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Friends And Heroes: The Balkan Trilogy 3 by [Manning, Olivia]
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Friends And Heroes: The Balkan Trilogy 3 Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Length: 336 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

"The most considerable of our women novelists."--Anthony Burgess

About the Author

Olivia Manning, OBE, was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, spent much of her youth in Ireland and, as she puts it, had 'the usual Anglo-Irish sense of belonging nowhere'. The daughter of a naval officer, she produced her first novel, The Wind Changes, in 1937. She married just before the War and went abroad with her husband, R.D. Smith, a British Council lec-turer in Bucharest. Her experiences there formed the basis of the work which makes up The Balkan Trilogy. As the Germans approached Athens, she and her husband evacuated to Egypt and ended up in charge of the Palestine Broadcasting Station. They returned to London in 1946 and lived there until her death in 1980.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 903 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Cornerstone Digital; New edition edition (31 Aug. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005H0CCV8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #167,735 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having finished the Balkan trilogy, having been hooked by the characters, I'm tempted to get the Levantine trilogy. This comes from a curiosity to see what becomes of the characters rather than being enthralled by the narrative. Not a great deal happens except at an emotional level. This is all well and good for sensitive souls but a chap expects some action and tales of derring-do in a war novel. I can't help feeling a little cheated.
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By hfffoman TOP 500 REVIEWER on 10 Aug. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
This is the third novel in the Balkan Trilogy telling the story of a newly married couple, Guy and Harriet Pringle and their life as expats starting in Rumania in September 1940. If you haven't read the first two I would recommend starting with them. They are written as standalone novels with the characters introduced in each so it it possible to read them separately but I cannot imagine that anyone would read one without reading all three.

If you have read the first two, all you really need to know is that this one continues the story in a very similar style (though the location has changed) and maintains the quality throughout. The following comments apply to the whole trilogy.

It paints a portrait of the extraordinary life of the little expat community that is so realistic I knew without looking it up that it is largely autobiographical. The descriptions of the skies are beautifully written and I imagine that the author actually jotted down then down in a notebook.

A great deal of the book comprises people speculating about the political situation and either worrying about what to do if matters deteriorated or, more often, denying the risks. I found this interesting but I can imagine some people might complain that the English had nothing to do but sit around drinking in bars indulging in pointless ill-informed gossip.

The story is of course full of political upheaval and violence but somehow it unfolds without drama, without any feel of excitement or fear such as might be expected. Instead it concentrates on the personalities, their foibles, and their relationships, particularly the complex marriage between the two main characters. It is literally more like reading Jane Austen than a wartime story.
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By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 29 Mar. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the third in Olivia Manning’s Balkan Trilogy and follows on from “The Great Fortune,” and “The Spoilt City.” The first two volumes of the trilogy saw Guy and Harriet Pringle in Bucharest – newly married and coping in a Europe newly at war. This book sees Harriet travel to Athens alone and awaiting Guy’s arrival. Many of the characters who populated the first two novels also appear here, including Dubedat, Lush and Prince Yakimov. Indeed, so isolated is Harriet when she arrives that Yakimov, previously despised by her as an unwanted presence in her life, and her apartment, now becomes a friendly face in an unknown city.

It is fair to say that Guy Pringle is one of the most frustrating characters in any novel and his arrival, as expected, does not improve Harriet’s life noticeably. Politically naïve, emotionally warm and gregarious; Guy spends his time thinking the best of everyone despite the reality of his situation and unwilling to face reality. Guy had worked in the English department of the University in Bucharest, but, once in Greece, he finds that Dubedat, Lush and Professor Pinkrose are unwilling to help Guy with work – as he once helped them. Harriet is constantly frustrated by her husband’s unwillingness to see anything but the best about everyone and begins to feel more and more neglected as these books continue. Indeed, this novel sees her attracted to Charles Warden, as she feels her marriage means little to Guy, who has time for everyone but her, in a life taken up by providing entertainment for the troops and pouring his attention on students and friends.

As with the other novels, this is largely based on Olivia Manning’s experiences as a young wife during wartime and paints an evocative image of life during that period.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found the book rather disappointing as the characters were rather unengaging and rather bogged down with the minutiae of life. I think in its day it would have been appealing but seems rather stilted to more modern readers.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple Review 3 Feb. 2003
By Joe Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book along with the other two books that make up the "Balkan Trilogy" represents one of the best reviews of wartime in Romania and Greece in an interesting maneer without being a dry history lesson. The story is intriguing, mesmerizing and exciting and is wonderfully written.
5.0 out of 5 stars Friends and Heroes: The Balkan Trilogy 3 29 Mar. 2015
By S Riaz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
This is the third in Olivia Manning’s Balkan Trilogy and follows on from “The Great Fortune,” and “The Spoilt City.” The first two volumes of the trilogy saw Guy and Harriet Pringle in Bucharest – newly married and coping in a Europe newly at war. This book sees Harriet travel to Athens alone and awaiting Guy’s arrival. Many of the characters who populated the first two novels also appear here, including Dubedat, Lush and Prince Yakimov. Indeed, so isolated is Harriet when she arrives that Yakimov, previously despised by her as an unwanted presence in her life, and her apartment, now becomes a friendly face in an unknown city.

It is fair to say that Guy Pringle is one of the most frustrating characters in any novel and his arrival, as expected, does not improve Harriet’s life noticeably. Politically naïve, emotionally warm and gregarious; Guy spends his time thinking the best of everyone despite the reality of his situation and unwilling to face reality. Guy had worked in the English department of the University in Bucharest, but, once in Greece, he finds that Dubedat, Lush and Professor Pinkrose are unwilling to help Guy with work – as he once helped them. Harriet is constantly frustrated by her husband’s unwillingness to see anything but the best about everyone and begins to feel more and more neglected as these books continue. Indeed, this novel sees her attracted to Charles Warden, as she feels her marriage means little to Guy, who has time for everyone but her, in a life taken up by providing entertainment for the troops and pouring his attention on students and friends.

As with the other novels, this is largely based on Olivia Manning’s experiences as a young wife during wartime and paints an evocative image of life during that period. Harriet believes she has escaped the danger and upheaval of Bucharest for a better life in Athens. However, as optimism in Greece turns again to disquiet, rumour and encroaching danger, you worry that Harriet will never find her feet in a constantly unstable Europe – mirrored in her rocky, unsteady marriage. She wants certainty and safety and had hoped to find that within her marriage, but now she is unsure whether Guy is the man to provide that for her. This story continues in “The Levant Trilogy” - consisting of, “The Danger Tree,” “The Battle Lost and Won,” and “The Sum of Things.” Although I have read these books before, man years ago, I am enjoying re-reading these novels very much and look forward to reading on.
4.0 out of 5 stars Once again it feels churlish to give anything less than ... 24 July 2015
By Stebbo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Once again it feels churlish to give anything less than five stars to a work of literature of this quality and reputation. The prose sparkles, the female perspective is refreshing and often moving, the evocation of Athens in 1941 is extraordinary and at times terrifying. My hesitation arises from the failings of the fictional plot to develop. Manning sets up situations then fails to resolve them at one point relying on an extreme coincidence to prevent a denouement. Does this matter? Novels do not have to be thrillers. The historical events are perhaps thrilling enough but finally I felt there should be a fourth novel in the series because so little is resolved. However, this is not to diminish Manning's trilogy, I devoured it all and perhaps it was her intention to write a work that showed how little personal choice can withstand the brutal march of history.
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