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Rusalka Hardcover – October 14, 1989


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 374 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; 1st edition (October 14, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345359534
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345359537
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #295,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A Rusalka--the spirit of a maiden drowned by accident or force--will return as a ghost to haunt the river and woods where she met her death. The locale for this fantasy by SF writer Cherryh ( Downbelow Station ) is pre-Christian Russia. Two young men flee the village of Vojvoda--Pyetr, accused of killing a wealthy noble, and Sasha, an accessory to his escape. They are making their way to Kiev when, in the middle of a forest, they become involved in the search for the wizard Uulamets's dead daughter Eveshka, a Rusalka and a wizard herself. Uulamets wants to resurrect her, but evil forces oppose him, among whom may be Kavi Chernevog, Uulamets's former student, and a suspect in Eveshka's death. Cherryh fills her story with myriad magical creatures from Slavonic mythology. A richness of detail and characterization enliven this drama about the human (and unhuman) greed for power and the redemptive power of love.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

When a youthful prank turns suddenly sour, two young men flee their village and embark on a perilous journey through a forest inhabited by magical creatures, a secretive wizard, and an irresistible ghost: the life-draining "rusalka." Veteran fantasy/sf author Cherryh ( Rimrunners , LJ 5/15/89) turns her storytelling expertise to a vivid re-creation of pre-Christian Russia's rich folk legends in a fantasy to be highly recommended.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

I've written sf and fantasy for publication since 1975...but I've written a lot longer than that. I have a background in Mediterranean archaeology, Latin, Greek, that sort of thing; my hobbies are travel, photography, planetary geology, physics, pond-building for koi...I run a marine tank, can plumb most anything, and I figure-skate.

I believe in the future: I'm an optimist for good reason---I've studied a lot of history, in which, yes, there is climate change, and our species has been through it. We've never faced it fully armed with what we now know, and if we play our cards right, we'll use it as a technological springboard and carry on in very interesting ways.

I also believe a writer owes a reader a book that has more than general despair to spread about: I write about clever, determined people who don't put up with situations, not for long, anyway: people who find solutions inspire me.

My personal websites and blog: http://www.cherryh.com
http://www.cherryh.com/WaveWithoutAShore
http://www.closed-circle.net

Customer Reviews

Sometimes the story seemed to drag a bit and I had a hard time relating to the characters.
K. Robinson
And like most educated, literate people I tend to frown down upon the science fiction and fantasy genre as a whole.
Dan
Don't want to give away to much but this a great read especially for a book that was written sometime in the 80's.
Jimi Dracutt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ndmzero on May 30, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I reread this trilogy (this is the first -- followed by Chernevog and Yvgenie) every few years. I love it. Obviously it isn't to everyone's taste, judging by some of the other reviews, but if you like stories about the power of friendship -- which is more powerful than wizardry as far as CJ Cherryh is concerned -- then this is well worth reading.

Just be prepared for some "stream of consciousness" writing.

ETA
Er, apparently the author doesn't agree with me - she may be planning a rewrite. She has a blog
[...]
However she has recently had a loss in her family, so, be kind. July 2009

N
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Robbie Cunningham on July 25, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Chernevog, Rusalka, and Yvengie are the greatest books. I enjoyed the atmosphere. An old-time russian fairy-tale. This series pulled together bits of all folklore I know, and even taught me some things I wasn't aware of. The characters are likeable, even the truely evil ones. You can imagine where they are coming from and why it is they are acting like they are. Perhaps it is a bit predictable, but it's a fairy-tale.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 8, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
We open learning about Sasha and Pyetr, who are drawn together by chance. Sasha is a young wizard with a dangerous gift, and Pyetr is a young trouble maker who lives off of his wealthy friends. But wanted by the law, Pyetr makes an escape with Sasha at his side to aid him. That is until they discover Uulamets, a wizard with a secret. Uulamets wants Sasha's help to bring back his daughter Eveshka-a rusalka, a ghost who remains alive by sucking the life out of living things around it. Then there is another problem: Eveshka is in love with Pyetr. Overall this is an EXCELLENT book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jimi Dracutt on September 10, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
First, I would like to say that I do not know about Russian culture. A friend of mine told me that there are plays and operas based on Rusalka. Depending from different parts of Russia, Rusalka is a ghost with past different mythologies & varieties of powers. Well, Ms. Cherryh create a great fantasy based on the concept of a Rusalka.

The intorduction of the book is fast paced where one the the characters, Pyetr falsely accused of something and the village wants him dead. Along the way, he gets unexpected help from a wet behind ears teenage boy and escape the village of Vojvoda.

Pyetr learns a little bit more about his new companion, tries to portray the real harshness of life & squash fairy tales of magic. Pyetr getting weak & near death they fortunately meet the likelihood of Uulamets. Uulamets a proud wizard in own right does something that is believe that can't be done. The trio soon become somewhat of a family when a new chartacter, Eveshka comes into the mix. Don't want to give away to much but this a great read especially for a book that was written sometime in the 80's.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Laura Del Toro-Bothwell on October 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I had read Yvgenie years ago and enjoyed it. When this book became available I was excited to read more in the same vein. However, as previously stated, the characters have no growth, no empathy and create tension simply by fighting amongst each other constantly.
Reading the book has become a chore.
Also, the author's lack of confidence in our ability to learn vocabulary is a bit off putting. Can we not call every supernatural being a "thing"? That's what nouns are for. You can introduce them like that if you like, but there are paragraph that read "and the yard-thing did this and the forest-thing did that and the water-thing the other..." Please! Use nouns, I beg of you.
So, in short, prepare yourself for 200+ pages of unlikeable characters fighting with each other, muddled action and endless trudging through swamps and forests.
I cannot say I would recommend this book to anyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Eastes on April 1, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I bought this in 1990 and promptly lost it, couldn't find another copy for years. Purchased it on Amazon who sent it to the last address. Got it again on e- bay who didn't screw it up.

Fairly good story, angst and anger ridden though. Very good treatise on the mechanics of magic in a quasi magical universe. As you can imagine a story about a murdered girl can be rather dark. The ending was interesting and borrowed from Tolkein a bit. I liked the book as a whole.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Lewis on May 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a 312 page book that is very different for CJ Cherryh's usual style. I was fortunate enough to have found this book at a book fair. It appears to me as if there aren't many copies avaiable based on the pricing here. Rusalka is based on ancient Russian folktales come to life. The two hero's struggle to deal with angry townspeople, wizards, wraiths, and Things throughout the book. But along the way they learn a lot about themselves and how important wishes are. You see you have to be careful what you wish for, it might come true. But not in the ways that you think.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Terri B. on June 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Rusalka is a fantasy set in pre-Christian Russia. Cherryh creates plenty of atmosphere as her characters Pyetr and Sasha flee trouble in Vojvoda during the darkness of winter and find themselves at the mercy of a powerful wizard in a dead forest. Pyetr, who was mortally wounded as he fled, has ironically been healed and returned to life by a magic he denies exists ... a skeptic. Sasha believes in magic and lives at its mercy until he discovers that he is a wizard and must learn how to direct the powerful forces that flow through him.

Despite their differences, Pyetr and Sasha are devoted to each other. Street-wise Pyetr is determined to protect the younger and naive Sasha from those who would take advantage of his innocence, and Sasha refuses to leave Pyetr alone and unprotected from the powerful magic that he vehemently denies. Pyetr relies on his wits to shield him from misfortune. Sasha is determined to avoid trouble by learning to carefully control his powerful thoughts. Together they learn that neither wits nor careful manipulation will protect them from the uncertainties of life and that there is nothing more powerful than a good and loyal friend.

Pyetr and Sasha will need to rely on each other if they are to survive the ordeal that awaits them. They encounter various magical spirits that inhabit this dark forest while constrained by the will of Uulamets, the wizard. These spirits are quite fickle and most times very dangerous. Along with these not-so-benevolent spirits, the forest is haunted by the ghost of a young murdered woman. She is a rusalka and she is the daughter of Uulamets. The rusalka doesn't want to be dead and so must drain the life from anything or anyone in order to maintain existence until her father can bring her back to life.
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