A new version -- the one Tolstoy originally intended, but has been hitherto unpublished -- of Russia's most famous novel; with a different ending, fewer digressions and an altered view of Napoleon -- it's time to look afresh at one of the world's favourite books. 'War and Peace' is a masterpiece -- a panoramic portrait of Russian society and its descent into the Napoleonic Wars which for over a century has inspired reverential devotion among its readers. This new version is certain to provoke controversy and devotion in equal measures. A 'first draft' of the epic version known to all, it was completed in 1866 but never published. A closely guarded secret for a century and a half, the unveiling of the original version of 'War and Peace', with an ending different to that we all know, is of huge significance to students of Tolstoy. But it is also sure to prove fascinating to the general reader who will find it an invigorating and absorbing read. Free of the solemn philosophical wanderings, the drama and tragedy of this sweeping tale is reinforced. His characters remain central throughout, emphasising their own personal journeys, their loves and passions, their successes and failures and their own personal tragedies. This is historical fiction at its most vivid and vital, and readers will marvel anew at Tolstoy's unique ability to conjure the lives and souls of Russia and the Russians in all their glory. For devotees who long for more, for those who stuggled and didn't quite make it to the end, or for those who have always wanted to know what all the fuss is about, this is essential reading.
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By Leo TolstoyReview:
'The greatest of all novelists -- for what else can we call the author of War and Peace?' Virginia Woolf 'The pure narrative power of Tolstoy's work is unequalled. To read him is to find one's way home, to everything within us that is fundamental and sane.' Thomas Mann 'What an artist and what a psychologist! It seems to me there are some passages worthy of Shakespeare. I found myself crying out in admiration while reading.' Gustave Flaubert 'There remains the greatest of all novelists -- for what else can we call the author of War and Peace? [Tolstoy's] senses, his intellect, are acute, powerful and well-nourished!Nothing seems to escape him. Nothing glances off him unrecorded! Every twig, every feather sticks to his magnet. He notices the blue or red of a child's frock; the way a horse shifts its tail; the sound of a cough; the action of a man trying to put his hands into pockets that have been sewn up. And what his infallible eye reports of a cough or a trick of the hands his infallible brain refers to something hidden in the character, so that we know his people, not only by the way they love and their views on politics and the immortality of the soul, but also by the way they sneeze and choke. We feel that we have been set on a mountaintop and had a telescope put into our hands. Everything is astonishingly clear and absolutely sharp.' Virginia Woolf
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