100 Days of Fantasy, Day 100: War and Peace
The great epic historical novel "War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy takes place during Napoleon’s invasion of Russia during the early 19th century. Writers, specifically epic fantasy writers, can learn a lot from this tale, specifically about how to span a story with multiple characters across continents.
This is an ongoing series looking at books that have influenced one fantasy author.
War and Peace
by Leo Tolstoy
I have only read War and Peace in the last year, but it not only confirmed some of my own personal thoughts, it also has had quite the effect on my writings.
How could this be so?
War and Peace is a big novel, one of the longest ever written, so it might turn off some readers because of its length. The novel might also turn off some readers because it was written and initially published in the 19th Century, so the writing might not ring well with the modern reader’s ear. And if you’re an English reader, you’re likely going to have to read a translation from the Russian, which throws in potential other problems.
But for all that, I love this book. It was not a fast read for me, only about 10 pages a day, mainly because I was trying to study everything Tolstoy was trying to accomplish with each scene and the events and the characters.
Tolstoy’s themes for this novel about the French invasion of Russia during the early 1800s approaches the Christian, if not outright being about some Christian ideas, and at the least is about morality. With the scope of this novel, Tolstoy’s focus is upon various ideas, so don’t expect preaching or a simplistic plot. I won’t go into all the details, not only because I don’t want to give anything away, but because I also want readers to think for themselves instead of me (or anyone else, for that matter) telling them what to expect from such a novel.
Writers can learn a lot from this novel, especially historical fiction writers and those who type away at lengthy, epic tales. The characters, the plot, the background, all is worth serious study here.
Also, I want to add, now that I’ve come to the conclusion of my “100 Days of Fantasy” series, I want to thank the readers for following me along. I’m considering another, related, series next year, but I’m not giving any clues as to what it will be about. At least not yet. I hope you’ve enjoyed following my list of 100 books that have influenced me as an author. Thank you.
Up next: All 100 of the 100 Days of Fantasy