Set in a small and tight-knit community of 'honest criminals' in a remote part of the former Soviet Union, this is a tale of an extreme childhood - exotic, violent and completely unique. Nicolai Lilin gained his 'education' as a member of the Siberian Urkas - a self-contained criminal fraternity - in a forgotten corner of Eastern Europe. It was a remarkable upbringing, defined by an elaborate set of riuals and strict codes of honour. The community had a deep distrust of outsiders - especially the police and state authorities - and split itself into 'honest' and 'dishonest' criminals. Even their youngest children were taught to understand violence and when it was appropriate to use it. By the age of six, Nicolai Lilin is given his first 'pike knife' by an uncle and by the age of twelve he has been convicted of attempted murder. A huge bestseller in Lilin's current home country, Italy, Siberian Education is an extraordinary snapshot of a violent world.