Beneath A Scarlet Sky

Beneath A Scarlet Sky

A Novel

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:

Soon to be a major motion picture from Pascal Pictures, starring Tom Holland.

Based on the true story of a forgotten hero, the #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.

Publisher: Seattle :, Lake Union Publishing,, [2017]
Copyright Date: ♭2017
ISBN: 9781503943377
Characteristics: 513 pages


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Mar 18, 2019

Such a great and easy read. Hard to put down at times. Loved reading about the war from a perspective we don't hear about.

Mar 16, 2019

Beneath a Scarlet Sky is one of the most haunting, beautiful, yet horrific stories I've read. That it is based on a true story makes it more so.

I was actually surprised at the end of the book to realize the author, Mark Sullivan, is the same Mark Sullivan of the James Patterson brand. Mark clearly has his own voice. Bravo, Mark.

The story takes place during the German occupation of Italy. The main character, at age 17 finds himself helping Jews of Italy escape the Nazi's. When he was eligible for the draft, his father and uncle encourage him to join the Nazi's so that he would not be sent to the front where he would surely die. The rest of the story is his story, Italy's story and it is as riveting as it is is heartbreaking. It was hard to read some of it taking place in the birthplaces of my Grandparents, knowing some of their relatives, my relatives were still there during the horror.

I think the best quote of the book comes not from the narrative of the book, but from the subject of the book himself, long after the war:

"After several moments of quiet, Pino said, "You know my young friend, I will be ninety years old next year, and life is still a constant surprise to me. We never know what will happen next, what we will see, and what important person will come into our life, or what important person we will lose. Life is change, constant change, and unless we are lucky enough to find comedy in it, change is nearly always a drama, if not a tragedy. But after everything, and even when the skies turn scarlet and threatening, I still believe that if we are lucky enough to be alive, we must give thanks for the miracle of every moment of every day, no matter how flawed. And we must have faith in God, and in the universe, and in a better tomorrow, even if that faith is not always deserved."

I have learned so much from Beneath a Scarlet Sky and I hope I will a better, more thankful, more faithful person for having read it.

Feb 24, 2019

Although I read extensively about World War II, I have neglected the war in Italy. Based upon a true story, this novel gives an excellent picture of the fate of Mussolini, the underground activities, and the closing time of the war. Though Italy was on the side of the Nazis for many years, in July 1943, following the Allied invasion of Sicily, Benito Mussolini was arrested by order of King Victor Emmanuel III, provoking a civil war. Italy's military outside of the peninsula itself collapsed, its occupied and annexed territories falling under German control. The northern half of the country was occupied by the Germans with the fascists' help and made a collaborationist puppet state (with more than 500,000 soldiers raised for the Axis), while the south was governed by monarchist forces, which fought for the Allied cause. This is the setting for Under the Scarlet Sky. Recommend. Kristi & Abby Tabby

Jan 18, 2019

Extremely far fetched, and rather pedantic in writing style. Much too easy to skip page after page and still follow the story. I only finished the book because it's a book discussion group choice. I would have returned it to the library after about 70 pages or so were it not for wanting to be able to join the discussion

Jan 16, 2019

The personal story of Pino Lella about the last months of Nazi occupation, Fascist control and Allies intervention in WWII depicts a heroic and very human story of how Italians suffered and prevailed. The extraordinarily beautiful descriptions of the towns and countryside add to the connection to extremely human characters who try to live out their moral values and culture in a tumultuous time. It is a refreshing vision of WWII from the Italian perspective of ordinary family-oriented people who historically do not talk about the war and its effects but simply wanted to move on with their healing. A new look at the history of WWII.

Dec 21, 2018

Thought this was a very good WW2 narrative, hard to believe someone could survive all that Pino went through. I have read a lot about WW2 but not much about Italy and surprised at how many Jews survived thanks to resistance. Thought the part about leading refugees over the Alps was fascinating, amazing what people can do when they have to. Pino had such intuitive intelligence for such a young guy, he took on many challenges and was more than up to them. Inspiring, action packed and informational, highly recommend. i

Jul 21, 2018

It was a strong and amazing true story. However, in MY humble opinion (which disagrees with most of the comments), the author was weak and amateur.

Jun 26, 2018

An excellent historical novel based on facts. Shows the horrible situations and sacrifices during wars.

Another great book similar to Kristin Hannah's "Nightingale"

Jun 16, 2018

Fabulous book! Well written, action packed and educational. Loved it.

May 06, 2018

Just finished this powerful book. Definitely five stars! We seem to forget that the war did terrible things to many people and there are so many unsung heroes - one is Pino Lella. I am so glad that Mark Sullivan found the way to get this story into book form and bring to the fore these amazing young men and women. Italy hasn't been written about during the war as much as France and other European countries but they suffered greatly. Pino's two years were difficult ones and he spent them torn in so many ways. He was one man in a million. I even went on Google earth and followed many of the paths and places he passed through during his two years. It always brings a story closer to me when I can visualize where the person is and in this book, by virtue of the fact that it is biographical in essence, it was truly amazing to recognize the depth of Pino's knowledge of the mountains and the valleys. I am not the best at writing comments - but I do know this book was gripping and I could not put it down. Thank you Mark Sullivan for bringing this amazing story to light.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SPL

To Top