Beneath a Scarlet Sky

By Mark Sullivan,

Book cover of Beneath a Scarlet Sky

Book description

Soon to be a major television event from Pascal Pictures, starring Tom Holland.

Based on the true story of a forgotten hero, the USA Today and #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…

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Why read it?

10 authors picked Beneath a Scarlet Sky as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This book was recommended to me because it was set in Italy–specifically in Milan, where I spent some time years ago. It was interesting to learn about the region during the time of WWII and the tribulations that befallen the city and certain groups of people. In this story, the characters participate in a discreet fight against the force of fascism that took over their city.

Of course, I appreciated this fascinating story of this young man’s role. But what really remained with me was learning how the people worked together in the shadows to fight against evil.

A novel based on the true story of WWII hero Pino Lella is equally thrilling as an adventure, fascinating as history, and absolutely heart-breaking as a love story.

I read this book and immediately recommended it to my young adult son, who also gobbled it up. It is a story that I have revisited many times in my mind and, when it is eventually turned into a film, we will visit the cinema with some trepidation to see if the director has been able to capture such an excellent tale on the big screen.

I am a student of World War II since my father served in Europe and Africa over 3 ½ years (with 3 Purple Hearts). My father died before I had a chance to ask him questions about his experience in the war. To me, he was just a father. I now know what he hero he was.

In Beneath a Scarlet Sky, I imagined my father, plucked from a farm in Ohio and delivered to extraordinary circumstances that required valor, which earned his unit three Presidential Unit Citations. Even though the main character, teenager Pino Lela, was not forced…

From Kimberly's list on books based on a true story.

Humans are capable of such evil, and also of so much good, and it’s all there in this fictionalized account of Pino Lella’s WWII experiences.

I was captivated first by the grit and growth of this Italian teenager as he leads refugees over the mountains into Switzerland. Then I was fascinated by Pino’s enlistment and assignment to drive a car for one of the most powerful Nazis in Italy.

But Pino isn’t a Nazi, and he and his uncle see his new assignment as an opportunity to glean information for the Allies. His experiences are bittersweet—a poignant reminder that the…

Beneath a Scarlet Sky is an incredible tale of one young man’s courage and resilience in WWII. Although it's a novel, it's based on a true story. And that makes the book even more remarkable and awe-inspiring.

Pino Lella was only 17 in 1943 when the war and Nazi occupation in Italy affected his life. He fought the Nazis in secret by taking the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command. I could hardly imagine anyone at his age would have such courage and determination. And I could feel his love for Anna and for the…

One of the first Italian WWII Historical Fiction books that I read, and still one of my favorites. I was initially intrigued by this novel because it was based on a true story. One forgotten to time. Mark Sullivan does a remarkable job of bringing to life the incredible courage of a young man as he is faced with the unimaginable reality that the war has brought to his family and village. The innocence of youth, dreams of a young man, and hope for the future are challenged because of the Nazi invasion. This story is emotional, entertaining, and reminds…

A magnificent, breathtaking story based on the true-life adventures of Giuseppino “Pino” Lella, just one of many such unknown heroes during World War II. We follow his amazing story throughout the latter part of the war, when Germany occupied Italy when that country was led by Mussolini in league with Hitler. There were many times I had to put the book down and take deep breaths, it was that captivating. Sadly, it also showed such an unfathomable lack of human compassion on the part of Nazis that you’ll come away with a totally new view of those awful, despairing times.

I was gripped by this story of an Italian teenager who uses his knowledge of the mountains to help Jews escape over the Italian Alps to Switzerland and eventually works for the resistance after joining the German Army. It is a good example of historical fiction, based on real people and events and brought to life through Sullivan’s excellent writing. 

From Imogen's list on acts of resistance in WW2.

At the beginning of this book, Pino Lella is a typical teenage boy, obsessed with girls, even though the world is falling apart. Benito Mussolini has allied with Hitler and the world is embroiled in World War II. Still, Pino’s main question about himself is, will he ever be able to attract the girl of his dreams? I related to that (Been there, done that!). In this book, Pino is forced to grow out of that mindset. The Nazi’s take over in Italy, and he ends up smuggling Jews across the border to Switzerland, as well as acting as…

Based on the true story of Pino Lella, a young race-car driver, the book follows WWII in northern Italy after the Germans convince Mussolini to fight on their side. Lella puts himself and his family in grave danger as he is asked to drive for a prominent SS officer while working for the resistance. What I like was learning how Jews were shepherded out of northern Italy by trekking over the mountains into Switzerland and other unique rescue operations. 

Want books like Beneath a Scarlet Sky?

Our community of 10,000+ authors has personally recommended 100 books like Beneath a Scarlet Sky.

Browse books like Beneath a Scarlet Sky

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the German occupation of Europe, Germany, and war?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the German occupation of Europe, Germany, and war.

The German Occupation Of Europe Explore 70 books about the German occupation of Europe
Germany Explore 469 books about Germany
War Explore 1,863 books about war