Stephan Silva is a pharmacist, physician, and foot surgeon who grew up in Westchester County, New York. He earned an undergraduate degree from St. John’s University in pharmacy and a doctorate from New York College of Podiatric Medicine. He is board certified in podiatric medicine and surgery, as well as advanced wound care.
In addition to being a writer, Stephan owns and operates a wound care clinic in Boca Raton, Florida. He has been married to his wife, Debra, for thirty years. They have three children and a schnauzer. When not writing or practicing the healing arts, he enjoys martial arts like aikido as well as tennis and racquetball. His true passion is international travel and spending time with his cousins in Piacenza, Italy.
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 tried 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. Winner of the Florida Authors & Publishers Association Gold Award for Best Historical Fiction.
Review of Heaven Cries by Nicholas Gage, bestselling author of Eleni.
Stephan Silva has written an important first novel that depicts the dilemma that the Italian people faced in World War II. The armed forces originally were fighting on behalf of an independent Italy for colonial expansion in Africa. Their integrity was compromised by Mussolini’s alliance with Adolph Hitler and Nazi Germany, with terrible consequences. Before long, Italy was embroiled in a war on its own soil. Allied forces were conducting an aerial bombardment, even as German SS Troops terrorized Italian citizens. Worst of all, political factions arose to fill the void of a government collapse. The most brutal of these were the communist partisans who gave and received no quarter from the Nazis. These irregular forces had an eye on post war Europe and wished Italy to be placed behind the Iron Curtain as a Russian satellite nation.
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.