Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Beneath a Scarlet Sky: A Novel Hardcover – Special Edition, May 1, 2018
|New from||Used from|
"Devoted" by Dean Koontz
For the first time in paperback, from Dean Koontz, the master of suspense, comes an epic thriller about a terrifying killer and the singular compassion it will take to defeat him. | Learn more
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
A Goodreads Choice Award Finalist, Historical Fiction
A 2017 Goodreads Top 20 Most-Read Book
A Goodreads Best Book of the Month
“Exciting…taut thriller…Beneath a Scarlet Sky tells the true story of one young Italian’s efforts to thwart the Nazis.” —Shelf Awareness
“Meticulous research highlights this World War II novel of a youth growing into manhood…a captivating read…” —RT Book Reviews
“An incredible story, beautifully written, and a fine and noble book.” —James Patterson, New York Times bestselling author
“Sprawling, stirring, like the richest of stories, and played out on a canvas of heroism and tragedy, Beneath a Scarlet Sky is like one of those iconic World War II black and white photos: a face of hope and tears, the story of a small life that ended up mattering in a big way.” —Andrew Gross, New York Times bestselling author of The One Man
“Action, adventure, love, war, and an epic hero—all set against the backdrop of one of history's darkest moments—Mark Sullivan's Beneath a Scarlet Sky has everything one can ask for in an exceptional World War II novel.” —Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author of Playing with Fire
“This is full-force Mark Sullivan—muscular, soulful prose evincing an artist’s touch and a journalist’s eye. Beneath a Scarlet Sky conjures an era with a magician’s ease, weaving the rich tapestry of a wartime epic. World War II Italy has never been more alive to me.” —Gregg Hurwitz, New York Times bestselling author of The Nowhere Man
“Beneath a Scarlet Sky has everything—heroism, courage, terror, true love, revenge, compassion in the face of the worst human evils. Sullivan shows us war as it really is, with all its complexities, conflicting loyalties, and unresolved questions, but most of all, he brings us the extraordinary figure of Pino Lella, whose determination to live con smania—with passion—saved him.” —Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of Suspicion and The Switch
About the Author
Mark Sullivan is the acclaimed author of eighteen novels, including the #1 New York Times bestselling Private series, which he writes with James Patterson. Mark has received numerous awards for his writing, including the WHSmith Fresh Talent Award, and his works have been named a New York Times Notable Book and a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year. He grew up in Medfield, Massachusetts, and graduated from Hamilton College with a BA in English before working as a volunteer in the Peace Corps in Niger, West Africa. Upon his return to the United States, he earned a graduate degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and began a career in investigative journalism. An avid skier and adventurer, he lives with his wife in Bozeman, Montana, where he remains grateful for the miracle of every moment.
- Item Weight : 1.5 pounds
- Hardcover : 460 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1503902374
- ISBN-13 : 978-1503902374
- Product Dimensions : 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Publisher : Lake Union Publishing (May 1, 2018)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #6,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
First, let me say that regardless of how much of this is actually true (and I have my doubts), this fictionalized version of Pino Lella is so unrealistic. Essentially, he's a seventeen-year-old prodigy who can do no wrong. He is strong, clever, exceptionally skilled at pretty much anything he attempts, and he doesn't seem to have any real conflict with or animosity toward anyone (well, except the Nazis). He is quite possibly one of the most unrelatable characters that I've ever come across in a literary work. Just as ONE example, here is a future race car driver complimenting Pino on what a gifted driver he is, because of course he is:
"Pino allowed a mild smile. “You catch on fast. I wish I could have finished my driving lessons.” “You are already very, very good, Pino,” Ascari said. “You have the touch, the feel for the car that is rare.” Pino basked in the praise." p. 163 (Kindle edition)
Since all the attention is given to Pino and his amazing accomplishments, the supporting characters are extremely bland and indistinguishable. The only thing I really knew about each character was if they were "good" or "bad" (and this was primarily based on whether or not they were German).
Second, I was surprised by the simplicity of the writing. At times, the text reads like a middle-grade textbook as it lists off names, facts, and dates. The dialogues felt very stilted and occasionally only consisted of a couple of lines before ending abruptly. If it was going to be so concise, did there really need to be a dialogue at all?
While I normally get frustrated with authors who insist on including excessively detailed descriptions of the characters and their surroundings, this book had almost none. This made it hard for me to immerse myself in 1940s Italy. At first, I assumed that perhaps this author just doesn't care to spend a lot of time on superfluous descriptions. However, the passages about Pino hiking went on and on FOREVER! Here were the descriptions I wanted back when I was first introduced to the characters in Milan, but now they were unnecessarily lengthy and only focused on a single character and his "treacherous" hikes through the Alps.
Third, precious little in this book actually feels plausible or authentic. There are so many instances of characters (especially Pino) who just happen to be in the right place at the right time. The moment where this novel lost ALL credibility was when Pino, after almost single-handedly digging out from an avalanche, goes skiing with a pregnant woman clutching onto his back. This woman, who had been spotting blood only moments before and felt so weak she couldn't go on, lets out a "Wheeeeeeee" as they race downhill and then plays her violin for him after they reach safety. Ummmm, no. I've read historical fiction with completely fabricated characters and situations that have felt less fictional than this.
It grieves me so much - especially considering this is based upon real heroes - but I can neither continue this nor recommend it to others. If you've read it and know that it gets better, let me know and I may give it another shot. But for now, I'm done.
I finished about a third of the story and don't plan to listen to it further. Boring and simplistic, not literature at all.
And, to be clear, this is a work of fiction. Pure and simple. It is fiction. “Based in a true story” perhaps, but since the author invented events and dialogue we will never know how much of it is fact-based.
Top reviews from other countries
I hadn't, until I read this book, taken too much interest in the Italian experience of World War II. To my shame, I had assumed that they had pretty much as a nation fallen in with the Nazis. How wrong that thinking is. I read Scarlet Sky whilst on a break in Krakow, Poland - and I learned simultaneously about these countries' experiences under Hitler's control. I learned from both that measured "compliance" can be far more effective than blind and instinctive resistance.
The desperate problem - as we learn in this book - comes at the end of the conflict when euphoria coupled with intense anger and the desire to punish collaborators spills out during the period of anarchy before order is restored. Nobody knows who has actually worked for the enemy and who has risked their lives to defeat the enemy from within. The injustice of the summary executions - Italian on Italian - is for me the most distressing aspect of this book. It is shocking to see how normal people can change to wild blood-thirsty avengers, looking for the blood of anyone who just might have collaborated - and, of course, many of those murdered suspects were innocent.
This story excellently describes the transition of a 17 year-old boy living with his well-off family in Milan from innocent teenager to alpha male in a matter of months. From using his mountaineering skills to help Jews to escape from Italy to finding himself in the presence of Mussolini himself, Pino Lella becomes a true hero - albeit a flawed hero tormented by guilt and traumatised by his experiences.
So well-written, so moving, so shocking, so educating, so thought-provoking. I am so pleased I learned of this man's life. He richly deserves to have his experiences recorded for posterity.
The story itself is one of huge courage against the background of horrific actions by the German forces that had taken over Italy and also by the partisans resisting them. This should have been a brilliant book. Unfortunately, the way it is told lets the story down. There are some longueurs, where the author dwells at too much length on fairly mundane domestic and other happenings. The portrayal of Pino’s thoughts and feelings is simplistic, and in places repetitive. The style smacks of the jejune, like something out of The Boys’ Own Paper.
This is a great pity. Despite the weaknesses of the telling, though, the book is worth reading: Pino was someone whose heroism was never recognised - and for decades he tried to put all these events behind him; and many of us know too little about what life was like in Northern Italy as WW2 drew towards a close.
I loved this i stayed awake until the wee hours of the morning not able to put it down it was sleep that took me away from the most seductive account of events that I have read. Every bit as good as pappillion which was my favorite book of all time and now I have two. I will never forget all the hard work you went into writing this and will be forever a better person for reading this. I feel truly blessed to of shared this story with loved in my heart and a teari thank you Mark Sullivan
Pino Lella was only 17 when he led his first group of fleeing Jews across the Alps to the safety of Switzerland; barely 18 when he took up the post of driver to Major General Hans Leyers, Hitler’s right-hand man in Italy. In this position, and as a spy for the Resistance, he passed on key intelligence to the Allies that helped end the German Occupation.
Pino’s story is an eye-witness account of the bombing of Milan, of the atrocities committed by the Nazis in northern Italy, and of the bravery and sacrifice of the Resistance fighters. It is grim and brutal, tense and shocking. And even though the third-person narrative offers some distance, it is impossible not to be swept along on the tide of emotions, as Pino experiences the very worst and the very best of mankind.
But it is Pino’s romance with Anna that elevates ‘Beneath a Scarlet Sky’ from a historical tract to a deeply personal and moving story of first love. Anna is where Pino finds sanctuary, peace and joy, when everything else around him overwhelms. She is his talisman, his hope for the future. But she is also the maid and confidante of a known collaborator, Leyers’ mistress, Dolly.
I enjoyed this book so much. Many of the historical events were unknown to me, as next to nothing is written in popular literature about the war in Italy. So, it was all very informative and interesting. But Pino’s story! Well, that just blew me away. At times barely credible, but rooted nevertheless in truth. And to think it would have gone untold, if not for Mr Sullivan. Thank you, sir, for shining a light on this exceptional human being.
Thanks for reading my review. I hope you found it helpful.
*Check out my profile page for other candid book reviews.
A story of life, romance, espionage, high danger, self sacrifice and tragedy. Situations eliciting every human emotion are imposed on this brave young man, in a story beautifully recounted by Mark Sullivan. Although based on true events the book is billed as a novel, for reasons explained in the preface, so not a true memoir, but don't for a moment let this put you off buying to he book if you are a memoir fan.
As a reader, having become so drawn into the fate of the protagonist, I was delighted to find a decent epilogue detailing how young Pino's life panned out after his extremely character-testing war years which occupied his late teens.