August 27th, 2017


Book Review: Russka, by Edward Rutherfurd

Writer of big fat historical novels writes big fat historical novel about Russia.


Ballantine Books, 1991, 960 pages

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.

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Also by Edward Rutherfurd: My reviews of Sarum: The Novel of England and New York.

My complete list of book reviews.