Nicky Rostov, aged 20½
16th November 1805
On a road near Wachau, Austria
Diary - I've simply got to tell you! Something incredible has happened. Are you ready??? I actually MET the emperor today, the real Russian emperor, and it was A-MAZ-ING!!!
Here's what happened... I was standing around on the road feeling MAD about not getting to do any fighting when suddenly everything slowed down. Everyone was quiet, and it was like the air was ON FIRE.
That's when I saw him. He was Majestic. Amazing. Majazing! Haha - it was like he was surrounded in white light and was hovering down the street like a big beautiful hummingbird without any wings. When he spoke it was like eating really amazing honey or just a whole LUMP of sugar!
And diary, I DONT KNOW HOW TO TELL YOU THIS, but he LOOKED into my EYES.
I nearly DIED.
OK it's my bedtime now, I'll tell you more tomorrow. I'm going to dream about the emperor! I love him!
Oompa loompa doompety doo
We've got a perfect chapter for you
Oompa loompa doompety doris
This one is sort of all about Boris
What do you get when you want a sweet job?
Stories of Emperor's dropping their stuff
Who is the short man shifty as hell?
Standing and staring, run but don't yell!
We don't like the look of it
These days we think nothing of receiving a sick gif from great grandma Bing, or a wicked TikTok from second uncle Pepe. There's no limit to the number of dope memes pinging live into our notification zones, hot and fresh from friends far and wide.
Back in 1805 though, Tikhon was the closest you came to TikTok, and if you wanted to see Count Rostov doing that funny dance, you had to knock on his door.
But that doesn't mean they had no excitement whatsoever, far from it. Join us this week as we pack ourselves into an envelope, pop on a stamp, and jump head first into the famous Russian mail system in search of high entertainment.
We'll be spanning the length and breadth of Europe delivering crucial information, scintillating gossip, and a double dollop of cold hard cash.
You can tweet-bomb that Office meme later - for now, listen to this episode.
Might Mary maybe marry?
And Anatole... an angel awaits?
Naysayer Nasty Nick needs "NO!"
Tikhon turnip turtle train...
OK, enough of the amazing alliteration. There's mystery aplenty in this week's episode: someone has a tail, there's irrefutable proof of a superpower and Mary's fate is finally fettled, sorry, settled!
Mary, is it a 'YES!' or a 'NO!"
You won't believe the answer.
You are cordially invited to the 1805 FATHER OF THE YEAR awards, recognising some of the most incredible, selfless and thoughtful fathering from the past twelve months.
Taking place at the famous Sad Mansion, this year's gala will be an unforgettable event - with catering from the renowned McTurtle Food Corp™, music from the triple platinum Gravy Boaters, plus of course the incredibly moving stories from our Father Of The Year Nominees:
- Prince Vasíli Kurágin - Proud father to three lovely children, Vasíli has spent the year bravely marrying them off for huge amounts of money. His hobbies include riding Disney Land's Dingo Mountain and money.
- Prince Nicholas Andreevich 'Nasty Nick' Bolkónski - A decorated army general, bespoke snuff box maker, author, scholar and mathematician, Nick really is the model father to his two wonderful children. Hobbies include powdering wigs and expressing himself with his nose.
- Tikhon - The world famous circus performer turned PA, he is the bookies' favourite despite not having any children.
Whoever wins it promises to be an absolutely unmissable event, so you really should not miss it.
Will & Steve
We're back at Sad Mansion and there really is snow way out. It's time to arrange another wedding, so let's really dial up the sad-ometer!
Nasty Nick is back and he is positively piste! His angry sneezes are seconds away from causing an avalanche of misery. Will he succeed in making everyone in the house cry? Will he pull off the biggest prank of the entire book? Will Marry smile? Will Vasili inch closer to Space Mountain? Will the pretty pregnant Princess start a successful fashion blog?
There's only one way to find out...
Grab the shovel.
You know the feeling - your bags are packed, you've triple checked the passports, your pockets are stuffed with travel ham. This is going to be the best holiday ever.
But as your horse drawn taxi clatters toward the airport a terrible sensation creeps up your spine.
What have you forgotten?
You took the bear to the bear sitter, check. Household gas and electricity supply doesn't exist yet, it can't be that. Snuff boxes? They've all been sorted alphabetically, all good.
Out of the window you see a doughnut on the floor. Doughnut. Daughnut. Daughter! The blood drains from your face - "Taxi - STOP! Turn around! We must go back!"
How could you be so stupid! You've forgotten to marry your daughter to someone incredibly wealthy. Disneyland will have to wait.
With shaking cheeks and clenched fists, you slowly tear your non-refundable tickets in two. When all the children are married, you'll probably be able to buy your own Disneyland. All in good time, all in good time.
Sick and tired of having grapes shot at you all day? Fed up of cheese rolls and barefooted handsome psychopaths? Are you longing for your old life of decadence? A life of seemingly endless and interchangeable social gatherings? A life full of turtle-based snacks and unforgettable anecdotes from the freshest diplomatists that Russia has to offer?
Are your hands really massive and red?
Do you need a wife? DO YOU WANT A WIFE?!
If you answered 'YES!' to any of these questions, we think you're ready for Book 3.
"Pop another turtle on the BBQ and fetch my party wig!"
This week we're giving Tolstoy a well earned rest - while he enjoys a Turkish pipe and a nice hot bath, we're diving head first into the blue, blood-warm waters of William Golding's Lord of the Flies.
Lauded alongside War and Peace as one of the greatest books of all time, Lord of the Flies finally answers the age old question 'should society be exclusively run by small children?'
A bunch of boys crash land on a desert island, within minutes they've founded a small democratic island nation. It's all going wizzoh, wizzard, perhaps even smashing - but are cool catchphrases, casual bullying, and a jolly good adventure enough to hold a society together?
Oh, and there's an evil pig ghost thing that maybe wants them all dead.
You've finished Book 2 of War and Peace! Take a bow. The crowd are chanting your name!
"YOU ARE SO DIPLOMAT <YOUR NAME>!" They scream and cry.
Flowers fall from the sky. You wipe a single tear from your cheek and take a triumphant bite of delicious ham.
If you've been with us from the start, or are but a simple traveller on the literary podcast highway looking for a refresh of Book 2 of the greatest book ever, take a seat. Grab a pen, fluff a pillow and get ready to quiz.
We've got questions about war, horses, distance, Smurfs, ham, ships and of course spiders. How many points can you get? There really is only one way to find out...
Cue Game Show Music!
Be sure to join us in two weeks (29th of April) for another special episode. We'll be back with Book 3 on the 13th of May.
0-10 = The Coward Zherkov
11-20 = A Daring Dholokov
21 - 30 = King or Queen of the Wattleshed
30+ = Darren himself