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Publisher's Summary

Russka is the story of four families who are divided by ethnicity but united in shaping the destiny of Russia. From a single riverside village situated at one of the country’s geographic crossroads, Russia’s Slav peasant origins are influenced by the Greco-Iranian, Khazar, Jewish, and Mongol invasions. Unified by this one place, the many cultures blend to form a rich and varied tapestry.

Rutherfurd’s grand saga is as multifaceted as Russia itself: harsh yet exotic, proud yet fearful of enemies, steeped in ancient superstitions but always seeking to shape the emerging world. Peter the Great, Ivan the Terrible, Catherine the Great, and Lenin all play their roles in creating and destroying the land and its people.

In Russka, Edward Rutherfurd has transformed the epic history of a great civilization into a human story of flesh and blood.

©1991 Edward Rutherfurd (P)2000 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“Rutherfurd literally personifies history.” ( New York Daily News)
“Impressive…Rutherfurd has indeed embraced all of Russia.” ( Washington Post Book World)
“Russka succeeds where [other books] of trendy Soviet-watching have failed…Rutherfurd can take his place among an elite cadre of chroniclers such as Harold Lamb, Maurice Hindus, and Henri Troyat.” ( San Francisco Chronicle)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    181
  • 4 Stars
    157
  • 3 Stars
    71
  • 2 Stars
    22
  • 1 Stars
    12

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    204
  • 4 Stars
    123
  • 3 Stars
    43
  • 2 Stars
    8
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    13

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
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  • 3 Stars
    60
  • 2 Stars
    22
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    14
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful Historical Novel

I was so very glad to discover you had added Russka to you Edward Rutherford's books. He is a truly wonderful writer, whose's books are exhaustively researched and very accurate, yet full of characters that make a wonderful novel - Wonderful!

I only wish you'd release his other works "The Forest". "London", etc in a unabridged format. Abridging these novels is almost a sin.

Wonderful book worth both the time and credit!

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

History, Intrigue...Rutherford

Would you listen to Russka again? Why?

I would listen again. All the details and all the time covered is worth hearing again.

Any additional comments?

As with the other Rutherford books, this fantastic weaving of history and fiction makes listening a joy and learning effortless.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Not Rutherfurd's Best,but very good!

I am a huge fan of Rutherfurd, I love big books and history. I did listen to Russka twice back to back to firmly implant the family names in my mind, and I found I enjoyed it more the second time around. The book gave me a little different view of Russian history than I had. All I can say is, it has to be good to listen to it twice. I found the narration of Wanda McCaddon very good as well. I had enjoyed her in Sarum.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Understanding Russia

This story follows the Russian/Ukraine people from approximately 100 AD to the present. It's an ambitious task and was well done. Despite the hundreds of characters the story flowed well although in they all intertwined in the end sometimes I felt a story line had been left "hanging". The book does an excellent job of going thru the various politics that have an impact on today's global struggles. I found myself "googling" places and looking at Maps to get an idea of "where" things were happening. Over all an excellent read.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • M
  • 07-22-13

Sweeping

If you could sum up Russka in three words, what would they be?

Thorough, Sweeping, Surprising

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

I began to find the relationships and outcomes somewhat predictable. Although I love historical fiction -- it's the only way for me to put the facts into a context -- I'm disappointed by pat outcomes and unlikely coincidences. I would have liked a little more time with fewer characters.

What about Wanda McCaddon’s performance did you like?

The delivery was clear and her shift between voices was adept. I never felt lost in a conversation.

Any additional comments?

I love this kind of giant, challenging novel. I'm always sorry when they approach the present and I know I will be leaving it all behind.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Catherine
  • CHEYENNE, WY, United States
  • 06-25-13

Excellent read/listen

I chose to listen to this book in preparation for my 3-week trip to Russia. My prior understanding of Russia had been picked up from Dr. Zhivago and remembering the Cold War when Krushchev was their leader. Rutherfurd has done an excellent job of putting Russian history into story form. In fact, after the trip, I listened to the book a second time because now I can put some things in perspective with what I had experienced when I was there. What a great learning experience!

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jackie
  • San Antonio, TX, United States
  • 06-06-14

Another Success

Would you consider the audio edition of Russka to be better than the print version?

Didn't read the print version

What did you like best about this story?

I loved the continuity. This was an epic tale.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No, my reaction was pretty even

Any additional comments?

This was a great story

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

This book is long in coming

If you could sum up Russka in three words, what would they be?

I waited for this book to come out on Audible for a long time. I read it back in the 90s, and this audio version does not disappoint. I love the mingling of different narratives throughout the history of Russia. It truly helps the reader understand how a Russian mentality is different from our own Western mentality.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

This book is too long to listen to in one sitting. It has different narratives spanning the entire history of Russia, so it is easily broken up into smaller (but still very substantial) parts.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A story that breathes history as easily as air

What made the experience of listening to Russka the most enjoyable?

The novel is sufficiently detailed that, despite the subject matter's alien nature to most readers, it is easy to follow and enjoy. Rutherford's writing style is a joy to experience, and flows smoothly through eons without skipping a beat or weakening in the least. Additionally, Ms. McCaddon is a superb narrator, whose talent with voices and inflection --- as well as her gentle and very relaxing voice --- helps paint a vivid picture with the source she's been given.

What did you like best about this story?

I liked the believability and the (mostly) period-accurate attitudes and experiences of the characters. All too often a historical novel will veer off into platitudes designed to make more comfortable the less-than-palatable portions of the time period. This severely detracts from the quality of the work, as the characters are not allowed to live within their time but, rather, must pay lip service to the views of an author who lives decades, centuries, or even millenia beyond the characters. The characters in Russka act like first-, tenth-, and seventeenth-century Russians: they own serfs, they are devoted to the Tsar and not to democracy, they are religiously narrow; they beat their wives in the fashion of the time; they enjoy bloodsport; and they suffer continual and serious setbacks which are, while not minimized, often placed into cold comparison with the sufferings of their own serfs, to which they do not even consider paying mind. For why would any Russian nobleman pay mind to his serfs; his property? And yet they are characters who live, who experience love and confusion and happiness and joy. What better shows the talent and devotion of an author than his or her ability to write living believable characters, rather than flat, unbelievable propaganda pieces?

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This book did something for me which few books manage to do: it made me experience genuine emotion. Turmoil, lack of surety, sadness, and even dread. I was invested in the characters and their lives. I wanted things to work out for them. I shook my head and gawked at their bad, disgusting, even evil actions. Yet I understood why they did what they did. At times I felt intense sorrow when bad things happened to the people whose lives I was allowed to look down upon from above, and was permitted in my limited wisdom to judge. I wanted them safe, happy, and successful. And yet, where then would be the story? An age-old conundrum I dare say.

Any additional comments?

I highly recommend this book. It may be a tad long for some, at more than 900 pages, and its complexity might not be attractice to many. It does require a good deal of consideration of past events, and thinking through familial connections. It is easy to get characters confused with other characters, and even (at some points) to wonder why we haven't heard from a specific person in a while, only to realize that we have gone three-hundred years beyond that person's death. This can be quite a shock, if one does not pay attention. Nevertheless, it is an excellent novel, well-written and lacking in little. Believable characters, realistic depicitons of Russian history, and a respect for the intelligence of the reader make this one of my favorite novels.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book on the history of Russia.

Just wish it spent more time on the soviet union. But overall a very good performance and story

1 of 1 people found this review helpful