City of Thieves

City of Thieves Chapter 24 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
After an hour nobody has given chase to Vika, Kolya, and Lev, and Lev's finger is throbbing. Lev thinks that now he's a killer, and his knife is an actual weapon. He tells the reader that the images of Abendroth and the dying boy soldier have stayed with him, but he felt nothing but exhilaration at what he'd done. It had been less about avenging Zoya or killing a prominent Nazi, but more about keeping himself, Kolya, and Vika alive. When they stop so that Vika can check Lev's finger, she whispers "thank you" in his ear.
Vika allows Lev to bask in his triumph and feel entirely responsible for their victory. We see too how Lev's emotional relationships with his friends are what allowed him to do what he did, rather than the idea of national duty or patriotism. However, this is also the adult Lev discussing the images that have stayed with him, as he is haunted by what he did in some way.
Themes
Growing Up Theme Icon
Literature and Storytelling Theme Icon
Sexuality, Masculinity, and Power Theme Icon
Survival Theme Icon
Russia and World War II Theme Icon
As they walk, Lev tells Vika why he and Kolya are actually outside Piter. Soon after, Lev asks Vika if she's NKVD. She doesn't explicitly answer, but asks if it bothers him. Lev says it does, because the NKVD took his father, and Vika says that they also took her father, who was NKVD as well.
Vika muddies the waters even further for Lev. Vika here is surprisingly similar to Colonel Grechko in her relationship to the NKVD, and Lev is going to have to come to grips with this if he wants to continue down this path with Vika.
Themes
Growing Up Theme Icon
Literature and Storytelling Theme Icon
Sexuality, Masculinity, and Power Theme Icon
Survival Theme Icon
Russia and World War II Theme Icon
When Lev, Kolya, and Vika reach the top of a long hill, Vika points at a beam of light in the distance and says it's Piter. She says she's heading to connect with another band of partisans. Kolya tells Vika to not get killed, and he offers his hand, telling her he hopes they'll meet again in Berlin. Vika then turns to Lev and touches his cheek. Lev thinks that he'll never see her again, and Vika asks for his last name. She tells him that with his full name she can track him down, and then she kisses him on the lips. As Vika walks away, Kolya puts his arm around Lev and tells him they have a wedding to attend.
Kolya finally decides to keep his mouth shut and skip teasing Lev about Vika, which is a very big thing of Kolya to do given what we know of his character. He kindly allows Lev to keep this fairly chaste intimate moment and not ruin it. The reader is asked to take Vika at her word, especially given her clear skill and confidence. The boys now finally have their eggs, and so seem ready to return victorious to Leningrad and the colonel’s daughter’s wedding.
Themes
Growing Up Theme Icon
Sexuality, Masculinity, and Power Theme Icon