War and Peace
The most famous—and perhaps greatest—novel of all time, Tolstoy’s War and Peace tells the story of five families struggling for survival during Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. Among its many unforgettable characters is Prince Andrey Bolkonsky, a proud, dashing man who, despising artifice of high society, joins the army to achieve glory. Badly wounded at Austerlitz, he begins to discover the emptiness of everything to which he has devoted himself.
The novel's other hero, the bumbling Pierre Bezukhov, tries to find meaning in life through a series of philosophical systems that promise to resolve all questions. War and Peace has a large cast of characters, the majority of whom are introduced in the first book. Some are actual historical figures, such as Napoleon and Alexander I. While scope of the novel is vast, it is centered around five aristocratic families. The plot and the interactions of the characters take place in the era surrounding the 1812 French invasion of Russia during the Napoleonic wars.