The story follows the fortunes of five intertwined families: the noble Bobrovs, serf Romanovs, Cossack Karpenkos; the Suvorins - Old Believers , capitalists and patrons of the arts; and lastly the Popovs, parish priests and revolutionaries. Members of these families seek their destinies through the old Russian period of golden Kiev , with its famous Orthodox cathedrals and monasteries, the terrible invasions of the Mongol descendants of Genghis Khan, the rise of Moscow and the boyars, and the dark days of Ivan the Terrible and his secret police. Modern times begin with the wild, romantic story of the Cossacks , the conflict between the indomitable westernizer, Peter the Great , and the religious Old Believers who burn themselves alive rather than enter the europeanised world of St Petersburg. Warriors and hermits, boyars and serfs, romantic heroines and rich old ladies, fortune-builders and exiles - the characters in RUSSKA inhabit the rich, astonishing, evocative and contradictory world of forest and steppe, icon and axe, Orthodox faith and Jewish persecution, of gorgeous churches, magnificent palaces, and squalid villages; of Russian folk art and sumptuous opera, of Tolstoy and Lenin, Tchaikovsky and Rasputin. Rutherfurd believes in adding color and adventure to facts that are exhaustively researched, making history palatable if not delicious.

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Start your review of Russka: The Novel of Russia Write a review Shelves: favorites , historical-fiction , british-literature , history , russia The steppe was quiet that night. So was the forest. Softly the wind moved over the land. 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, Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev, Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Gorgi, Nureyev, and the list is endless.

All I am able to say is that bringing the course of Russia through the centuries into life is a daunting task. And I can think of noone better to bring it to fruition than Edward Rutherfurd. Rutherfurd uses a small community named Russka and follows his familiar and fascinating technique. We follow the descendants of two families through time, starting from AD all the way to the 90s, from the Roman times to the fall of the Iron Curtain.

The characters are men and women that have their weaknesses and strengths, their hopes and fears, feelings that are mainly dependant on who has the absolute power over the troubled country at any given era. He paints with words. His descriptions of battles, political machinations and daily life are equally exciting. He touches upon religious, political and philosophical matters in a simple, clear, confident manner.

Each story-chapter is a small literary treasure, a necessary piece to the beautiful Russian tapestry he has created, but there are some that simple stand out. A tale set in AD. A word of caution, though. It is not a chapter for readers who are sensitive in issues like incest and problematic sexual relationships. In this story, Rutherfurd has created a very interesting and tragic relationship between Boris and Elena, a young married couple who do everything they can to destroy one another.

A wonderful journey in the life of the Cossacks, during a tumultuous era in Russian history and the influence of Poland in the religious and political issues of the country.

Petersburg, this glorious, mesmerizing city, and the Golden Age of Russia. The era when everything flourished under the reign of Catherine the Great. The French Revolution has planted a mighty seed all over Europe and the people begin to question everything they used to take for granted. However, revolutions are always double-edged swords and Rutherfurd writes about the darkest times in Russian History with sensitivity and objectivity.

Trying to trace the complex history of Russia while being completely objective, professional and respectful, is toiling work. Even writing a simple, unimportant review about this great country is tricky,because there are always the ones looking for a fight, trying to lure you into cheap political commentary.

I have read many, many books that combine History and Fiction to narrate the tale of the beautiful country.


Russka: The Novel of Russia



Edward Rutherfurd




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