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Russka: The Novel of Russia

(Ruska #1)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  11,530 ratings  ·  641 reviews
Spanning 1800 years of Russia's history, people, poltics, and culture, Edward Rurtherford, author of the phenomenally successful SARUM: THE NOVEL OF ENGLAND, tells a grand saga that is as multifaceted as Russia itself. Here is a story of a great civilization made human, played out through the lives of four families who are divided by ethnicity but united in shaping the des ...more
Paperback, 960 pages
Published March 1st 2005 by Ballantine Books (first published 1991)
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Shawn Yes, I liked it. I was really into anything Russian for a few months and I picked it up then.
What I liked about it besides the subject was how…more
Yes, I liked it. I was really into anything Russian for a few months and I picked it up then.
What I liked about it besides the subject was how it kinda drew you into the characters so you cheered for the peasant guy who was trying to make it big by discovering ways to make money like through bees. The coolest thing was finding the work of the generations being reflected into the next generation, so you'd see the larger points of history develop and see a "liberal" main character have a child who turns extraordinarily conservative, you see the reaction to Peter the Great, Ivan the terrible.
It's historical fiction so it does make you want to check which parts are accurate and which aren't but it doesn't make a huge mystery out of it and you can mostly see which parts are true. I learned a lot that I didn't know happened during the feudal age.

I think if you're looking for something that gives you a wide perspective of what was happening throughout Russian history then you should pick up this book. It does some set-up throughout the start of the book that makes more sense why he did it later down the road, so it gets more interesting. (less)

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Amalia Gavea
‘’The steppe was quiet that night. So was the forest. Softly the wind moved over the land.’’

Russia...Few countries are able to create such vivid images once you hear their names. Those of us who had the good fortune to visit that beautiful country will be able to understand the heart of this book even better. A land of antitheses, a land of classical and primitive beauty, a land created by blood, tears and religion, a land where every form of Art flourished, giving birth to Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, P
Jun 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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-revolution ...more
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book. This sweeping saga of a huge nation. A proud nation, is why I cannot hate Russia. Also b.t.w., "They kinda rocked at the World Cup last year! Just saying!" I can despise the government. Hell, I'm about sick as can be about my own government. Die, Trump,.die! Yet, as always. People are so fucking human! Duh! No matter the decade, our age or our silly differences, all we want is a roof, food and family. Also, in my case, an electric blanket! Loved this book. Rutherfurd is better than Be ...more
I read this in 1992 when I was a very bored, unchallenged high school student. I got lost in the epic, sweeping tale and the history of the region. This book, above all other influences, is what propelled me to become an exchange student. Thanks to The Next Best Book Club in the thread, What books do you miss, for reminding me how much I wish I could recapture that complete absorption that happens when you read the right book at the right time.
Aug 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been reading this one off and on for the last three months. I have been caught up in other books and so it has kept me away from reading this one. I plan to do so now. It has the same feel as Sarum, of course, but it is a little harder for me to get into. Perhaps because I don't know the history of Russia as well to be able to put myself into the book. I am 5 chapters into it and I get the feeling that I will like it soon. (my husband says I will)

Now that I have finished it I
Oct 28, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-audio-books
If you know nothing about Russia, this makes for a five star read, but if you do know about it and especially if you lived there, things get more complicated.

I wanted to give this book three stars -- "liked it", by goodreads' definition. I forgave the author stereotypic nonsense about "Turkish face" and concentrated on parts and sub-plots which were truly good. But nonsensical mistakes and unrealistic details in the last chapter of the book devoted to the Soviet and post Soviet times
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
Russia is a country far too infrequently written about by Western novelists, but with Russka, Edward Rutherfurd helps remedy that lack. This book is practically a class in Russian history (and fun besides). I wasn't sure about the format, which is best described as ten novellas and three short stories, following two families (and their offshoots) through hundreds of years. But it really works. The chapters flow logically, so I didn't feel at all disoriented jumping from one to another. And I avo ...more
I was a bit disappointed with this book. Perhaps some of the disappointment comes from the fact that this is a novel about Russia written by a non-Russian author. Although I think that the main source of my disappointment is the span of this novel. This novel literally stretches from 100 AD to 1990. With a span like that, it's hard to keep a consistent plot, and certainly the characters bear no relation to each other, other than the fact that they all live in the same place.

This nove
Anna Ligtenberg
Oct 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 6-stars
ISBN 0804109729 - It's unavoidable that Rutherfurd be compared to Michener; their styles are similar, their books tend to be EPIC NOVELS and they both like one-word place-name titles. In a world without Michener, I'm especially glad there's Rutherfurd. Ignore the Russophiles; this book wasn't written for them. It is a novel, meant to entertain - dissecting it as if Rutherfurd had marketed it as a textbook is a ridiculous sort of snobbery.

Russka is set in two towns of the same name in

For some reason, I've been craving some early Russian history lately. I heard many good things about Rutherfurd's "Sarum: The Novel of England" and this novel, "Russka" had very good reviews as well, so I gave it a try. Unfortunately, it just didn't scratch my itch.

I love to learn about history through well-written, mostly accurate, historic fiction like Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Chronicles or the novels of Ken Follett. I even enjoy straight-up history as long as it isn't too dry - fo
Zorka Zamfirova
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Karen ⊰✿
It took me a while, but I finally got to the end!
This is a typical Rutherfurd book in that it spans many centuries following the same families. I am also fascinated with Russian history and I found the first part of the book very interesting.
For some reason this book didn't engage me as much as some of his others. I think it felt like there were just a ton of facts thrown at you almost as a list at points rather than exploring it as part of the story. I also thought that one of the more intere
May 24, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Like Edward Rutherfurd's other books, Russka focuses on one place, and tells its story through the centuries. His books are series of interconnected short stories, which are set in different eras of history. Characters in each story are often decendents of characters in earlier stories, so the books follow families down through history.

I've read and enjoyed all of Edward Rutherfurd's books, but I have to say that Russka isn't up to his usual standard. Russka is a fictional village in Russia, so
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
I like Edward Rutherfurd books (just in case I haven't mentioned before). I read London first and thought I enjoyed it because I knew the city, similarly with Sarum and had, kind of, assumed that you could really only appreciate books if you had some knowledge of the area. I haven't found this the case at all - as long as you have an interest in the world around you I think that you can enjoy all of Rutherfurd's books. Always written in the same style - a key group of families and we follow them ...more
M.G. Mason
So, onto the next mammoth book by Edward Rutherfurd who is known - perhaps uniquely - for creating a story around the history of a place and populating it with characters and their descendants as we move through history's most memorable events. This time, he has chosen to take on the geographically mighty Russia, telling its history from the second century AD through to 1990 and the end of Communism.

If you have read at least one of his works, you know what go expect. Each chapter is
Lisa - (Aussie Girl)
I am a big fan of Edward Rutherfurd's huge historical epics spanning the history of a place by linking it through the generations of several families.

In Russka, it spans some nearly 2000 years through a sprawling country filled with different peoples and cultures. A rich tapestry of source material for his epic novel you would imagine. But somehow maybe because of the length of time or in the stories of the people he chose to tell, I did not connect to the characters and their parts in such hug
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, russia
A well-written novel about Russian history and how its people interact within it’s rich and interesting culture. Rutherfurd makes the story of Russia come alive.
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, 2-stars, 2019
Historical fiction and I often get along well, and I was very hopeful going into this book. I remember being charmed with the characters and style of Rutherfurd's The Princes of Ireland, The Rebels of Ireland, and Sarum: The Novel of England, as well as awed by the scope Rutherfurd was able to cover so wonderfully about the history of these places through a web of interconnected families. However, this was missing the key element of charm for me.

Despite the fact that Sarum: The Novel of England covers a more encom
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I just finished (finally) reading Edward Rutherfurd's book about Russia. There are so many reviews of the thing I find I don't have that much to say about it, these are a few things I was wondering as I read. I found out that Edward Rutherfurd's real name is Francis Edward Wintle. I wonder why he decided to use a different name when he writes? I kind of like his real name better. See, that's the kind of thing I was thinking about. Another was, how long does it take this guy to write these books? ...more
Somewhere between a 3 and 3.5 stars.

Despite its incredible length (seriously its so damn long), I enjoyed the reading experience. One of my favourite things about these sorts of historical novels is how fictional characters/families interact with each other and history over the centuries and how little things from one section end up mentioned or relevant again in later sections (ex. The icon by Rublev).

However, this novel was published in 1991 by a (white) man and it shows. He uses some langua
Alexis (hookedtobooks)
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow what a book! Like the previous two Rutherfurd books I’ve read, this massive beast of a book encompasses so many important parts of history that’s it’s hard to describe all the key details! I must say I’m happy that this one went in chronological order, unlike Paris 😂
The book spans several generations throughout Russian history, set in a fictitious town of Russka. I love the idea of taking interesting historical events and telling them with fictional characters, as you get a sens
Ben Denison
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I always like Rutherford's books, but I need to stop trying to do these via Audiobooks. There is just so much going on in these saga's that close attention is a must and I frequently got lost as to the connections from one time period to another. Also these large books makes for a very long audio of 40 hours.

Rutherford does a great job weaving the geographic, ethnicity, religious, and political history into many characters and interactions. I love his stories.
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was a long read. I posted a running account of the read on Facebook. As usual, the author wrote a remarkable read. It covers the history of Russia from about 950 A.D. to 1991, and is told in narrative by fictitious characters. Mr. Rutherfurd is not stingy in naming real historical characters, too. This book did not have as much humor as his other books had, but that perhaps reflected the perilous journey of the history of Russia. Sometimes, there is not much to laugh about! I cannot stress en ...more
I picked this one during my Fall Reading Challenge, and after on-and-off reading over 18 weeks, I've finished. The 760 pages are not difficult, and skimming would just almost desecrate the text and dishonor its author. After I got to about 350 pages, I had to take a break; Rutherfurd's books are long and slow-going (not in a negative way, though), primarily because the scope is so broad (this one covers 1800 years). Plus, Rutherfurd has that gifted ability of description to transport the reader ...more
Feb 28, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves extensive novellas, long family histories and eastern european cultures
Shelves: dramae, world
Might be great for someone who loves epic (in time span) stories with deep roots in history, for someone who adores mostly russian but other eastern europeans' culture as well, who finds pleasure in reading really long books so (s)he could take a single book for a few days/weeks long journey... For me it was just another slightly boring book - there are many more intriguing and better known out there (eg. those kids were to read during school year) but since this one was not that well known amon ...more
Apr 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Insightful. Strangly sad. Characters I loved and hated. Laced with universal human truths. Using a narrative which sweeps through centuries, it becomes easier to understand how communism was a logical next step when it happened. And the eventual chaos after the collapse of the USSR also becomes easier to understand. The Eastern persspective was enlightening for me. I'm saddened by man's inhumanity to man - and mindful that we all particpate in it, no matter what country or time or activity we ar ...more
Jaime Contreras
Like James Michener, Edward Rutherford packs a lot into his historical fiction books. This book spans Russian history from the 1st century through the late-20th century. He does spend quite a bit of time on certain periods and glosses over others. His characters are fleshed out and represent their respective eras. The dialog is spirited and flowing. This is not as good as Sarum but better than most historical novels of this kind. I recommend this book with little reservations.
John Ratliffe
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
As you see this is a historical novel by Edward Rutherfurd, a Brit, nee Francis Edward Wintle, who writes under his pen name, and who has produced a prodigious bibliography. I must admit that I was not familiar with his oeuvre until now, and it took an act of courage to dive into an unknown (to me) one thousand page tome about a history of Russia spanning almost two thousand years. Some say the quality of the narrative is a bit uneven across all that time, but I say this is entirely forgivable c ...more
Jun 01, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I loved Edward Rutherford's Sarum. I have tried to finish this book at least 3 times. I wanted to read it, I wanted to learn as much about Russian history as I had about English history.

Sorry, the graphic incest just made me sick every time. "Nuf said."
Nov 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a book! Russian history is fascinating, and I am amazed how Edward Rutherfurd was able to put it all in a very readable and enjoyable novel. This is a book to read again to capture the many historic details. I loved this book!
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Francis Edward Wintle, best known under his pen name Edward Rutherfurd, was born in the cathedral city of Salisbury. Educated locally, and at the universities of Cambridge, and Stanford, California, he worked in political research, bookselling and publishing. After numerous attempts to write books and plays, he finally abandoned his career in the book trade in 1983, and returned to his childhood home to write SARUM ...more
“as I said,I believe in fate.Things happen as they are meant to be.We just have to recognize our destiny.” 26 likes
“But, she smiled, it seems to me he has a warm heart.” 1 likes
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