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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another classic Rutherfurd-style history
Russka tells the story of the history of the Russian heartland using Edward Rutherfurd's proven style of historic novel writing. If you have not previously read a Rutherfurd offering, he cleverly describes history as a series of short stories following several fictional family trees he develops through the book, alongside historical events and characters. All in all, it's...
Published on 18 Jan. 2004 by Darren Simons

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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit tedious at times
Edward Rutherfurd uses his well known method to describe the history of Russia: take two families from a certain hamlet, start in prehistoric times and follow their adventures, ups and downs in a number of chapters set over the centuries. And by doing this he can give a very good description of historically important events in the area. It worked very well for London,...
Published on 14 Oct. 2005 by Linda Oskam


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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another classic Rutherfurd-style history, 18 Jan. 2004
By 
Darren Simons (Middlesex, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Russka (Paperback)
Russka tells the story of the history of the Russian heartland using Edward Rutherfurd's proven style of historic novel writing. If you have not previously read a Rutherfurd offering, he cleverly describes history as a series of short stories following several fictional family trees he develops through the book, alongside historical events and characters. All in all, it's a great way to read an entertaining book and learn a lot about the subject matter in the process.
Incredibly well researched (Rutherfurd points out that it took him 5 years to write this book), I really got a sense of Russian history from reading this, both in terms of its proud heritage and how the public viewed their Royal Family there. I read this book a few months after reading Rutherfurd's London book, and although the style is similar, that's where the similarity ends. For one thing, Russka is a far bigger area than London, describing instead the Russian heartlands, using villages based near Kiev and then Moscow as the backdrow for the novel.
All in all, I strongly recommend you read this book. I didn't think it was quite as good as London which was I believe written some time later, but don't let that detract from the quality of the story.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit tedious at times, 14 Oct. 2005
By 
Linda Oskam "dutch-traveller" (Amsterdam Netherlands) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Russka (Paperback)
Edward Rutherfurd uses his well known method to describe the history of Russia: take two families from a certain hamlet, start in prehistoric times and follow their adventures, ups and downs in a number of chapters set over the centuries. And by doing this he can give a very good description of historically important events in the area. It worked very well for London, Sarum and The Forest, but I have to say it works less for Russka: at times the stories are long, making them slightly boring and the rivalries between the families are more important than the historical events. There are some interesting chapters, notably Forest and Steppe, Ivan (the Terrible), Peter (the Great) and Revolution, but I had to struggle through some of the other chapters. And then 945 pages is quite a lot...
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Now I understand a little more about Russia..., 31 Dec. 2003
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This review is from: Russka (Paperback)
Another one of the same. Sarum and The Forest, and now Russka. I do like the format but I did get a bit fed up three quarters of the way through.
The author constantly alludes to things which are about to happen in the next scene e.g. “Afterwards, she could never explain to herself how it was that the madness had seized her…” or “He was bound to have got into trouble sooner or later. And as Olga reminded Alexis, one didn’t have to do much to be in hot water these days”. This put me on tenterhooks and instead of relaxing with this book I was constantly waiting for the sword of Damacles to fall on the poor unfortunate whose turn it was in that part of the story.
However, and it is a big however – I shall never see Russia and its surrounding lands in the same way again. I have an understanding of the country’s history and thereby, a much better understanding of its present. Although I did get bogged down by page 700 (who can blame me) I still want to get starting on Edward Rutherford’s London as soon as I’ve finished the frothy historical novel I’ve just started (to give my brain and my blood pressure a rest).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A breath-taking novel of epic proportions., 24 April 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Russka (Paperback)
Russka is a historical novel which guides the reader through Russia's often complex, yet fascinating past. Rutherford has crafted a novel which intertwines fact and fiction to the extent that, at times, it is hard to distinguish between the two. In choosing Russia as his subject the author has provided the reader with an insight into a world far detached from that of the West. Russka is a novel of epic proportions encompassing love, war, friendship, betrayal and loyalty. The vivid descriptions of the cities, the endless forests and majestic sweeping steppe provide the reader with a wealth of vibrant images. This portrayal of Russia's landscape remains in ones mind long after the final page has been turned. As with his previous novel, Sarum, Edward Rutherford has set a precedent which will be hard for others to follow. The sheer amount of historical detail coupled with the wonderful characterisation has resulted in a novel reminiscent of a genre, which has for some time been sidelined by the literary world. Sarum, Russka, and his latest work London all display Rutherfords clear love affair with history and the characters, fictitious or otherwise, who play their individual parts to such breath-taking effect.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 8 Jan. 2002
This review is from: Russka (Paperback)
Yes!!! Another brilliant book by Edward Rutherford...a totally excellent writer in my view. He drags you straight into the tale, then keeps you there with a magical combination of fact and fiction. I would recommend this to anyone interested in history, but there is also a moving background story of almost 'real' people which ties it all together - don't be afraid of how fat the book is! When you reach the end, it seems as if it was too short...and there is a LOT for us to learn about Russia and the Russians
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Could not finish it, 27 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Russka (Paperback)
I love Edward Rutherford's books as a rule and I also love History, however this book did absolutely nothing for me, I found it quite dull. I never usually part with books from certain authors and Rutherford is one I tend to collect, but this book made it to the charity shop pile! I would recommend Sarum, The Forest, London, Dublin and New York, but not this one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars russia all wrapped up, 23 May 2000
By 
John-PaulSanders "Bookfan" (South West England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Russka (Paperback)
The history of this fascinating land is complex. However Rutherfurd is at his peak when combining fact with fiction to provide the reader with a well paced journey through time. His great narrative combined with winning dialogue serves to speed the reader through the years as this great country develops.
Read it, you won't regret it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Historical Epic Ruined by Abrupt End, 21 July 2013
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This review is from: Russka (Paperback)
One of the richest historical tapestries written in the 20th century bringing Russian pre-revolutionary history to life like nothing since Tolstoy.I loved every minute of it and lived with the figures in the novel-wept ,rejoiced and feared for them.Saw the barbarism of the first settlements by nomadic people,the cruelty of Ivan the Terrible,the pompous hypocricy of the court of Catherine The Great and the confusion and despair of the 19th century and the excitement and fear of the pre-revolutionary era.But I was bitterly disapointed that Rutherford did not document the horrors of the Stalin period in more detail and did not cover the years of Russian history after World II.How wonderful an acount of the stalled reforms of Kruschev,the stagnation of the later Kruschev years and of the Brezhnev years.The Cold war and the invasions of Poland,Hungary,Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan ,the indocrination by the Communist party and the valour of the persecuted dissidents,through the eys of different Russian people would have been.The collapse of the Soviet union and the heroic stand by the people of Moscow against the failed 1991 Stalinist coup would have enriched and completed the account.Because this was abruptly ommited I will give the novel four instead of five stars
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Peaks of fascination intermingled with troughs of tedium., 25 Oct. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Russka (Paperback)
Edward Rutherford is a fantastic author. That is a fact. Russka is less able to keep you hooked through to the end than any other book of his. Some of the intricate storylines are brilliant, but it becomes almost an essay of Russion politics towards the end. This said, it is worth a read, but is not as good as London or The Forest.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping stories, but..., 21 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Russka (Paperback)
I came across this book by accident and had no prior knowledge of the author, so my reaction to it was "objective." (Only later did I found out about the success of Rutherfurd's creative formula in "London" and "Sarum," which I haven't yet read.)

In the opening chapter, I was astonished by the heavy-handed presence and intrusive voice of the narrator, explaining historical facts to me and even telling me how to pronounce words, while supposedly creating a fictional context. For example, I found the repeated pedantic references to the "R" shape of the area around the second Russka bordered by three rivers, intrusive in the extreme: hence my 4-star evaluation.

However -- if one is willing to overlook these clunky intrusions by the omniscient narrator, "Russka" offers a richly documented view of the long history of an important and little-known country. I found the many family stories gripping, and I was reluctant each time to say "Good bye" as the author obliged me to take another leap forward of 70-80 years.

Although it is an established Russian tradition to perpetuate use of the same first names down the generations, this device became increasingly confusing in the last third of the novel. Without the family tree at the front of the book, I would have been totally lost and very frustrated. As it was, even in the last chapter, I was still looking at the tree and trying to see how all the characters were connected.

Despite these technical distractions, I found the whole subject of the novel absolutely fascinating and have been researching different periods of Russian history online, in order to understand and learn more.

Growing up as teenager during the Cold War, it was unthinkable to study or even talk about the former Soviet Union in polite conversation. I am glad that we can now explore this amazing and complex country more freely. Kudos to Rutherfurd for all his hard work and tremendous creativity!
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Russka
Russka by Edward Rutherfurd (Paperback - 4 Jun. 1992)
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