Read The Child Thief by DanSmith Online


Luka is a war veteran who now wants only 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 the 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,Luka is a war veteran who now wants only 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 the 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. Luka is the only man with the skills to find who could have stolen a child in these frozen lands--and besides, the missing girl is best friend to Luka's daughter, and he swears he will find her.Together with his sons, Luka sets out in pursuit 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 with the child as the 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....

Title : The Child Thief
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781605984407
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 357 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Child Thief Reviews

  • Nasim Asl
    2019-03-11 13:31

    If you are on the hunt for a book that is sure to surprise and engross you, look no further than Dan Smith’s The Child Thief. This enthralling novel truly is breathtaking, and really demonstrates the author’s obvious gift at writing in a remarkable fashion.The Child Thief follows Ukranian Luka, a war veteran, who embarks on a life or death search for his niece, stolen from the tiny village in which their family lives. Luka travels across lands ravaged by the woes and hardships of post-October 1917 Russia, playing a deadly game of cat and mouse with the deranged and cannibalistic Child Thief, who is far more skilled, savage and twisted than Luka had ever dared believe.Smith successfully captures the perilous beauty Ukranian landscape with an exceptional writing style. Although the novel’s plot focuses on his attempts to rescue Dariya and track the Child Thief across the wilderness, Smith simultaneously manages to explore various other themes – noticeably those of morals, seen specifically in a harrowing graveyard exchange and in the face of a murderous mob. By creating such an intricate and delicately woven plot, Smith also manages to address the issue of identity within Luka, who is Russian born and once fought for three separate ideologically divided armies; he also struggles to make sense of what is happening under Bolshevik rule. Smith manages to generate a believable and realistic setting by littering the text with very specific references to historical events of 1930 Russia; his stunning attention to detail really manages to transport the reader into the harsh cold with Luka. Readers will find themselves drawn into the tale, turning the pages with bated breath as they attempt to calculate what will happen – however, Smith manages to create enough plot twists to shock even the closest guesser.The Child Thief is, hands down, a wonderful read. Dan Smith creates real, three dimensional characters with utterly believable and individual personalities. Luka’s relationships with his family are utterly heart-warming, and his tenderness towards his children manages to melt even the coldest Ukranian snow. The intricate plot, combined with the landscape that emerges as its own character is compelling, and readers will struggle to put down the book until they have turned the very last page – and even then, they are likely to find themselves hungry for more.

  • ✨Susan✨
    2019-03-11 15:44

    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 only a very short section that 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.

  • Lena♥Ribka
    2019-03-17 13:42

    AudibleMany episodes reminded me of Enemy at the Gate...Turbulent times of a fateful and tragic historical events in Western Ukraine at the beginning of the 1930s. Dan Smith knows exactly how to keep his readers on the edge of their seats. For sure a thrilling and gripping story, not only for fans of historical fiction. The main figure, Luka, a veteran of the First World War and the Russian Civil War, a former solder and now a farmer, struggles to make ends meet, keep his family alive at threat of impending famine and a forced collectivization by Soviets, has to face a new unexpected danger. I didn't expect this historical novel to turn into a brilliant thriller with a main focus on two men playing a cat-and-mouse game. I don't know how healthy such read is for my mental condition. But I swear, I've never wanted to wiped off the face of the earth so many characters at once. (I counted at least 4 ). No, not wiped off. SLAUGHTER. If I only could!..(view spoiler)[ (hide spoiler)]It is why I stay a bit reserved with my full stars rating. I just didn't buy the transformation of one of those characters at the very end. Not him. Too good to be true. But it would have been nice this way if... The narrator, Nigel Carrington, did a good job. Highly recommended as an audiobook.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Krissy
    2019-03-17 16:38

    Amazing. Some of the best writing I've come across in a long time. Listened to the audiobook with my husband and he loved it as well. Excellent narrator too. My Rating: 5 stars His Rating: 5 stars

  • Alona
    2019-02-28 18:00

    Might be the best book i read this yer!I simply can't emphasize enough what an amazing book this one is!Brilliant writing, gripping story and characters that gets into your heart and head and does not leave.I was literally at the edge of my seat for almost the whole read.It's a thriller but it is also SO SO much more.Please read it! You'll thank me!

  • John Wiltshire
    2019-02-28 16:41

    I was a couple of pages into this and realised I'd read it before. It's worth more than one read, so I carried on. This is a quite astonishing novel. Although the whole book is about a small band of men chasing another who has taken a child, the act of abduction is only the spark which ignites another story. This is a tale about soldiers and the political systems that fail them. In this book it's Russia in the early 19th century, but it could be any era, any system. Politics fail and men are sent to war, a country relying on men's natural aggression to save them. Then, when the wars end the same men are cast back into societies--unwanted, unrewarded and often broken. This man (we'll call him the father of the child), has spent his life fighting, first for the Tsar, then for the Red Army and so on and so on. Now, on a tiny impoverished farm in the Ukraine, barely able to feed his family, he's about to lose everything he has to yet another failed political system: communism. Before the Russians can arrive to confiscate everything he has and send him and his family to labour camps to be worked to death for the collective good, the girl is stolen. The reason why she's been taken and the discovery of who has taken her unfolds over the course of the hunt. This novel is taut, thrilling, heartbreaking and totally unputdownable. Highly recommended either to history buffs or those who just love great storytelling.

  • Sharon Burgin
    2019-03-03 12:52

    Reading the book synopsis you may be forgiven for thinking that this is going to be another gloomy story about war torn Russia in the middle of winter. But not so. Yes it’s a tale of an ex-soldier now a farmer, his twin sons and their search for the ‘Child Thief’ who has kidnapped his niece. But it’s heart-warming and also has twists and turns that you don’t always foresee.Dan Smith builds the story up slowly. Yes it’s winter, it’s cold and the villagers don’t have enough to eat. But they are survivors and don’t moan about their lot. They accept it. He builds your interest in the characters, their lives, hopes and fears. You empathise with them and their way of life.Then he introduces the Child Thief and his grim cannibalistic tendencies. This may appear gruesome, but leads to a chase across the Steppe meeting new challenges and characters along the way.At one stage I thought I had misread something, or that Dan Smith had made an error in his story, but in good detective fashion it showed you the truth behind the tale. I don’t want to ruin the story for you though.You may be disheartened at the start of the book by the bleakness, but by the end your faith in humanity is restored and you will be glad that you did not put it down.

  • Mike Navalinski
    2019-02-27 10:45

    Dan Smith's first fictional effort is a first-rate page turner of the highest degree that-oh God, here comes that cliche-you can't put down once you have begun. Dark, intense, poignant, this story of a former Ukranian/Russian soldier is a freaking gem. Inhaled in three days I found myself putting off tasks, skipping favorite tv shows and even laying in my lawn chair turning white fat to brown until the final page. I feel blessed to have read two amazing books by two up and coming writers (Smith and Adam Johnson, author of The Orphan Master's Son)back to back this summer and highly recommend both. I highly anticipate both of these gentlemen's next offering!!!!!

  • Ian
    2019-03-14 17:40

    Just a brilliant read. Chilling both in temperature and in subject matter. I loved Dan Smith's debut novel Dry Season and then was somewhat disappointed by his second Dark Horizons, but this is simply top drawer. Set in 1930 Stalinist Ukraine, former soldier Luka is battling not just life and the brutal, unfeeling oppression of the times but also the prejudices of his village when he brings a half dead stranger home with him from a hunting trip. When it is found that one of the two dead children of that stranger has potentially been a victim of a cannibal and Luka's young niece subsequently goes missing, he is thrust into a search and a hunt for the child thief that leads him and his two teenage sons into some of the base depths that humanity is too often capable of. It's a very dark subject but Luka and several of the supporting cast shine bright as Dan Smith pulls skilfully on the cords of tension throughout. Yep.....loved it.

  • Daphne
    2019-02-24 16:47

    The Child Thief wasn't a book I had on my TBR, I pretty much picked it at random in the library. Sometimes I'm the type of person who can get too bogged down in what I feel like I should be reading and treating my TBR list as a to-do list. So picking a book without knowing much about it and without having planned to read it for ages is something I don't do a lot. In this case it was a good decision, as The Child Thief gripped me and held my attention in a way not many books do. It's very tense and grim, but not without hope. I really enjoyed the setting and time period even though I didn't actually know a lot about either. That made it hard to follow at times, but not enough to stop me from enjoying the well-constructed plot.

  • Chris Petit
    2019-02-17 16:52

    A real page turner. Takes the reader to places he's never been ,with tension and suspense.

  • Brenda Selner
    2019-02-19 13:32

    Maybe the best book I've read in 2017. There are so many twists and turns! You'll breathe a sigh of relief, and then...Oh, No...!

  • Becky
    2019-03-02 15:47

    As big as my TBR is, you have to know that I'm adding to it all the time. New books are hitting shelves every week and I read your reviews. In June, Stacy (the Bookbitch), reviewed Dan Smith's The Child Thief, saying it was "Sure to appeal to fans of David Benioff and Tom Rob Smith." So of course I had to add it to my must read list!The Child Thief was released in hardcover on June 1 from Pegasus and in e format from Open Road Media just a few days later. My recent lack of sleep offered up the perfect opportunity to jump into the e edition and so I joined Luka and his family in the Ukraine in the wee hours of the morning, instantly finding myself drawn into their story.It is 1930 and the remote village of Vyriv waits in tense fear for the arrival of the Red Army. But it isn't one of Stalin's soldiers who breaks apart their town. It's a sick and dying man trudging through the snow. Luka and his son find the man, barely able to stand, dragging a leaden down sled. Upon examination, Luka discovers the man has been dragging the bodies of two children, one of which shows signs of unthinkable mutilation. The man is in such bad shape that there's no way for him to tell his own tale or come to his own defense so Luka, a parent and a former soldier, sets aside his suspicions for the meantime and takes the man into his own home to recover. The people of the village are not so willing to wait. When they get word of the man and the dead children, they demand immediate justice. In the wake of their actions it is discovered that one of their own has disappeared. For Luka and the people of Vyriv, the nightmare has just begun. There's a lot going on in The Child Thief. First and foremost is the cat and mouse game between the child thief and Luka. Then you have the town's fear of the Red Army who have been seeking out small villages like theirs and enacting punishment - whether deserved or not - for crimes against the country (crimes like providing food and shelter for your family before the collective). The setting is harsh both in terms of time and locale, which adds immensely to the tension of The Child Thief.If you enjoy fast-paced and well-plotted thrillers (historical or not), I highly recommend adding Dan Smith to your to try lists. Benioff is in my TBR as we speak, but I can confirm that comparisons to Tom Rob Smith are definitely appropriate!

  • Victoria Watson
    2019-03-13 17:34

    This, Dan Smith's third novel, is a departure from him previous two books. Usually set in hot, jungle climes, 'The Child Thief' is a historical thriller set in the Ukraine in the middle of a punishing winter.This novel follows Luca - a war veteran - who sets out to save his niece from whoever has stolen her from their small village. Combining his determination to return his niece to her home with his skills as a sharp shooter, Luca doesn't anticipate much of a battle. However, the child thief has other plans. Set to a backdrop of political suspicion and paranoia, 'The Child Thief' is a remarkable achievement: a cross between George Orwell and 'The Road'.The description of the landscape is beautifully detailed without being unnecessary. Smith's exposition regarding the political situation is informative without being boring. This lesser-known historical conflict has some light shed on it whilst still maintaining the pace of the primary story.Luca's story is a demonstration of how the political and the personal merge. He is determined to bring his niece back to the village but all the while he must remain aware of the possibility that, while he is away, his village may be overrun by Soviet troops, making it impossible for any of them to return home.'The Child Thief' is a study of guilt, family, what it is to be a hero and the psychology - and after-effects - of war.This novel is atmospheric and taut, many scenes had me holding my breath with nerves while willing the protagonist to stay alive. This is an absolutely thrilling, heart-stopping read.

  • Txkimmers
    2019-02-22 14:38

    I listened to the Audible version of this book, and I found it completely gripping, but I couldn't say I loved this book. I often felt like the author took things just a bit too far in trying to establish who his characters were, reflecting their motivations in the words of other characters in conversations that ended up feeling more redundant than revelatory. Bronson Pinchot, a very talented actor, reads the story (as told in the point of view of the protagonist, Luka) with a veritable Swiss Army knife of a Russian accent, and which I would have found completely distracting if he wasn't just really so very good as a narrator overall.It was like getting "Now with 20% MORE" of all kinds of things of which the novel really didn't need. That being said, I really enjoyed it and it's not the kind of thriller I normally go for. So I guess my criticisms are the kind of nit-picky stuff that you should ignore. Let's just say that despite its subject matter and setting, this is not like reading Arthur Koestler, it's much more like watching Spielberg's early (but awesome) film "Duel".

  • Suzanne
    2019-03-19 14:43

    The year is 1930 and the location is the western Ukraine of the Soviet Union. Luka is a former soldier turned farmer, trying to quietly raise his family in a small town far removed from the political turmoil that is embroiling his country. But fate has destined that his little village would soon be the target of Soviet hostility, as soldiers make their way to these distant farmlands to steal their livelihoods and imprison their men in work camps. As the village braces for this brutal confrontation, another horror falls on their doorstep - a man pulling a sled with two dead children on board. The story that unravels from this incident will leave the village reeling and change Luka's life forever.The Child Thief is a fast-paced thriller that will leave you gripped to your seat and unable to look away. It was a perfect of blend of historical fiction with a suspenseful narrative. I loved it!

  • Sher
    2019-02-17 16:41

    Dear America, With all your faults and idiosyncrasies, you are still the best, and I am proud to be an American. So many people do not have the freedoms we have, in spite of recent declines here at home. At least we are still entitled to a fair trial. I know I know. Sometimes they aren't fair, but usually they are and for that I am grateful. Yes, I know we are the "me" generation, but there are still so many who would give you the proverbial shirt off their backs if they saw your need. We still have a military who lays its collective life on the line for my freedom on a daily basis, even in a meaningless war. Yes you aren't perfect, but thank you for being as good as you are. Thank you for not being like so many countries in this world that deprive their citizens of even their very self worth, and require them to live in constant fear. Yes, the rumor is true, America. I love you, A (Mostly) Free Citizen

  • Amir Atef
    2019-03-01 16:43

    I really pleased the author Dan Smith :))) , that was able to come up with a satisfying ending that realistically answered the readers' question about why a person would do what the Child Thief did. Too many times authors leave their readers dissatisfied with the antagonist's motivation. even in a meaningless war. Yes you aren't perfect, but thank you for being as good as you are. Thank you for not being like so many countries in this world that deprive their citizens of even their very self worth...

  • Jo
    2019-03-11 12:44

    A man barely alive transporting two dead and mutilated children turns up in a small village in 1930s Ukraine. Did he kill them? Luka takes him and decides to care for him until he can say for sure. But things get out of control, the villagers panic and soon a child goes missing. Luka and his sons set off to retrieve her from the Child Thief. Lots of twists and turns and an unexpected ending. The cold and oppressive snow also makes the setting more bleak and you can almost feel it around you. A very interesting tale.

  • Heather
    2019-03-02 11:42

    I listened to the audio version...and it was wonderful. The narrator did a greAt job with the different characters and accents. I knew from the reviews that the main story was about a man setting off with his two sons in the frozen Ukraine in search of a child that was taken from the village. It is so much more. The book keeps a steady pace as the crunch through the snow...the history of Luka, war, the communist takeover, who people chose to be in the face of danger and fear, and what is worth living or dying for. Loved the book.

  • Chris Gillies
    2019-02-27 16:01

    A rare departure from my usual genre of books, I really enjoyed reading this book. The twists and turns within the book keep the readers interest, and the writing is very polished. Towards the end you can predict, to a relatively accurate degree, what the final twists and turns will be but they still don't fail to surprise and shock when they happen. Well worth reading, will probably read again sometime in the future.

  • Karon Buxton
    2019-03-16 13:47

    3 1/2 stars if I hadn't already read and loved child 44 I would give this book 4 1/2 stars but it's far too similar And frankly not as good, but then again. child 44 is a 10 out of 5stars read . This was our January book club read and If it hadn't been I don't think I would have made it to the end.

  • Courtney
    2019-03-13 10:42

    Thrilling, easy read. Great story with twists and turns. I could not put it down. Not at all what I expected when I started. Also provides insight into a county and a period of history I knew little about.

  • Andy Weston
    2019-03-20 13:49

    A strong start to a novel that manages to keep a steady pace throughout but not quite fulfilling its early promise. The cold and bleak scenery and backdrop of the Russian Civil War add to the atmosphere.

  • Karen
    2019-03-08 14:34

    Exceedingly suspenseful story set against the backdrop of on-coming Soviet take over, of survival in dire poverty and brutal winter.

  • Carolyn Haley
    2019-02-21 11:37

    A gripping, unnerving, and very different sort of thriller. See my review at

  • Sandra
    2019-03-02 12:47

    This was a Daily Deal that turned out to be a very pleasant surprise.

  • Classiccolors
    2019-02-18 12:39

    Bronson Pinchot is a fantastic narrator. So intense I kept having to hit pause. Ending was a little weak.

  • Joanne
    2019-03-14 10:59

    I really enjoyed this book. It is a good combination of history, suspense, and character development. If you have studied Russian or Ukrainian history, you will knows that cannibalism happened during times of extreme hunger and famine. If you read this book knowing those facts, I think you will agree that the ability of human beings to help one another in terrible times inspires hope. The loyalty of family and friends depicted in this story and the willingness of strangers to help each other inspires me. Yes, there is a lot of violence, but I am puzzled by some of the comments that say you must have a strong stomach to read this book. I did not find the descriptions of the violence to be too graphic. (I find books on the brutality and torture by the African slave traders to much worse, but that is another topic.) This book reminds me of "The Russlander," by Sandra Birdsell, which is also an excellent read.

  • Naomi
    2019-03-18 17:50

    This novel strongly reminds me of one of the best I have read called "Child 44" by Tom Rob Smith. Its setting is close to the same, including the ice and cold of Ukraine. Its lead character is Luka, a Russian war veteran who is the only one in his 1930s village who has the skill to track down the criminal that perpetrated the horrible crime of stealing a child from the village. It is a taunt, harsh look at conditions for the people living there and what horrors they endured just to get through the day. The suspense is not quite as great as "Child 44" but it will certainly do!