I could tell you how gigantic this novel was to read. Or how my hand ached just holding the book, to complete all 1444 pages. I could say I actually enjoyed reading this book and to finish it, felt like the equivalent of climbing Ben Nevis. I could tell you all of these things, but I doubt whether you would fully appreciate this book, until you actually read it yourself.
Forget Jane Austen, Tolstoy gives us an interpretation of society that far outweighs anything Austen can muster. His wonderful observations of aristocratic life leave you amused and entertained and his commentary on life in the trenches, portray the harrowing life soldiers endured.
It was by no means easy reading this book. The sheer volume of pages, I'm sure has put many people off trying and at two thirds through, the plot began to lose me. But it was the character of Pierre that drove me on, to find out if he survived and weathered society and then the conflict of war, of which thankfully he did.
If I could recommend one book to read, then this will be the one. It's by no means the best book I've read, but it would certainly rate in my top ten. Read this book, if only to drop into conversation that every book thereafter was a realtively simple read and believe me, I'm on The Shell Seekers now and it's like a walk in the woods!