Review: Russka by Edward Rutherfurd

Description (from cover):

‘Here, Edward Rutherfurd turns his remarkable talents to a vast canvas: Russia. Spanning 1,800 years of its history, people, politics and culture, 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 make its mark on the emerging world. In Russka, Rutherfurd transforms the epic history of a great civilization into a human story of flesh and blood, boldness and action, chronicling the lives of four families who are divided by ethnicity but united in shaping the destiny of their land.’

My thoughts:

I’ve been dying to get my hands on this book for years. Ever since I have developed a curiosity about Russia and its complex history, this book has always caught my eye. I was thrilled to realize that my secret santa for LibraryThing’s Santathing 2013 chose this book for me and I absolutely couldn’t wait to get started. Edward Rutherfurd is a remarkable writer and weaves a beautiful story that spans centuries and different times in the vast land of Russia. This book begins in 180 A.D. and ends in 1945. That is a tremendous span of history to cover and Rutherfurd does a remarkable job of making something that might seem so boring, so intriguing.
This book covers four families from the literally the beginning of early Russian civilization to the more modern years. I loved how the author used the same families and wove a story that was based on forefathers and other generations. For some reason, I am reminded of Ken Follett’s storytelling when it comes to this book. The only complaint that I have is that some parts were focused on more and others were skimmed over. Personally, I prefer less of the early settlement times and more focus on the Russian Revolution featuring Lenin and the assassination of Tsar Nicholas II and his family. This book mentions these major players in Russian history, but really skims over it and to be honest that time is probably one of my favorite times in all of Russian history. So I was disappointed in the lack of coverage. 
This book focuses more on the families and the town of Russka and its environs more so than the actual history of Russia. The history kind of takes a backseat to the sagas that surround these four families. I thought that this book was an interesting read. It definitely was well worth the read and I can’t say that I was disappointed overall with this book. I will say that this book is not for the light reader as it is some 945 pages, but I felt that the time it took to read this was well worth it and I am glad that I finally got the chance to read something that has been on my wishlist for years. I am utterly amazed at Rutherfurd’s skill and can’t wait to read more of his work.

Overall Rating: 4

Title:  Russka
Author:  Edward Rutherfurd
Series:  N/A
Publisher:  Ballantine Books
Publication Date:  March 1, 2005
Pages:  960
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was given to me as a gift through the LibraryThing SantaThing program for 2013. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

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