Fortunes of War is the name given to a series of six novels by Olivia Manning that describe the experiences of a young married couple early in World War II. The series is made up of two trilogies: the books The Great Fortune (1960), The Spoilt City (1962), and Friends and Heroes (1965) comprise The Balkan Trilogy, while The Danger Tree (1977), The Battle Lost and Won (1978), and The Sum of Things (1980) comprise The Levant Trilogy. The novels were based on Manning's personal experiences during the war.
|Fortunes of War|
|Series||Balkan Trilogy (The Great Fortune, The Spoilt City and Friends and Heroes)|
Levant Trilogy (The Danger Tree, The Battle Lost and Won and The Sum of Things)
The novels describe the experiences of a young married couple, Harriet and Guy Pringle, early in World War II. A lecturer and passionate Communist, Guy is attached to a British Council educational establishment in Bucharest (Romania) when war breaks out, and the couple are forced to leave the country, passing through Athens and Palestine and ending up in Cairo, Egypt. Harriet is persuaded to return home by ship, but changes her mind at the last minute and goes to Damascus with friends. Guy, hearing that the ship has been torpedoed, believes her to be dead, but they are reunited in the end.
The cycle also chronicles the pre-war and wartime experiences of the surrounding group of English expatriates who also find themselves on the move and the changes in Romanian society as the corrupt regime of King Carol II fails to keep Romania out of the war.
The leading characters, Harriet and Guy Pringle (the latter a lecturer and a passionate communist), are based on Manning herself and her husband R. D. Smith. Harriet loves Guy but has to share him with numerous hangers-on, as Guy loves everybody he meets. His character is outgoing and generous, while hers is wistful and introspective.
Other major characters in the novels include:
Anthony Burgess described Fortunes of War as "the finest fictional record of the war produced by a British writer".
The novels were adapted for television by the BBC and available in the US on Masterpiece Theatre in 1987, starring Kenneth Branagh as Guy and Emma Thompson as Harriet. Other stars included Ronald Pickup, Robert Stephens, Alan Bennett and Rupert Graves.
In 1974, The Balkan Trilogy was adapted in three parts by Eric Ewens and produced by John Tydeman for the BBC. The episodes were transmitted weekly from 9–23 September 1974 on BBC Radio 4. Harriet was played by Anna Massey, Guy by Jack Shepherd. Also: Aubrey Woods (Yakimov), John Rye (Clarence), Denis McCarthy (McCann), Manning Wilson (Inchcape), Godfrey Kenton (Woolley). The Levant Trilogy was adapted by Eric Ewens and produced by John Tydeman for the BBC, and transmitted weekly 23 November to 7 December 1981 with Anna Massey and Jack Shepherd again in the starring roles.
From 27 January 2008, the novel was adapted by Lin Coghlan in six one-hour episodes as the Classic Serial on BBC Radio 4. This version featured Khalid Abdalla as Guy and Honeysuckle Weeks as the young Harriet, with Joanna Lumley as the older Harriet, who narrates. Other cast included James Fleet (Yakimov), John Rowe (Inchcape), Alex Wyndham (Clarence), Sam Dale (Dobson), John Dougall (Galpin), Carolyn Pickles (Bella), Peter Marinker (Drucker), Joseph Arkley (Sasha), Simon Treves (Toby Lush), Ben Crowe (Dubedat), and Laura Molyneux (Despina). The adaptation was directed by Colin Guthrie and Marc Beeby.
Fortunes of War may refer to:
Fortunes of War (novel series), a 1960 series by Olivia Manning
Fortunes of War (TV series), a 1987 television adaptation of the above
Fortunes of War (film) a 1994 action film produced by and starring Matt Salinger
"Fortunes of War", a song by heavy metal band Iron Maiden from their 1995 album The X Factor
"Fortunes of War", a song by prog rock singer Fish from his 1994 album Suits