characters I have read in a very long time.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Bartonville, TX 10-02-13
    Susan Bartonville, TX 10-02-13 Member Since 2012

    Myst/thrillers and ✨fun fantasies✨are my favorites but always open for a good story.  

    HELPFUL VOTES
    673
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    326
    314
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    130
    73
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Baba Yaga"

    This is out of my usual genre, I normally don't choose anything that is about war or holocaust. There were parts that surrounded the Russian Purge of the 1930's that were disturbing but helped to set the scene surrounding the story. I connected and cared about the characters from the very beginning, and the hunt for "The Child Thief" was interesting and exciting. The mystery behind the missing child, the tempered bonding between father and sons, and the rigorous tracking, made this listen fascinating and worth the credit. Dan Smith's illustration of the Ukrainian tundra was elegant. The images he brought to mind were beautiful but at the same time harsh and unforgiving.

    Bronson Pinchot's narration was genius as usual, each voice was distinct and the characters personalities were brought to the forefront. All in all this was a good listen and memorable in its uniqueness.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Bedford, TX, United States 02-17-14
    Kathy Bedford, TX, United States 02-17-14 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    785
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4786
    132
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    235
    117
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "What a Find!"

    What a find!
    First I was unfamiliar with the author. Second the story was unique and about a time and place I knew little about (Ukraine about 1930). Third the characters seemed to really care about each other. There was genuine affection between family members. None of the drunken beatings common in many stories of that area.
    Smith's writing is delightful. The details are so vivid, it's hard to believe he didn't live the experience.
    Bronson Pinchot's performance is stunning. It just couldn't be better.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Virginia 04-23-14
    Amazon Customer Virginia 04-23-14 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    124
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    256
    25
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    6
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Cold, Subtle, and Full of Suspense"

    Smith could have chosen any of the characters in his story to be his main character. He might have made it a "coming of age" tale and chosen one of the sons. Or a sinister tale of desperation and sorrow by choosing one of the children who were stolen. These days, it's become popular to have an "anti-hero" and make the villain the protagonist; in which case he might have picked the Baba Yaga to tell the story.

    All of those plot lines have been done before, however, and some of them are getting quite tired. Instead, Smith chose to tell the story from the perspective of Luka, a father and retired Russian soldier living in the Ukraine- the result surprised me. Luka is one of the most well written characters I've ever come across.

    Still, it's not just Luka's story. There is tremendous depth and subtlety everywhere you look here. It's clear how much thought Smith put into crafting this. Even the setting cold, quiet, and dangerous- is given a personality. The result is an utterly unique tale that is haunting me days after finishing it.

    As for Bronson Pinchot- I fell in love with him as a narrator while listening to Larry Correia's Grimnoir Chronicles (for which I hear he's been nominated for an Audie- well done, sir). I cannot imagine a better actor to voice this story. In the beginning, the thick Ukrainian accent threw me. By the end, however, I could not help but marvel at how absorbed I became in the story- completely thanks to Pinchot's abilities. He successfully creates distinct men, teenagers, soldiers, women's and children's voices without distracting you. He voiced both the bark of command and the choked crack of despair during this novel- I really can't praise his work enough.

    You will want to listen to this book. You will want to re-listen to this book. It is that good.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meggin Reno, NV, United States 01-18-14
    Meggin Reno, NV, United States 01-18-14 Member Since 2014

    Speaker, Coach, Author - in Reno, NV (A GREAT place!) I've been an avid Audible fan for several years. Listen on my iPhone many hours each week.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    168
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    160
    80
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    37
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Stunning - Would Rate This 6 Stars If I Could"

    I have been telling people about this book ever since I started listening - and have told everyone to LISTEN rather than read it. This narrator was brilliant and brought Dan Smith's amazing story up to another level. I didn't want to miss a sentence in this book and if I thought I had, I went back. Tragic and yet hopeful. Painful and yet inspiring. One of the best books EVER from Audible.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Aliso Viejo, CA, United States 10-19-13
    John Aliso Viejo, CA, United States 10-19-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    36
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    17
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hold your breath"

    I took a deep breath at the very beginning and didn't exhale until the end of the book. Not for the faint of heart. Keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. Narrator couldn't be better. I felt as though I was listening to the main character tell his story with every bit of emotion from scene to scene. You will not be disappointed. See other reviews for more detail if you want or just trust and download and listen.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John S MA 10-11-14
    John S MA 10-11-14 Member Since 2014

    Avid audible listener for over 10 years.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    600
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    150
    147
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    42
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Epic thriller set in Ukraine"

    This is both a great thriller as well as historical thriller. Set in the Ukraine during WWI and WWII it is much about the child thief as it is about the terror of living in Stalinist Russia. This was the period of collectivization, where peasants were forced off the land they had sometime worked for generations. The hero of the book spends as much time hunting the child thief as he does dodging the Stalinist officials. It also can be considered as a survivalist book because the hunt takes place in the frozen forest of Russia in the middle of winter. The story does bog down for a few chapters with page after page of torture scenes. This is one of my more favorite listens of the year.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Elk City, OK, United States 05-02-14
    Carol Elk City, OK, United States 05-02-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    222
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    11
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I will never forget this book . . ."

    Like many readers I enjoy a good thriller and I’ve listened to many genres—lots of bang and chase; government espionage and spy tales that seem to be from today’s world news Yet, I don’t understand why this book has not received many more reader reviews.* The Siberian setting is totally barren—but not the story. The main character, Lutka, becomes a man on a mission, struggling through the isolation of deep drifts and scattered stands of snow-heavy trees. The landscape is a character in and of itself. However, the story is never barren. I found myself forging through the snow and blood trails. I can’t describe the mystery without spoiling the story, but I can safely say that this is a non-stop thriller of the highest order and I can’t forget it.
    *I think that the problem might be the similarity between book titles—both promoted on Audible at the same time—“The Book Thief” and this book “The Child Thief”. I read both but consider Smith’s book to be literature!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 28 results PREVIOUS123NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.