The Balkan Trilogy

                                                                        British author Olivia Manning wrote the three novels that comprise the Balkan trilogy during 1956-64. They cover the wartime experiences of an English couple in wartime Romania.

Penguin released the three novels in 1974 in a clever triptych. The designer Humphrey Sutton uses a layered collage across the three covers incorporating a map of Romania, the Times newspaper and a photograph of a Stuka dive-bomber. It gave the books a palpable sense of urgency and danger.

Olivia Manning was in Romania during the war, escaping the Nazi onslaught with her husband, first to Greece, then Egypt and later Palestine. She led a full life.

With her subsequent series, the Levant trilogy, they make up the Fortunes of War cycle, described as “the most underrated novels of the twentieth century.” In 1987 they were made into a television miniseries starring Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh.


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