Fortunes of War
When the Pringles arrive in Bucharest, there are troubling signs that the pro-British Romanian monarchy is under siege from the local Fascist Iron Guard, whose sympathies lie with Hitler’s Germany. Nonetheless, the local elites, who gather at the English Bar of the Athenée Palace Hotel, take no notice of the fact until quite late in the day, when the waiters and the menus begin to switch from French to German. Though a European war is clearly on the doorstep, the Romanians the Pringles meet are mainly concerned about the loss of territory to Hungary—that, and impressing their English friends with their elegance and up-to-date sophistication, doing what they can to substantiate Bucharest’s claim to be “the Paris of the East.” When the country falls under German occupation, the Pringles, along with other members of the British community, are forced to flee to Greece. This is the story related in the first two volumes, The Great Fortune and The Spoilt City.
Read the rest of Mark Falcoff's review of the recently re-issued "Fortunes of War" novels by Olivia Manning.
I've read them all and they are - this word is used carefully - brilliant.