Book: Beneath a Scarlet Sky
Author: Mark Sullivan
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.-Goodreads
Review: This was my first WWII book from an Italian perspective and Pino Lella certainly lived an incredible life. The story itself is worthy of 5 stars. An Italian teenager is sent to a boys school is northern Italy and ends up smuggling people across the Alps into Switzerland. He returns home, enlists in the war and becomes the driver for a Nazi general reporting directly to Hitler. He spies on his boss while friends and family revile him for being a Nazi. Fascinating, right? I wish this story had been written by someone else because while the story and plot points are amazing, the writing was mediocre at best. At points I thought a middle school student had written it. I was shocked when I finished the book and saw Sullivan has co-authored things with James Patterson and is an award winning author. Say what?!
Overall-amazing storyline, poor execution. This would be a great movie or mini-series though.