This chapter reminds me a little bit of Forrest Gump, with history and fiction intertwining beautifully. Here we have Boris and Helene, both at the same party with the Tsar, when the announcement comes through about the French invasion. So as well as carrying the story forward for our two fictional characters, we get a glimpse into how completely unprepared the Russians were for this invasion.
I’m still sticking by my theory that Tolstoy believes the Tsar to have been completely incompetent. He’s known the French threat has been building, and has been trying to distract himself with parties and balls, rather than put something together.
Of course, if you’ve been following the philosophy, the Tsar didn’t really have many options anyway, so the war would have happened regardless of what he chose – I think. Or have I messed up the philosophy part?
Either way, the French are on their way, the Tsar has written an indignant letter – and war is on its way.