A hundred years ago in November 1910 Count Leo Tolstoy died on a remote Russian railway station, attended by the world's media, taken ill as he was finally attempting to escape his decadent (as he saw it), aristocratic family life. Tolstoy has been universally recognised as a colossus of world literature whether by his contemporaries or critics. In this exceptional biography Rosamund Bartlett draws extensively on the many fascinating new sources which have been published about Tolstoy since the collapse of Communism to write about one of the most compelling, maddening, brilliant and contrary people who has ever lived. She and we discover a remarkable and long life in one of the most fascinating and turbulent periods of Russian history, straddling the 19th and early 20th centuries. Tolstoy spent that life rebelling - not only against conventional ideas about literature and art but against traditional education and eventually against family life, organised religion and the state.