I joked a while back about "A Place of Safety" turning into a version of Tolstoy's classic, not realizing that would suit Brendan perfectly. He actually wants the battle of the Bogside to match the battle of Borodino, the grandiose little shit and his Irish ego. (I'm smiling as I say this.) It's a bit of a stretch, but what made Tolstoy's book so magnificent was his consistent connection with his characters and their place in the scheme of things. Of course, he was working in third person so could skip all over the place between characters; I'm locked into first person...which at least may keep me from falling into the same trap as Leon Uris, when he wrote "Trinity."
Of course, that's where my biggest fear comes from -- having to build the inner workings of a mind completely alien to mine. Having to get across things without Brendan fully understanding what they mean, yet. Working out ways to make him an integral part of the events and not just a voyeur or token character obviously being used to "put us there." It's going to be a massive undertaking...and makes me a lot more than a little nervous.
Still...it does appeal to my own ego -- trying to build a story just as expansive as a Russian novel. And "Anna Karenina" was just as intimately breathtaking as "War & Peace"...and damned near just as long...so I can use that for inspiration, as well. It's weird, realizing I'm influenced by Russian authors more than writers from the English-speaking world. Maybe I should try to learn THAT language instead of German; couldn't be any harder.
Oh...except they have more than just umlauts to deal with; they have their own alphabet.