Anna Karenina is a novel by Leo Tolstoy, serialized in the periodical The Russian Messenger from 1873 to 1877 and first published in book form in 1878. It is a complex novel in eight parts with more than a dozen major characters. The narrative deals with themes of betrayal, faith, family, marriage, and Russian society against a backdrop of rapid transformation due to the liberal reforms of Emperor Alexander II. The plot revolves around an extramarital affair between Anna and the cavalry officer Count Alexei Vronsky that scandalizes Saint Petersburg society and compels the young lovers to flee to Italy in search of an elusive happiness. The novel has been adapted into various media including theatre, opera, film, television, and ballet.