On Reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Translated by: Aylmer Maude, Louise Maude

From the award-winning translators of Anna Karenina and The Brothers Karamazov comes this magnificent new translation of Tolstoy’s masterwork.

War and Peace broadly focuses on Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 and follows three of the most well-known characters in literature: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count who is fighting for his inheritance and yearning for spiritual fulfillment; Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who leaves his family behind to fight in the war against Napoleon; and Natasha Rostov, the beautiful young daughter of a nobleman who intrigues both men.

A s Napoleon’s army invades, Tolstoy brilliantly follows characters from diverse backgrounds—peasants and nobility, civilians and soldiers—as they struggle with the problems unique to their era, their history, and their culture. And as the novel progresses, these characters transcend their specificity, becoming some of the most moving—and human—figures in world literature.


War and Peace is one of those books that I’ve always wanted to read, but have always been intimidated by. Not that long ago, I decided to give it ago — and I was so glad that I did. It’s such an amazing and iconic book that instead of writing a review, I’ll just talk about my experience reading it.

What else can you say except that the book is epic — in scope and in writing. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but the novel is broken up into parts so it makes it easier, and less intimidating, to read. It’s almost like reading a series.

Tolstoy has this wonderful ability to keep the scope both personal and universal at the same time. The stories of the individual people and the drama of their lives is juxtaposed brilliantly against the war and the politics of France invading Russia. I was taken by many of the characters and was happy to be shown their lives, happinesses, and pains over the course of many years.  There is also a great sense of the difference between the lives of men and women in this novel.

It’s fascinating how Tolstoy adds, very clearly, his own personal views on politics, how great Russia is and why, and how terrible Napoleon is and how he failed. These overt political views are something that is not found in modern writing. I felt I had a whole new understanding on the entire time period, both on the global scale of the war, but also on the manners and values of the Russian people (especially of upper class Russians). Even though I know Tolstoy’s views are biassed, that is part of the history too.

This was definitely a book I was happy to read on my ereader as I don’t like hold overly large books. I found it for free at The Guttenberg Project — a great place to find free ecopies and audiobooks of copy write free books.


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Author Interview: Guy Estes

Today I have the opportunity to talk with epic fantasy author, Guy Estes.

triadWhat genre(s) do you write in? Tell us about your books.

I write fantasy and my debut novel is Triad. It’s a story about three people gifted by the gods, two warriors and one sorceress, and the effects those gifts have on them, now they lead to adoration yet alienation, how power has a price and corrupt, what differentiates a hero from a villain.

Tell us about your main character? What makes her so special?

The protagonist is Aleena Kurrin. She started out as a Dungeons and Dragons character I created as a teen. In the game she advanced to such a degree that there wasn’t any point in playing her anymore – she was going to win. And by then I had been doing D&D for several years and it was starting to go stale, so I started creating my own world for this character. Strong female characters are my favorite, and they’re a type that is difficult to get right and all too easy to get wrong. A strong woman does not mean she’s a cast iron *****. She’s an actual human, with all the contradictions and paradoxes that entails.  Read more

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