Russka: The Novel of Russia is an epic novel spanning nearly 2,000 years of Russia's history. Edward Rutherford has written about a fictional small village in the heartland of what would become modern Russia. The story follows a collection of inter-related characters over multiple generations. The blurring of fact and fiction can be confusing as many true aspects of Russian history and culture are revealed in spinning this lush and rambling saga.
Russka opens early in the first millennium when the great forests of Asia supported nomadic people. Villages began to take root and settlements grew around valuable resources such as fresh water, salt deposits, farmable soil, etc. Marauding tribes fought with, conquered and intermingled with the native population. Eventually villages grew into defensible towns and cities. Russka moves through notable eras of history including the Tatar invasions; rise of the cossacks; reigns of Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Catherine the Great and Nicholas; the prejudice against the Poles, Jews, Germans and others; and the rebellion against the ruling classes. It is a lot of ground to cover and Russka moves by at a fast pace. Edward Rutherford demonstrates an understandng of significant historical events and how to spin a great tale around them.
This report prepared by David Fletcher