Born in 1828, Count Lev (Leo) Nikolaevich Tolstoy inherited the family title aged nineteen. He left university, and after a period of the kind of dissolute aristocratic life so convincingly portrayed in his later novels, joined the army. Travels in Europe opened him to Western ideas, and he returned to his family estates to live as a benign landowner. He expressed his increasingly subversive but devout views through prolific work that culminated in the immortal novels of his middle years, War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Beloved in Russia and with a worldwide following, but feared by the Tsarist state and excommunicated by the Russian Orthodox Church, he died in 1910.