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10 thoughts on “Beneath a Scarlet Sky

  1. Philip Philip says:

    2ish starsBased on the experiences of Pino Lella an unsung WWII hero the events at the heart of this book are incredible and inspiring Sullivan though obviously well meaning presents them here in what is or less a bloated commercialized color by number hagiographySomehow present at just about as many significant events during WWII as one can be Pino deftly overcomes every obstacle in his path While again incredible and inspiring there's not much in the way of tension or suspense especially for a book styled as a WWII thriller The pacing is inconsistent; some horrific gut wrenching events are bizarrely skimmed over while other insignificant ones are unnecessarily drawn out I suppose all of these things can be forgiven there are only so many liberties one can take with what we’re led to believe is a partially fact based story but I could never get over the weak awkward dialogue and amateurish proseUltimately a worthy tale and a worthy effort to tell it But while the story is incredible and inspiring the book in which it gets told is only alrightPosted in Mr Philip's Library

  2. Emily May Emily May says:

    2 12 stars This was nowhere near as engaging as I would expect from a book that has a 44 average rating over 48000 readersThe strength of Beneath a Scarlet Sky comes from it's exploration of the Italian experience under Mussolini during the Second World War I know almost nothing about what happened here despite having read A LOT of books and memoirs set during this time I've read countless tales about the Germans Polish the British and the Americans so it was extremely refreshing to get a new perspectiveAlso Sullivan interviewed the real Pino Lella the protagonist of this book and based much of the story on his tales and memories It is a fictionalized much embellished true story which makes it even effective to many I'm sure That being said the writing really does leave something to be desired Writing style is not something I comment on too often but it was obvious to me as soon as I began reading that at the very least Beneath a Scarlet Sky could have done with some extra rounds of heavy editingAnd I know that the author's starting disclaimer is basically a cute way of saying Look some parts are absolute bullshit that I made up to make the story interesting but my suspension of disbelief was strained a bit when Pino's life becomes something of a superhero tale Dramatic event after dramatic event unfolds and I feel that if a young guy really did do half the things Pino Lella apparently did then he would be as famous as Harry Potter Not the long forgotten star of a semi biographical novelThe history is interesting The story is on occasion compelling But true semi true maybe true? Yeah I'm not convincedBlog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  3. Always Pouting Always Pouting says:

    I know I've been gone but I'm back now so don't worry I'll be clogging your feeds with my garbage reviews again now I already started reading my next bookA semi biographical story about an Italian teenager Pino Lella who is sent to a convent after Allied forces airstrike destroys his home in Milan At the convent he helps the priest smuggle out Jews to Switzerland who have come there for help He meets and falls in love with Anna an older widow Eventually he is called home and made to join the army for protection Eventually he uses his position in the army as a driver to one of the most powerful German generals to spy for the Allies There are so many positive reviews for this book but I honestly hated it It was difficult for me to finish this book I have been busy and not had as much time to read but at the same time this book was part of the reason I haven't read anything in weeks because it was just so boring that I didn't even feel like reading really it felt like torture reading it I don't think it was the story itself that was the problem but the execution It was painfully boring and the author just kept telling and not showing us anything or illustrating things for us There was no suspense built up and I felt zero attachment to any of the characters even though they're real people This has to be one of the hardest books I've forced myself to finish reading just because it felt like there was so much unnecessary detail included and because everything was just told out without really a narrative or story line to help build up my interest Thank god I'm done with it

  4. Katie Katie says:

    One feature of every hugely engaging novel is that it’s palpable throughout that the author has invested a great deal of heart and imagination into the narrative This is far from always the case There’s sometimes a sense an author is fulfilling a contractual obligation or is never uite inspired by hisher characters or story This is one of those novels where it’s obvious the author has thrown himself heart and soul into his material and achieved an imaginative identification with its hero so intense that he is able to write as if he experienced everything first hand The visual detail throughout was especially mesmerising Beneath a Scarlet Sky is the fictionalised true story of a young Italian boy’s experiences during WW2 Pino Lella never spoke about his wartime exploits until he was an old man There was a reason for this Despite his heroics he has carried with him a harrowing haunting secret a secret he believes to be shameful We won’t find out what this secret is until the latter part of the novel Pino performs two wartime roles – firstly he becomes the guide of an underground escape route for Jewish families fleeing to Switzerland Later he becomes the driver of one of the most powerful Nazi generals in Italy In this role he wears a German uniform and the swastika armband much to the disgust of many of his family friends and countrymen However unknown to everyone even his brother he is working as a spy At one point there’s the suspicion this book is too long The war in Milan is over and yet there are still over a hundred pages to go But the huge surprise now is the tension is ratcheted up even further The final hundred pages are the most intense of the novel uite a feat considering how exciting the narrative has been throughout One problem with fictionalising real life is it doesn’t always offer the resolutions that are a vital part of the form of the novel We need to feel a story has sense that all the loose threads are eventually embroidered into the tapestry I was worrying about this towards the end I was especially thinking of a minor and yet oddly significant character who appeared early in the narrative but then vanished I found I wanted to know what happened to him Then lo and behold he reappears This is another extraordinary facet of Pino’s life – it often assumes the tidy order of a novel This is most astonishingly true when he discovers the maid of his general’s mistress is the older woman he once on an impulse asked for a date on the streets of Milan Anna the woman becomes the love of his love It’s like there’s no such thing as a random encounter in Pino’s life All the dots are joined This is further emphasised in the brief account of Pino’s post war life – one day he meets an old friend who persuades him to cancel the flight he’s booked on so they can catch up – the flight he cancels is the infamous Lockerbie flight that crashes in Scotland He also tries to dissuade James Dean from buying the Porsche that killed him when he’s working as a car salesman in California His instinct is Dean won’t be able to handle the power of the car I will say there is one resolution we don’t get which is the mystery of the German officer he works for The author endeavours to clear him up at the end of the novel but the vital mystery of him eludes him Anyway this was a fabulous read A stunning feat of research and imaginative identification and gripping storytelling

  5. Liz Liz says:

    This is a fascinating book about WWII in Italy I’ve read so much about Northern Europe during the war but this is the first book about what took place in Italy It follows the story of a real life teenager beginning in 1943 when he guides Jews over the mountain pass to Switzerland and through the events that have him end up as a spy for the Allies The story is well told and engaging The characters seem real Too often historical characters come across as wooden or two dimensional as if the author is afraid to give them feelings or characteristics that would paint them as less than heroic Here you get the full gamut of feelings including fear confusion and hate Last week included All Saint’s Day and Father Re would certainly be included among them It’s heartwarming to learn about those whose faith is so strong that fear takes a backseat Sullivan also excels in painting General Leyers When he asks Pino if he hates him Pino is afraid to answer truthfully But Leyers says “yes you doit would be surprising if you didn’t hate me for what I’ve had to do today A part of me hates myselfSo here in Italy and in your eyes I’m a criminal Back home I’ll be an unsung hero Good Evil It’s all a matter of perspective is it not?”Lots of action here especially as the war is ending I’ve read there’s a movie of this in the works and you can see why it was picked up Some of the scenes are amazing so for knowing they really happened Highly recommend this one

  6. jessica jessica says:

    what a comfort it is to know that even in the most desperate and tragically unfathomable of circumstances courage and love are possible and can be found but what i enjoyed most about this story is how it educated me on the impact of WWII in italy italy is rarely the focus for novels on the subject even though the jewish community of italy was greatly affected it is hardly ever talked about due to the massive destruction of documents and records as well as the collective amnesia of italians the unwillingness to remember and talk about their struggles after the war so how fortunate is it that stories like this stories about the braveness and resilience of the italian people in the face of true horror are finally being shared and i feel rather heartless giving a book with that sort of gravity anything less than 5 stars but i was very let down when it came to the writing and the way the story is told i would have much rather heard the story told from pino himself as i dont think mark sullivan did his story justice the writing is very awkward and doesnt evoke the sense of emotion i would have hoped for from a story as memorable as this regardless i am still grateful i read this for there are so many valuable lessons taught within this book lessons on what it means to be human how far one can go to do whats right how love can be found anywhere and most importantly the power of courage and hope historic lessons and stories like this need to be recorded so that they will never be forgotten ↠ 35 stars

  7. LeAnne: GeezerMom LeAnne: GeezerMom says:

    My 14 year old is a military history buff and I'm pretty sure he will enjoy this simple work of historical fiction set in WWII Italy Me? Not so much GOOD STUFF I learned that groups of Italians loosely organized by priests and archbishops of the Catholic church were active in smuggling Jewish refugees over the Alps and into Switzerland to keep them out of the Nazi reach Getting a feel for the timeline of the German presence in Italy and how it was marked by milestones of Allied advancement was also pretty interesting Jewish and political prisoners were treated horrifically in Italy something not commonly written about disturbing but we need to know these thingsSUIRRELY STUFF The incessant series of coincidences that put the protagonist a REAL PERSON named Pino Lella in probably 40 or highly unlikely situations sucked nearly all credibility from the story In the real world of the early 1940s Mr Lella was a 17 year old who had been sent with his younger brother up into the mountains to escape the bombings that had begun in Milan The teenagers stayed at a Catholic boys' school where the priest began to harness the strength and alpine knowledge of 17 year old Pino to fill a role as capable mountain guide for Jews trying to escape persecutionWhile this section of the book was compelling the author popped in his first bits of far fetched small world run ins that ultimately doomed my reading experience I kept envisioning a young Tom Hanks busting out of his leg braces at a full gallop and uoting Mama Stupid is as stupid does but in Italian when he was randomly asked to act as translator for Mussolini I'm not the first person to see the unfortunate Forrest Gump parallel but because I regarded the book as being either geared for a Young Adult audience or that population of adults who read maybe just one book a year I initially let the incessant coincidences slide When young Pino enlists with the Nazis to avoid being drafted and being sent to the Russian front he conveniently bumped into major players with the gestapo served water to half starved Jews was the sole eye witness to a bombing’s perpetrator and unlikely Gumpish happenings He a teenager who’d only recently learned to drive expertly chauffered his officer's car to engage in a dog fight with a dive bombing fighter plane intent on its repeated overhead assassination attempts of the car’s inhabitants James Bond could not have done a better job All of these and other farfetched incidents snowballed into one big hunk of uestionability for meThere is another WWII era book out called Mischling where the fictional twin sisters just like Pino and Forrest end up witnessing every major event to have happened in that particular site over a period of years Do you remember those long horizontal posters from elementary school science class where every single known dinosaur and shark and invertebrate and fish and tree was illustrated into a single setting? Yes those are called dioramas and that is precisely what this book felt like an unrealistic conglomerate of events These kind of books are just fine they’re enlightening clusters of factoids but only when the reader isn’t expected to believe the main character actually experienced it all in real life Mischling was a very good read and this book could have been too The writing style vocabulary and format are fifth grade level not a bad thing for the general masses of reluctant readers out there and because of that seemingly targeted audience I further forgave the ridiculousnessUNFORTUNATE STUFF The flip side to assigning dozens and dozens of unlikely outcomes to one single real world person made me doubt exactly what role Pino Lella played What a shame that a book that probably promised to honor the sacrifices made by Mr Lella now have me a cynic uestioning exactly what he did do in the war I mean he DID enlist with the Nazis Part of me wondered if the outlandish acts of heroism and espionage and coincidence were mere whoppers that some Italian dude concocted years later so nobody would think ill of him for signing up with the Axes forced I'm NOT accusing but the way this story was written sure did have me wondering and that stink is on the author not Mr LellaThe names and roles and timeframes for the German officers priests and other real people are I've read pretty badly botched too but it is my understanding that the publisher originally claimed that this Based on Actual Events book was 90% perfectly accurate As armchair historians started digging up background info because hey it IS a compelling story the controversy of how much exaggeration and creative license and blarney was employed grewSome of this is familiar turf for avid readers A Million Little Pieces was a beautifully written memoir by James Frey that turned out to be invention than biography Poor Dave Eggers got hoodwinked by the wolf in sheep's clothing that was the man in Zeitoun In those instances however it was the author Frey intentionally deceiving us and then Zeitoun deceiving author Eggers Here I've no idea what to believe or disbelieve and it is Pino Lella who gets uestioned because of this writer SullivanIn sum had Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox showed up speaking Italian I would not have been surprised Great story Poor writing

  8. Dorie - Cats&Books :) Dorie - Cats&Books :) says:

    This is a 3 12 rounded up to a 4 because the story is about a real person and there is some good history here and obvious meticulous research I thought the writing was good and it flowed well but editing would definitely have helped There was too much detailed information about every single trip that Pino drove for the General There also seemed to be a lot of close calls in situations that Pino found himself in I would like to know if this is all true or based on memory?This review is going to be short because it's an older library book and there are tons of reviews already out there My favorite part of the novel are the early years helping Fr Re take many refugees people across the mountains to freedom In this section the detailed descriptions were much appreciated when describing the beauty of the mountains in this area Pino grew in so many ways during those years as we watched him become a great skier a great hiker and mountaineer and a fighter for freedomI enjoyed the way the author caught the early youthful innocence resilience idealism etc that were displayed not just by Pino but all of the young people involved in this storyI have read other book about WWII in Italy and this would be especially informative if you don't know any of this history Historical fiction is my favorite genre so I've read a lot of WWII book my very favorite book about this time period is A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria RussellI know that I will spend some time looking up the real Pino Lella and facts about himThis is an enjoyable historical novel with strong character development

  9. Elisabeth Elisabeth says:

    The story of Pino Lella is amazing The writing of Mark Sullivan is dreadful It reads like it was written by a sixth grader full of cliches and bad metaphors I brought this book on vacation and was so excited to read it based on the description on the back cover What a disappointment

  10. Terri Lynn Terri Lynn says:

    This was beautifully written The events really happened but the author had to add conversations that the subject obviously could not remember decades later word for word I liked seeing the Holocaust from the viewpoint of what happened in Italy Most books include little if anything about the suffering that both Mussolini and Hitler wreaked on Italians both Jews and non Jews An amazing book I highly recommend

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Beneath a Scarlet Sky [Download] ✤ Beneath a Scarlet Sky Author Mark T. Sullivan – 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 Based on the true story of a forgotten hero Beneath a Scarlet Sky is the triumphant epic tale of one Beneath a PDF/EPUB or 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 seniorIn 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 commandersNow 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 shareFans of All the Light We Cannot See The Nightingale and Unbroken will enjoy this riveting saga of history suspense and love.