On the cover of my Maude translation of War and Peace, there is a vast picture of Napoleon on a rearing horse.
But really, Tolstoy would have been a bit disgusted with this. After all, if there’s any real hero to this story (at least in military terms) – a guy that you can look up to, it’s Commander-in-Chief Kutuzov.
With one-eye, and a deceptively laid-back approach to war, he makes his first appearance inspecting the men, Austrian general in tow. Thanks to Prince Andrei (also making a return appearance), Kutuzov makes a personal acknowledgment of Dolohov, setting him up as a special man in the forces – however, still demoted until he proves himself in the first engagement.
We’re all being set up for that first battle. The question really is, where’s Napoleon? What’s going on?
Take a deep breath folks – this book might take a while to answer those questions – and you’ve going to have to settle for the antics of Kutuzov’s clown sidekicks, Zherkov the mimic and Nesvitsky the giggler.
If they irritate you, that’s nothing compared with what Andrei thinks of them . . . but we’ll find out about that in due course.
See you tomorrow.