“A novel based on the true and epic story of a forgotten hero of World War II. Pino Lella doesn't want to know anything about the war or the Nazis. He is an Italian teenager obsessed with music and girls but, in the Milan of 1943, his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home is destroyed by the bombings, Pino joins a clandestine network that helps Jews escape through the Alps, and falls in love with the beautiful and mysterious Anna. With the intention of protecting him, his parents force him to enlist in the German army and at the age of 18 he is recruited as a chauffeur to General Hans Leyers, Hitler's right-hand man in Italy and one of the most powerful and enigmatic commanders of the Third Reich. While that gives him the opportunity to spy for the Allies within the German High Command, Pino will have to overcome the horrors of war and the Nazi occupation. Only his love for Anna and his dream of the life that they will one day share give him the strength and courage to keep fighting in secret." (Editor's Review)
The strength of this novel lies in the fact that with a very simple prose it tells us a great story. Throughout the book we can clearly see the evolution of the protagonist: at first we are shown his somewhat crazy and thoughtless character at the beginning of the War; later, his deep conviction of carrying out a great task in the Alps stands out, as well as his sense of responsibility and fortitude in spying on the enemy when everyone around him considers him a traitor; and eventually, we encounter his frustration, helplessness, and pain after the war is over. The background of the whole novel is the development of a great love story between Pino and Anna. It is precisely this love that gives Pino the strength to move forward and, above all, hope in the face of the cruel war.
The book also reflects the role played by the Catholic Church in Italy in helping, protecting and hiding Jews and others persecuted by the Nazi regime. Particularly noteworthy is the figure of Cardinal Schuster and Father Re. However, Pino's behavior is sometimes inconsistent with his faith and this can lead to confusion. There are some sensual scenes that are not overly explicit.