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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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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  • Story

Complex, but believable plot.

Compelling human interactions and depth of character -- even minor characters. Convincing Russian accents. Accurate and informative historical background.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Nancy
  • SAN FRANCISCO, CA, United States
  • 02-27-15

Hypnotic writing will overpower your wish to flee

This is a terrifically narrated story set the early days of the modern Soviet Republic. A sweep of even the smallest villages is taking people to work camps. The protagonist is a world weary soldier trying to protect his family. So there are heroes and villains and victims. People you get attached to have awful things happen to them. The author really takes you into the scenes, the people, and what happens to them.The book opens with a horrific event and pretty much continues the horror until the end. I had to stop listening and skip ahead a few times esp. the torture scenes. But aside from its graphic quality and a too-tidy ending, I have to say this is an amazing story. Just don't say you weren't warned.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Patti
  • Uncertain, TEXAS, United States
  • 11-26-14

Chilling

What made the experience of listening to The Child Thief the most enjoyable?

I can't say I actually enjoyed this book. It made me thankful for all I have and have ever had, and for things I will, hopefully, never experience.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

I could not stop listening, because I had to know what happend to the child, and the family.

Have you listened to any of Bronson Pinchot’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have heard other books by Bronson Pinchot, and I have to say, once I got past the thick accent, this was a magnificent piece of acting. He made you feel his characters' feelings and hear the emotions in their voices. Not just reading, but full-out acting.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It was depressing, but in a good way, if that's possible. Grim is a good word. Anyone looking for a happy story--this isn't it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • 11-25-14

A great tale told by a peerless narrator.

The story penned by Dan Smith is an exquisite exercise in balance and novelty: he weaves together plot elements, character development, and historical context as one fluid entity. It wasn't that every detail was elaborately scribed—quite the opposite; details are conveyed to the reader as a living person would: colored by experience, by forgetfulness and emotion. The book is a mystery that unfolds in the context of an almost palpable world, and Smith is expert at using restraint as a mainstay to make the villainy and horror of specific moments truly, appallingly stark. On a personal note, I very much appreciated Smith's capacity to end each chapter on a cliffhanger. Each chapter except the last one, I might add, only to note the rarity of a story so well constructed in the beginning and middle to come to a satisfying and believable conclusion.

The strength of the story was lifted an order of magnitude by Bronson Pinchot's narration. Without exception, this is the best performance I have encountered on any audiobook since I was listening to them on cassette tape. Pinchot's calm, accented English was wholly engrossing, making effortless the task of my imagination to create a scene of revolutionary Russia, the cold of the winter, the brutality of the antagonists. I wish I could give him six stars.

One final note for the history-phobes: I have no special affinity for Russian history. In fact, history as a default to me tends to fall on the scale between uninteresting and tedious. This story is simply too delectable to notice that you're learning something at the same time. Like an infant being bait-and-switched with one spoon of pudding substituted at the last minute for another with vegetables, I found myself enthralled with the living context that millions had to endure, which Smith exposes here by the travels and trials of his characters. Dan Smith stages his work in such an authentic feeling, I would be very unsurprised to learn that he is actually ghostwriting for someone who actually lived through the events. By the last page, I was begging for more veggies.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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EXCELLENT EXCELLENT EXCELLENT

FIVE STARS!!!!! I don't give a 5 star rating easily but this novel is a gem that I enjoyed, marveled over, took pearls of wisdom about life from, and was sad to see it end. I can tell you without ant hesitation that this is one of the best books I have listed to and read!!!~ (immersion reading) Characters, plot, location, you name it and it was all there. I am not going to go into detail about the specifics, but to say read all the positive reviews and believe what they say. I was sad to see this book end, but the characters and events will stay with me. To me that is the sign of a meaningful novel that is well told. Narration is excellent after I had it play a 1.5 time. The original speed was a little too slow for me. Other than that read it!!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kevin
  • Crownsville, MD, United States
  • 04-30-14

Stunning story of endurance and love.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. It was uplifting to the spirit.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

The story never lulled.

What about Bronson Pinchot’s performance did you like?

Perhaps the finest reading of any audiobook I've ever heard. Simply amazing.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Many powerful moments. However it was the ending that was most moving.

Any additional comments?

This was a random read for me. So I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I've been suggesting it to every reader I meet.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • Aliso Viejo, CA, United States
  • 10-19-13

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.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Ryan
  • Logan, Utah
  • 01-17-15

Even bad men can do good things

Any additional comments?

I stumbled upon this book because I'm a fan of Bronson Pinchot - the narrator - and I'm happy I did. This book has all of the action, suspense, character development, tragedy, and .... you get the point.
The story builds slowly. It is based in post war Ukraine, the story of a war veteran who, after a gruesome discovery, is taken on a brutal journey across the steppe to find his kidnapped niece. What evolves is a game of cat and mouse set against the dramatic political background that enveloped the blood lands after WWII. It is the story of how good men can do bad things; and how bad men can also do much good.
My wife thought the book was too slow, and in parts, that might be true. But the story has depth, as good books often do.
Secondly, Bronson Pinchot was amazing. He does narrate the book in a heavy Ukrainian accent and is soft spoken, almost in the way I would imagine a weathered, battle scarred veteran of this time and place might have spoken. It took a few minutes to get used to, but was masterfully done.

Five stars.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Carol
  • Elk City, OK, United States
  • 05-02-14

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 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Minot
  • Scituate, MA, United States
  • 10-16-13

Wonderful Narration!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. At first the accent took a bit of getting used to, but really made the story ring true. It was an important component of feeling the characters brought to life.

What other book might you compare The Child Thief to and why?

This is a unique story, with a unique setting. it is difficult to compare it to other books.

Which scene was your favorite?

Not so much a scene but the setting. It was a character unto itself.

Any additional comments?

This is a very interesting listen, not a mystery so much as a thriller. At parts exciting and sad, but keeps you guessing. This is worth a listen.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful