Beneath a Scarlet Sky

A Novel
Narrated by: Will Damron
Length: 17 hrs and 43 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (33,424 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Soon to be a major television event from Pascal Pictures, starring Tom Holland.

Based on the true story of a forgotten hero, the USA Today and #1 Amazon Charts bestseller Beneath a Scarlet Sky is the triumphant, epic tale of one young man’s incredible courage and resilience during one of history’s darkest hours.

Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager - obsessed with music, food, and girls - but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior.

In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier - a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders.

Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share.

Fans of All the Light We Cannot See, The Nightingale, and Unbroken will enjoy this riveting saga of history, suspense, and love.

©2017 Mark Sullivan (P)2017 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved

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Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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    5 out of 5 stars

The Best Thing? It Really Happened!

Rarely in life do we learn of unknown men and women who lived extraordinary lives far bigger than any Hollywood creation. Pino Lella is such a man. This story is based on actual, documented events in WW2 a 17 -18 year old Pino experienced.

We are introduced to Pino in the last two years of WW2. As the author points out, little is written in fiction or non-fiction about the virtual German occupation of Italy. Politically the two countries were considered allies, but in reality it was the German Army controlling Itialian forces as well as political policies. Mussolini was under house arrest by 1944-45, guarded by Germans. The country may have looked Fascist to the world, but its peoples were deeply divided politically between Fascist, Nazi, Communist and Democratic Populists.

Pino was and remains an upbeat, confident and humble man. Like most people who lived and fought in WW2, he reluctantly shared his story after over 50 years silence. In the two years he was active, he led jewish families to Sweden, joined the Nazi army as a spy, and was the driver for the highest ranking General in Italy. He served as the General's interpreter to Mussolini, and actually met him on numerous occasions. Keep in mind Pino was 18 when war ended.

The story is as complicated as Italy's politics were at the time. In under two years, Lella falls in love, becomes a hero by risking his life to save several Jewish families, joins the German Army to be a spy, is forsaken as a traitor to his friends and family and suffers tremendous loss through it all.

The writing and narration is eloquent and seemless. This is one of the best books Audible has to offer.

343 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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History as good as fiction

Any additional comments?

I'm a daily listener to audiobooks while I commute. This book was SO good at captivating me and making mental images that it was almost too distracting to my driving!So in short, I dont write many reviews, but I LOVED this book...the story was great, the narrator was top-flight with excellent charachter portrayals, and the slice of life & time during WWII in N Italy satisfied the history buff in me. It really was as good or better than alot of fiction, but it was all true!

210 people found this helpful

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Wow! This is a 10 star story!!!

This is one of the best books I've read or listened to, ever!!! I'm so thankful that such a gifted, talented writer took the time over 10 years to listen to and research this man's recounting of his life in Milan during World War II. Please take the time to read or listen to this book, in order to appreciate the heroism and sacrifice of this young man during the war. It makes me very sad, to think that without the persistence of this author, Pino could have died and his story never told! You'll never forget this book. Also, the narrator was the best!!!

105 people found this helpful

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Great idea, some weak spots, OK overall

What made the experience of listening to Beneath a Scarlet Sky the most enjoyable?

This was an amazing story. The book lapsed into trite sentimentality several times with invented conversations in an attempt to flesh out the facts of the story and make it more believable. NOT NECESSARY! This book went in wild swings from amazing with the actual true story to deep lows when the author tried to invent conversations and add personal romance and drama. Again, NOT NECESSARY and those invented moments became a bit of "you have to be kidding me" moments in an otherwise outstanding true story. The true facts were amazing.....the invented fictional parts were completely weak.

Have you listened to any of Will Damron’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Wonderful narrator. Would be delighted to listen to other books by him.

59 people found this helpful

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Heartbreaking but amazing story

What did you love best about Beneath a Scarlet Sky?

The author brought history and emotion together in a way that had me captivated from the first moment.

Who was your favorite character and why?

All of them, he did a great job developing all the characters into people I cared about. Regardless of how big or small their part was in the story.

46 people found this helpful

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Just wow. Thank you Mark Sullivan....

I rarely review, but this was such a different, human perspective of WW2 in Italy and showed so clearly, how murky options and people can be in real life. I will bear witness to Pino's story, and remember he and Anna always..great narration too.

45 people found this helpful

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✫✫ 4 Stars ✫✫

Personally I found this story engaging and heartbreaking. I am not a history buff so this is just my feelings on a fictional story not the facts or if they are correct. The author explains in the beginning that while this is a story about a real man, he was unable to get all the facts so he filled them in and that is why this is fiction. For me, even the idea that 1/2 this book could be true breaks my heart. Pino's story is extraordinary to say the least. What I liked the most about this story is that it didn't end with the war, the author continues to tell us what happened with most of the main characters until their deaths, so I am not left with any questions.

I enjoyed the narrator very much, even if he didn't do accents but I think that is what I enjoyed. All too often narrators who add accents actually ruin the story for me unless the accent is believable so I would rather have no accents then have bad accents.
#HistoricalFiction #WWI #Tagsgiving #Sweepstakes

20 people found this helpful

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Riveting unknown story

I continue to be fascinated and devastated by WWII stories. this is one of the best. I now want to visit the scenes in Milan.

26 people found this helpful

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A Story to Stay in Your Heart

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

If someone would love a great story, almost beyond belief, and a true life hero who emerged when the times demanded a hero, then I would say - read this book!

What was one of the most memorable moments of Beneath a Scarlet Sky?

There were many moment, some heartbreaking (as a WWII era story, one would expect it) but also hope in the midst of overwhelming odds.

Have you listened to any of Will Damron’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Excellent performer. As any regular to Audible knows, the greatest works are those whose performers make the stories come alive - they go beyond just saying the words and they create characters and action through their talents. They become artists of the spoken word. Mr. Damron's presentation is dynamic, his vocal tone is resonant so very pleasing to listen to for a length of a book, and his acting skills are clearly key to a successful story. He was spot on for this demanding, enriching story.

Who was the most memorable character of Beneath a Scarlet Sky and why?

The main character - the hero of course. But much of the book is very memorable due to characters involved.

Any additional comments?

True stories of people who go beyond what they might do and become heroes when heroes are needed is just what we need right now! This is not a light story - no story of war would be or should be - but it is alive. Very important history.

31 people found this helpful

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Dramatized true story of Pino Lella

Beneath the Scarlet Sky is set in northern Italy in and around Milan during WWII. It is a dramatized story of a young man named Pino Lella who was a hero of the fascist resistance. This interesting novel is well written and narrated. The story is excessively wordy and slow moving which I have decided to overlook due to its historical importance.

24 people found this helpful

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  • Lanny 32
  • 11-26-17

Incredible! Can’t wait to see the movie!

The story of an AMAZING man! Made my heart pound, made me cry, laugh, sigh, angry, sad, afraid, horrified: the whole gamut of human emotions, more or less! Inspires me to live MY life “con smania” (with passion)!

Very well read, & performed, that adds SO MUCH MORE to the story than just reading alone: brings Pino to LIFE, in all his charm.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs T T
  • 09-17-17

amazing and gripping

I wasn't sure about reading a war story but this is very different, must read

12 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-24-17

Incredible tale.

A tale worth telling. 17 hours short. Difficult to predict. Even more difficult to stop.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Vivien Green
  • 09-09-17

outstanding best read ever

I did not want this to end. So enjoyed every minute. narrated wonderfully. one of the best.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dia
  • 11-17-17

Remarcable beautif story of WWII, hopeful and sad

Great story which you can't let go, a glimpse into the a past, never forget

8 people found this helpful

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  • Jackie
  • 10-29-17

Amazing

What a fantastic story I couldn’t stop listening. An incredible insight into the war in Italy although heart breaking at times. Pino and his family have much to be proud of.

14 people found this helpful

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  • TheMarriedGuy
  • 10-04-17

Book of the year. Beautifully read, and engaging.

Loved this book, and the narration. This is a truly extraordinary story or an exceptional human being. A must read/listen for anyone. Make no mistake you will be crying multiple time through this story and the narrator did total justice to this grand story

6 people found this helpful

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  • Debbie
  • 06-04-17

Absolutely amazing

I have listened to dozens of books around World War II and the stories it has to tell. This was brilliant. I cannot imagine what these characters went through and the fact that they really did just makes it even better. Definitely worth a read. It was well written lots of description that transported you to where the action took place you really felt like you were there and living it with him.

6 people found this helpful

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  • sunflower
  • 01-22-18

did it happen

Would you consider the audio edition of Beneath a Scarlet Sky to be better than the print version?

haven't read the printed version..... why do both?

What did you like best about this story?

what I learnt about that period and those places in WW2; brought to life magnificently by the characters

Any additional comments?

intrigued by the "story". hadn't known much about WW2 in Milan, Italy. considered it an education

5 people found this helpful

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  • chris
  • 10-18-17

great book

Ì usually read crime but decided to try this. and thoroughly enjoyed it. worth reading

5 people found this helpful

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  • Jess_Rose
  • 05-15-19

Brilliant book with war facts but a story book fee

I really loved this book and have already recommended it to friends. I loved hearing of Pino's story and life through the war and did not want it to end. I am interested in the war but prefer to hear about it in a story telling way, it was easy to understand and not too much war jargon. It made me laugh a few times and want to cry a few times. I enjoyed the narration of the book. After you have listened, make sure you go to the authors webpage for photos of the people (however not beforehand as it will give a few spoilers).

2 people found this helpful

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  • diane oakley
  • 02-19-20

the audio didn't work. made it heard<br /> half way.

the audio didn't work. I heard the first half and then static. don't purchase this item

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Marcia Abboud
  • 02-17-20

Extraordinary!

The best war story I’ve ever heard. The most heartbreaking love story I’ve ever read. And Pino Lella is the bravest man I’ve ever known. A breathtakingly beautiful visual of Italy, war torn and all. Mark Sullivan is a master writer, one of the most brilliant books ever written I say. And Will Damron’s narration is outstanding! I wish every audible book was narrated by him. This story will stay with me forever...

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-09-19

Beneath a scarlet sky

This is probably the best story I have ever heard. The fact that it is true makes it even more inspiring, beautiful and heartbreaking

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Maree
  • 09-29-19

great history

really great story about ww2 with a twist of drama and romance.. wished we'd had more time in Milan to visit done of the sites mentioned... the holocaust museum at platform 21 central station Milan

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-25-19

the story of Pino Lella and the tragedy of WW11

An incredible true story of courage, humanity and the brutality of war. Set in northern Italy during the second world war - great characters abound here - particularly Pino and General Hans Leyers.

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  • Benjamin
  • 09-22-19

wow, just an incredible story

loved this book . It makes you think how good we have it now in the West.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah
  • 09-17-19

Wonderful Story

Tragic, beautiful, moving and a throughly engrossing story!
I loved it...I highly recommend it

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • William B.
  • 09-10-19

riveting

A gripping tale of WWII in Italy. Much beauty but also much sadness. Definitely worth the read.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-10-19

Brilliant!

The best story I have heard in quite a few years. I was deeply moved by Pino’s tale, and enjoyed the glimpse into a relatively unknown piece of WWII history. Thank you Mark Sullivan and Will Damron, and of course Pino Lella.