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Publisher's Summary

Based on the true story of a forgotten hero, 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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
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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.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Amazing read

Truly remarkable. One of the best told WWII novels I've read/listened to. I felt like I could feel Pino's feelings throughout the entire story.

14 of 14 people found this review 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.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Really Good Book

What did you love best about Beneath a Scarlet Sky?

The story is amazing

Any additional comments?

Starts out real slow, I almost did not listen to the entire book. So glad that I did listen to the whole book, it is a really good story.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Bryan
  • kingwood, TX, United States
  • 05-10-17

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!

42 of 45 people found this review 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!!!

27 of 30 people found this review helpful

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  • Alice
  • Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 07-03-17

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.

5 of 5 people found this review 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.

10 of 12 people found this review 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.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • B.J.
  • Minneapolis, MN, United States
  • 08-07-17

Umm ... okay if you don't take it seriously

While listening, I kept flashing on Forrest Gump. While the book summary says "based on the true story of ..." I really question the baseline honesty. I accept when you're dealing with historical situations, there will be an element of fiction with invented dialogue, etc. But the whole thing just felt preposterous to me. The number of coincidences just rang false. When it comes to WWII, I prefer stories that are either clearly biographical or clearly fiction without blurred lines.

I know I'm clearly in the minority here. It just hit me wrong.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-11-17

A Great Story!

A great story, emotional, heroic and real all in one. A really interesting and unusual historic perspective of WW2 to boot.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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  • B Gillingham
  • 09-03-17

oñe not to. be missed

thoroughly enjoyed had difficulty putting it down wished it could have gone on longer

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  • n a howlett
  • 07-22-17

Powerful and moving

What a story, what a man. A very touching thriller of a story that high lights events and history is a page turner. Well narrated too.

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  • Mr. S. Ross
  • 07-18-17

A moving story

An absorbing story which brought home the brutality of the second world war, along with acts of extraordinary heroism and personal courage.

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  • MISS
  • 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.

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  • Sophie
  • 05-31-17

Heartbreaking but beautiful

Wonderfully crafted story of a young Italian man during the Second World War. Not only does it grapple with the hidden atrocities carried out in Italy but it also conquers a powerful boy to man arch. Perfectly poignant.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-29-17

Very very good

A brilliantly told story of the later days of the Second World War in Italy, and it is rare to hear anything much at all of Italy's resistance to the Nazis and their occupation.
Well worth reading and listening to.

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