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Russka  By  cover art

Russka

By: Edward Rutherfurd
Narrated by: Roger Davis
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Publisher's Summary

In this vast and gorgeous tapestry of a novel, serf and master, Cossack and tsar, priest and Jew are brought together in a family saga which unrolls through centuries of history to reveal that most impenetrable and mysterious of lands - Russia.

Through the life of a little town east of Moscow in the Russian heartland, Edward Rutherfurd creates a sweeping family saga from the baffling contradictions of Russia's culture and her peoples - bleak yet exotic, brutal but romantic, land of ritual yet riddled with superstitious fears.

From Russia's dawn and the cruel Tatar invasions to Ivan the Terrible and the wild Cossacks, from Peter, Catherine and the days of War and Peace to the drama of the Revolution and the extraordinary events of today - here is Russia's story in a spellbinding novel - history recreated with breathtaking detail and passion.

©1991 Edward Rutherford (P)2019 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about Russka

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Beautifully Brings Russian History to Life

I thoroughly enjoyed the way Edward Rutherfurd wove the characters into a storyline spanning nearly 2000 years. The major historical events are iwoven through the lives of ordinary people in a way that adds color to the events and illustrates the effects on the people. I look forward to listening to other works by this author. Don't let the size (length) of this book stop you. The story is entertaining and keeps you involved in it... much like a mini series. Excellent narration too.

12 people found this helpful

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First half better than second

I liked some of Rutherford’s books more than others. ‘London’ and ‘New York’ fit the first category; ‘Paris’ and ‘Russka’ the second.

What I liked about Russka: the broad sweep of history. I read this to get background into Russian-Ukrainian relations, to put Russia’s 2022 invasion into an historical context. The first half of Russka did this reasonably well. I learned from it.

I also liked the narrator. Good voice and reading rhythm.

What I didn’t like: the second half of Russka became a soap opera, perhaps Rutherford’s attempt to write his own version of War and Peace. I didn’t learn much about Russian history from it and got confused by the large number of characters. Sometimes I couldn’t remember who was from which family and in which generation.

I looked forward each day to listening to this book until about 1800. After that, listening and finishing it became almost a burden.

3 people found this helpful

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Great history lesson

Wonderful history lesson told with stories of families from BC to 1990’s. You begin to understand Russia a bit more !

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Wonderful Historical Novel

I just discovered Mr. Rutherford's novels after completing Ken Follett's historical trilogies and feeling at a loss as to 'what next'? What a delight to find these books! I feel that I have learned much about Russia through his story telling and indeed some of what makes me shake my head about Russia and how the country interacts on the world stage, now makes more sense. Also, the narration of Roger Davis is excellent and makes me feel a part of the story.

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An epic on every level

This is a masterpiece and a thorough explanation of the entirety of Russia’s history. Unless we examine Russia’s past, and what therefore informs the country today, we are unlikely to understand it.

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So so

The rolling story generally had a mildly interesting plot. I felt the book could have used a more detailed telling of major historical events. I would have preferred more depth to the events of the last 100 years. I much more enjoyed this authors book ‘New York.’

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Not a favorite

I struggled with this one. Russka was in my library and I thought it would be a good time to learn a bit about the history of Russia. I have read other Rutherfurd books but this one just didn't engage me. The structure of the story is that centuries go by and the time spent on each character is very little so the story just didn't evolve. Things got a little more interesting in the more modern era and I did learn many interesting facts.

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Timely and as always for Edward Rutherfurd filled with fascinating historical facts.

Although not my favorite Edward Rutherford historical fiction, this one is particularly interesting given the times we live in today.

It is as if Edward Weatherford knew about the Ukrainian Russian conflict going on in 2022 and wrote this book to give the reader in-depth knowledge and understanding of a conflict that goes back before the 1800s. Like most Americans I had very little knowledge or understanding of the history of the region, or the geography, for example I did not know that : not very long ago Alaska was once considered part of Russia.

So after 40+ hours of listening I now do feel like I can hold my own in a conversation and comment on the issues with a little more confidence.

The underling message for me was , as always, men and woman desire freedom at their very core, that extreme’s in wealth and poverty and injustice and oppresion will inevitably lead to conflict , revolt, revolution and often times war. And that this is a cause that human kind will fight and die for. And as always the men in power who make the decision to go to war are most often not the ones that ultimately die and suffer.
A must listen for any history buff as well as those interested in philosophy, sociology, human nature and also the arts.

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Truly wonderful

Very Fine story telling. Covering such an expanse of time I would have been contented with multiple volumes. Timely for me with this area being a conflict zone now

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Narrator is stupendous! Love the accent! He makes it exciting and enjoyable to listen to and follow!

The story was amazing how it illuminated history. It was so interesting how the author connected the story from beginning to end! This is my 4th Rutherford novel.

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  • martin thomas
  • 06-28-21

Rambling epic

This is a good and engaging listen. Roger Davies is an accomplished narrator, bringing a light touch to the characterisation. The story itself is episodic, pinned to a historiography which is sufficient to add context but not burdensome in detail. As it rambles along through the centuries it provides enough entertainment to keep one engaged, but occasionally slips into cliche and predictability. As with other texts I have experienced by Rutherfurd, the final sections seem rushed and superficial

4 people found this helpful

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  • The Curator
  • 10-05-19

A curate’s egg

Inevitably, a book of this length and encompassing so many stories will vary in its ability to hold ones interest. I enjoyed some parts felt meh about others but no part really caught my attention enough to read the other books by the same author.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Tina Vincent
  • 06-01-21

Pretty boring actually.

Yes, I did struggle to finish this tedious tale because there was not a single moment when it gripped me or aroused an iota of interest in the vanilla characterisations of the peasants and their 'betters'. The whole was brightened occasionally by a couple of sentences containing facts about Russian history which the author might possibly have lifted from Wikipedia, but which I knew beforehand, anyway.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Pam Jolliffe
  • 11-24-22

Russia part of Russia or Ukraine?

Written 30 years ago as Russia came closer to the West. Russka is fictional and possibly near the Russia Ukraine border with an intertwining story of both through many years of history. In Rutherford’s way of following families through the years. An immense achievement.

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  • Jgfj Butler
  • 01-12-22

Catching story with historical references

Pleasantly engaging storyline not too heavy for encapsulsting almost a thousand years in an evolving Russia. Well read and kept a good tempo to the end.

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  • di9girl
  • 10-12-21

Brilliant!

Had previously read the book and this really brings it to life.

Well narrated by Roger Davis.

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  • Simon and Jacqui
  • 04-27-21

Edward Rutherfurd

Absolutely brilliant story written by a total and utter master story teller. Talk about bringing history to life, you couldn’t help but be transformed into a different time through each absorbing chapter. Roger Davis becomes your friend as you unwind and listen to his dulcet tones tell you the most magnificent story of a despotic regime that changes its name but rarely it’s character. Loved it!

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  • Victoria
  • 08-06-20

Educational, engaging and yet poetic

A lovely long book. Beautifully written and read. I would recommend this for those who like a long listen and who are interested in Russian history.

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  • Marioncostadelsol
  • 06-10-20

Epic

Not sure if I bit off more than I could comfortably chew... Better critics than I can give more worthy evaluation, I will probably play it again over the winter and see if I find more continuity of storylines and feel more relationship with characters. Undoubtedly, well presented!

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  • robert hutton
  • 05-23-20

Fantastic

A wide and expansive story from the dawn of Russia to the end of the Soviet Union. It portrays a nation in so much colour. it's well read and I would highly recommend it.

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  • me_lady
  • 08-27-21

Educational and great narration

Loved the book! This was my second of Rutherford, the first having been China. Being Russian myself, I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the history in such detail. The author goes from one century to another with such natural ease. It gave me a great understanding of my history, which I must confess I don’t know well.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 10-07-20

fantastic

great book fantastically put together however after 'london' I found it a little "foreign" not really knowing about Russia or its past hero's and villians. but again a great story

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  • Lpiva27
  • 06-06-20

Brilliant and breathtaking.

Beautifully written and narrated. Each generation comes to life and the people are filled with colour and movement. The historical events never overshadowed the story of human struggle and triumph.

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  • Chris Dunn
  • 03-23-20

Russia

A typical Rutherford tome readable in confinement for the occasional insight. How does he do it? Suffers from the repetitive style of most other works.

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  • AM
  • 10-29-19

Fascinating!

Another excellent historical saga by Edward Rutherford..... he's a genius. A mesmerising sweep through Russian history.