Beneath a Scarlet Sky

Mark Sullivan

Lake Union

Italy, 1944. Seventeen years old, Pino Lella comes from a prosperous Milanese family. He’s full of dreams like any boy his age. War seems remote until Allied bombs begin to fall on the city. A keen mountaineer, Pino escapes to the Alps where he becomes a guide to Jews escaping into Switzerland. It’s dangerous. Pino and his mentor Father Re risk death by firing squad should their humanitarian work be discovered.

. . . extraordinary and epic wartime adventures of an ordinary young man.

Pino knows he’ll soon be drafted and sent to the Italian army fighting alongside the Germans on the Russian Front where the chances of survival are 50-50. To Pino’s disgust his parents pull strings and find him employment with the Organisation Todt, provider of general labor to the Nazi regime. Through sheer happenstance he becomes a driver to General Hans Leyer, the second most powerful man in Italy. Pino takes a golden opportunity to gain intelligence for the Allies from Leyer’s work, but he grows up fast when he witnesses Nazi atrocities first hand and has to deal with open mistrust from his fellow Italians who look upon him as a collaborator. The cold, reptilian Leyer has a talent for gaining and using favors and seems human only around his mistress, Dolly. Pino and Dolly’s maid Anna-Marta fall in love, but triumphs and tragedies await them as World War II enters its final phase and the Allied armies close in on the Nazi’s last stand.

Beneath a Scarlet Sky is a genuine tour de force. Based on a true story, Sullivan’s clean, clear narrative takes hold and grips tight all the way through the book as he recounts the extraordinary and epic wartime adventures of an ordinary young man.