In 1851 Leo Tolstoy enlisted in the Russian army and was sent to the Caucasus to help defeat the Chechens. During this war a great Avar chieftain, Hadji Mur d, broke with the Chechen leader Shamil and fled to the Russians for safety. Months later, while attempting to rescue his family from Shamil’s prison, Hadji Mur d was pursued by those he had betrayed and, after fighting the most heroic battle of his life, was killed.
Tolstoy, witness to many of the events leading to Hadji Mur d’s death, set down this story with painstaking accuracy to preserve for future generations the horror, nobility, and destruction inherent in war.
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aide-de-camp Akhmet Khan aoul asked Avar Avdeev Azar Nafisi Baryatinsky Bata began beshmet brother bullet burka Butler Caucasian Caucasus Chechens Chechnya Chernyshov Circassian coat commander Cossacks dagger death door Eldar enemy entered eyes face father feeling fell fired Gamzalo Grozny Hadji Murad Hamzad hand head heard henchmen horse Imam interpreter Kamenev Khan Mahoma Khanefi Khansha Khunzakh killed knew kundk legs Leo Tolstoy lived looked Loris-Melikov Mary Dmitrievna Mary Vasilevna mosque mother mountaineers Murdd murids Nazarov Nicholas Nukha officer ordered Panov pleased Poltoratsky prayer Prince Vorontsov Princess replied returned rifle rode roubles round Russians Sado sdklya sent Shamil silent sitting smile smoke soldiers song story surrender sword Tartar tell thee thou Tiflis told Tolstoy Tolstoy's took turban turned Umma Khan Vedeno voice wanted wife wish words wounded Yasnaya Polyana young Yusuf