The Child Thief

  • by Dan Smith
  • Narrated by Bronson Pinchot
  • 13 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.
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- David "Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving or riding my bike."

Terror In 1930's Ukraine

I chose this book because other reviewers compared it favorably to Norwegian By Night--another book I really enjoyed. I can't agree completely with those comparisons. To me, the flavor and tone of The Child Thief had very little in common with Norwegian By Night. Instead, this title reminded me of Solzhenitsyn's One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich crossed with a healthy dose of the thriller by Sam Eastland--Eye Of the Red Tsar. A fairly complex--but intriguing and interesting mix.

At first I was disarmed by Pinchot's narration. It was so soft and quiet that I wasn't sure I would be able to tolerate being whispered at for 13+ hours. After about 15 minutes it all clicked, I adjusted to the voice and thought it was perfect for the story being told. It makes you feel almost as though you are inside Luka's head hearing his thoughts. An excellent narration that added positively to the book and the listening experience. Always a good thing.

Heart pounding storytelling, gruesome detail, edge of your seat action and thoughtful commentary on personal perspective, soldiers and war made this a wild ride. The book is definitely a thriller but at the same time it is much more than that. There is a strong thread of self-reliance and gratitude for the tiny bits of "luck" you find in your life. A tale of love and duty in a harsh, cruel and loveless time in Russia. I listened captivated absolutely every chance I had and recommend this book if you want to be swept up into a different world entirely. A winner.
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- Sara "Avid Reader"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-24-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios