Perhaps literature’s greatest epic, War and Peace tells an astonishingly ambitious, profoundly personal, and vastly extensive story of Russia in the age of Napoleon. A work of historical fiction that is at times a romance and at times an adventure, Leo Tolstoy’s novel is, simply put, too big to fit into any literary genre. It features a cast of hundreds, yet paints intimate portraits of their intersecting lives as they move between prosperity and despair. The actions shifts back and forth between Moscow, the city of the people, and the decadent St. Petersburg; and shifts from royal ballrooms to brutal battlefields. Few writers have ever attempted to create a work so massive in scope and complex in themes, and none have succeeded quite the way Tolstoy has.
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