Have you noticed how Tolstoy starts at a fair distance from the actual events and then takes us gradually closer and closer into where things get more horrible? It’s a technique that works wonders in horror films, and it works effectively in his battle scenes as well.
We move from being detached observers on the hill listening to gunshots in the distance to moving with Andrei and Bagration down the hill towards the advancing French (and the retreating Russians). It only takes a couple of vignettes (such as the man shot in the throat or the soldier with blood pouring from his wound as if it were from a bottle) to drive home the grim reality.
Despite the intensity of it all, I couldn’t help but be drawn into the march. Whether Bagration is a bad leader or not, there’s no doubting his courage . . .
And sorry to leave you mid-clash, but we’ll be back tomorrow.