After her father’s funeral, Mary lies in her bedroom until Mademoiselle Bourienne suggests that they ask the invading French forces for protection. But there are no horses to take her away, and the peasants are starving. Mary offers the peasants the grain stored at Bogucharovo and urges them to leave with her. They refuse her offer, however, thinking she wants to trick them back into serfdom.

Book Ten, Chapters 13–24

Nicholas and two comrades ride to Bogucharovo by chance, not knowing it is a Bolkonski residence. Nicholas finds Mary stranded there, as the peasants refused to let her leave. He quickly brings order to the rioting peasants. On her way to Moscow, Mary thinks of Nicholas as her savior and wonders if she loves him. Nicholas too thinks of marrying her, a wealthy heiress and attractive as well.

Andrew, summoned to serve General Kutuzov, meets Denisov, now a lieutenant colonel, and reminisces privately about Natasha, whom Denisov had courted. Kutuzov arrives, fatter than ever. Andrew greets Kutuzov and tells him of Prince Bolkonski’s death. Denisov presents to Kutuzov his plan for breaking the French lines of communication. Andrew observes Kutuzov’s bored, faintly contemptuous seen-it-all attitude toward the officers reporting to him. At his lodging, Kutuzov interrupts his reading of a French novel to speak cordially with Andrew about the late old Prince Bolkonski and to voice frustration with military advisors. Andrew declines to serve the general at headquarters.

As the French approach Moscow, the behavior of the Muscovites becomes more frivolous. Violently anti-French publications are read throughout the city, and aristocrats try hard not to lapse into their habit of speaking French. Julie Drubetskaya, Boris’s wife, prepares to flee. Pierre risks bankruptcy to finance his own regiment, but does not himself prepare to fight. Julie teases Pierre that he is defending Natasha’s reputation for personal reasons, and also tells him that Mary is in town. Pierre is alarmed to realize that the French really will invade Moscow. Seeing a French cook being flogged as a spy, Pierre feels that he must leave the city. The thought of sacrificing his belongings for his country thrills him.

The Russian and French troops clash at the Battle of Borodino. The Russian forces are considerably weakened, though the narrator argues that Borodino can be viewed as a Russian spiritual victory. The narrator tells us that Russian historians have found a way to attribute the victory to Kutuzov’s military genius, but these historians are wrong. According to the narrator, there is nothing strategic about the choice of Borodino as battle site; like everything else in history, Borodino is the product of happenstance.

Leaving Moscow, Pierre comes upon a convoy of wounded soldiers. An army doctor tells him they have less than a third of the wagons they need to cart away the wounded from the next day’s battle. At Borodino, Pierre sees the French and the Russian encampments and watches a church procession in which Kutuzov kneels before a holy icon. Pierre encounters Boris Drubetskoy and also Dolokhov, who has weaseled his way into an important position. Dolokhov approaches Pierre and asks his forgiveness for past wrongs. Andrew, meanwhile, is miserable and disillusioned. He muses on his disillusionment with his ideals: he has lost faith in love and honor, in his father’s trust in his homeland, and in Natasha’s loyalty.