A brilliant short novel based on Tolstoy's early life as a soldier in the Caucusus, THE COSSACKS has all the energy and poetry of youth while at the same time foreshadowing the great themes of Tolstoy's later years. A young officer finds himself living among tribesmen on the borders of southern Russia. In depicting his experience, Tolstoy explores the birth and death of love, the transience of life, the love of honour and the pain of war, all portrayed amidst the wild and magnificent landscape of the mountains and described in exquisite detail.
Leo Tolstoy was born in central Russia on 9 September 1828. In 1852 he published his first work, the autobiographical Childhood. He served in the army during the Crimean War and his Sevastopol Sketches (1855-6) are based on his experiences. His two most popular masterpieces are War and Peace (1864-69) and Anna Karenina (1875-8). He died in 1910.