Tolstoy's novella blends fiction and historical fact to portray a legendary Avar chieftain who switched sides in the nineteenth-century Russo-Caucasian war. Inspired by the author's military service, Hadji Murád offers riveting views of warfare and treason, murder and vengeance, and behind-the-scenes political plotting. An uncharacteristically brief story by the creator of War and Peace, it voices Tolstoy's pacifist beliefs. This novella also provides a compelling depiction of the Caucasus, a mountainous territory between the Black Sea and the Caspian, prized for its strategic location and natural resources. Located at the crossroads of three empires—Turkey, Persia, and Russia—the region has long struggled with incursions by its neighbors and remains a troubled corner of the world to this day. Tolstoy's realistic pictures of life in a war zone raise enduringly relevant issues of life and death.