Penmore Press would like to congratulate author Stephan Silva, whose terrific World War II novel Heaven Cries was awarded the Florida Authors & Publishers Association Gold Medal for Historical Fiction.
Stephan’s debut novel, Heaven Cries, is a fictionalized account of his great uncle Artemio Silva and his exploits in the Italian Royal Air Force during World War II and subsequent internment under Nazi occupation. It is a story of redemption and the road back from perdition—how average people sought to survive in this crucible of war.
Heaven Cries: When Artemio Battaglia joins the Regia Aeronautica to become a fighter pilot at the beginning of World War II, he’s inspired by the romanticized patriotism of the Fascists. His idealism is shattered when he witnesses atrocities committed against indigenous populations in North Africa, and the officials he informs do nothing to stop the murderers. Their response is to transfer him to the most dangerous front in the war. A disillusioned Artemio returns to Piacenza to find his city occupied by ruthless German soldiers. He enlists in the war again, this time as a member of the Red Brigades. With a renewed sense of purpose, Artemio repeatedly places himself in peril, sabotaging German supply lines and giving aid to the Allies. But when his comrades capture a downed Italian pilot and schedule a hasty execution, Artemio recoils at the senseless violence. Once again, he is called to act in accordance with his conscience and embarks on a bold plan to set things right.
"Based on the actual World War II experience of the author’s great uncle, a pilot in the Regia Aeronautica, Heaven Cries conveys the disillusionment, anguish, and indomitable spirit of people betrayed first by their elected leader, then by their ally. It shows with chilling realism how the desire for freedom can become a commitment to overthrow an oppressive regime. Most significantly, it reminds us of the true spring waters of freedom: hope, kindness, courage, and love. In the dark light of recent events, this history is particularly relevant. Heaven Cries is not simply our past: it is also our present." — Nicholas Cage, author of bestselling Eleni.