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War and Peace

War and Peace


by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace Volume 3, Part 2, Chapter 7 Summary

  • Meanwhile, Napoleon is getting closer and closer to Moscow. Is he an awesome invader? Sure, in his mind. But in the future historians will show how he was lured there by wily Russians. So, you know, pick a side and go with it, we guess.
  • All we know is that the Russians retreated so fast that Napoleon couldn’t fight them until Borodino, 75 miles away from Moscow.
  • (Try to remember this name, Borodino. It’s up there with the most important battles, like Waterloo.)
  • While the French are making their way over to Borodino, they pick up a prisoner who tells them all about everything, including the news that Kutuzov is back in charge of the whole enchilada.
  • Turns out that this guy is actually Lavrushka, Nikolai’s serf.
  • Napoleon hears from his people that this guy has information, so he asks them to bring him up. Lavrushka immediately recognizes Napoleon but realizes that he’s not supposed to know who the down-to-earth man is, so he pretends he has no idea.
  • He tells Napoleon some confused nonsense about a battle in three days, which is translated to Napoleon as “if there’s battle in three days, Napoleon will win, but if it’s later, then the Russians will win.” And for some reason, Napoleon apparently believes this. Um, OK.
  • Then Napoleon reveals to Lavrushka that he is Napoleon.
  • Lavrushka acts like he’s surprised.
  • Napoleon frees Lavrushka, who rides back to his regiment and doesn’t tell anyone what happened.

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