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Write a customer review. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Crimson Sky is a love story but it is also a story of survival. The story is largely told from the perspective of Zia, a Native American. This story informs us of the struggle and Ultimate price paid by entire tribes of people savagely ripped from their native lands.
Craig sensitively describes the brutality, great suffering, dislocation, grief and even dismemberment inflicted by the Spanish Conquistadors on the American Indians. A way of life which has sustained many generations is misinterpreted as barbaric and arcane by the Spanairds. People are forced from their lands, stripped of their faith and forced into slavery by those who are not of a superior intellect but rather who possess superior weapons, supplies and horses.
Zia suddenly finds herself alone when her husband, who is her true love and best friend TapanAskan, fails to return to her from a hunting trip. The village is pilfered and raided by other Indians and Soldiers. Zia finds herself fighting to save her village and she has to kill to keep from starving after a brutal raid. She faces betrayal, loss and starvation. She turns to the Conquistadors for help and finds she has ultimately struck a deal with the devil. TapanAskan who is injured Finds his way to another American Indian village where he is offered shelter while he heals and regains his strength.
This village too is savagely raided by the Spaniards who after the defeat hack off the feet of the strongest warriors to send a message. TapanAskan suffers this loss but manages to escape and to survive. But by the time he returns to his village he finds it deserted. Though in pain, and with the loss of his limb he vows to find Zia, to continue on as a great warrior and to kill the man who did this to him.
Zia too, finds the will to fight for herself and for her and Tapanaskan's son even if it means she must kill again. She finds there are limits to what she is willing to leave behind to live a life with a man who loves her but who is without honor. She is forced to face the cruelty of her capturer whom she had wanted to believeto was a good man. When she realizes he wants to raise her son to be like him and to forget all of her culture and the ways of her people and his father, she decides freedom is worth more than a false security offered her by the Captain who has fallen so deeply in love with her.
But who seeks to totally change her and to dominate her. She also knows in her heart she can never love anyone the way she loved TapanAskan. That the Spanish Captain cannot live without Zia sets the stage for the ultimate showdown. This was only because I felt I knew the direction the plot was going to take I couldn't stop myself reading for long though, and I enjoyed every page!
It has been years since I've read historical fiction this good. Margaret George, eat your heart out. Craig has managed to weave a tapestry of life in New Mexico, with the life of the Keres, Pueblo Indians. I could go into a synopsis of the story, with lists of characters, and a plot summary and all that. What I'm going to say is this: If powerful storytelling is your thing, if factual research is your thing, if three dimensional characters, both primary and secondary i Wow. If powerful storytelling is your thing, if factual research is your thing, if three dimensional characters, both primary and secondary is your thing, if great story structure with interwoven sub-plots and few if any holes is your thing, then Crimson Sky is certainly worth your time.
This is not just a sensitive story about Native Americans, but their struggles through droughts, invaders both foreign and domestic , and disease. Craig shows such an in-depth portrayal of this culture, that I feel like I've been living with them this past week. My heart has been torn out, put back, torn out again. She portrayed both the Native Americans and the Spaniards as humans, inherently weak, yet with an inner strength to survive. These tiny cliff-dwellings fascinated me in a way that no place else in America has ever captivated me before.
This book was a true treasure for me to find, as it reminded me of this vacation with my dad. If he were alive today, he would have read it, and enjoyed it immensely. I loved this book. It's now in my top ten. A good historical, fictional story about a young native American woman coping with the harsh realities of drought, tribal raiding, death and jealousy. Zia is a strong and honorable woman who is content with her life until her husband does not return from a hunting expedition.
Left alone with her infant son she struggles to survive with members of her tribe as they face one adversity after another. The story introduces Spanish conquistadors as they take over the land and its people. One captain i A good historical, fictional story about a young native American woman coping with the harsh realities of drought, tribal raiding, death and jealousy. One captain is shown from two perspectives and stories, as a lonely and loving man who falls in love with Zia on first sight. But unknown to Zia he is also an obsessive, heartless conqueror who destroys villages and brutally punishes those who do not obey him.
The story beautifully honors the native people, their traditions and their ways of worship while also describing the ways of the Catholic foreigners who are trying to convert them to Christianity. The tensions arising from these two worldviews are artfully woven into the story. The conclusion is powerful, sad and hopeful.
This is the third book I have read by this author and I continue to be impressed by her story- telling gifts.
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Nov 19, Pam rated it it was amazing. Crimson Sky is by Gretchen Craig. It is a different story in that it goes all the way back to the Spanish invasion of Mexico and the US. It is really an interesting look at Indian life Zia has to take the role of warrior when her tribe is overrun by raiders while the men are out hunting. Their best warrior was left with the women and children but he was wounded and could not fight. There was not enough time for them Crimson Sky is by Gretchen Craig.
There was not enough time for them to harvest enough to last the winter so their only choice was to go after the raiders. Zia would like nothing better than to go back to her role as wife and mother; but the hunting party returns without her husband TapanAshka. His half of the hunting party did not come back either. Zia must make a life for herself and her son and she does not want to remarry.
When the drought forces them to make the move to the Spanish settlement, she, her grandmother, and son are taken under the wing of the commander. Can she get out from under his protection and back to her Aug 03, Maggie Wadsager rated it really liked it. This was the quickest and easiest read from Gretchen Craig, that I have read. Tell us about that. I told him that from what I knew of his story he was an uncommon hero. His voice changed and he told me he was more a coward than a hero. That only intrigued me more, and after several more calls he agreed to my coming to Italy to hear the story in person and in full.
When I first went to see him I stayed for three weeks. He was seventy-nine, and living in a decaying old villa in the beautiful town of Lesa on Lake Maggiore north of Milan. I lived in an apartment on the third floor of the villa with a view of red tile roofs, the water, and the Alps beyond.
Pino was raised fluent in Italian, French, and English. We talked for hours in his drawing room which was filled with old tapestries, and paintings, a grand piano, and the mementos of a long, fascinating life. Hours, days and then weeks went by as I listened to him summon up the past. But by the time I got to Pino, more than six decades had passed. Memories change and fade with time. And a tortured conscious mind will block out traumatic events, bury them in the subconscious, or shade them so the victim can look at them from a tremendous distance, and with little emotion.
He was evasive at times.
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He had a self-deprecating nature and often downplayed his role and the dangers he faced. I often had to press him to just describe what happened versus filtering it through his meanings. Then the deeper story began to surface. Throughout the war, while others watched and feared, Pino risked and acted without regard for his own life. Yet as selfless as he was, in the moment that mattered most, he put life before love.
Later, when he became the driver to a powerful Nazi general, and so a spy, he risked his life again and again to get information to the partisan resistance and to the Allies. Because he wore the German uniform, Pino was thought a traitor by many people who did not understand his role as a spy, including his own brother. He got through the isolation through his love affair with Anna, the maid of the mistress to the Nazi general Pino drove for.
Anna is his refuge, one of the few places he can turn to for sanity and hope for a future beyond the war. But, as you mentioned, there comes a moment late in the book, and in the war, when chaos and anarchy is reigning in Milan, and Pino is forced to choose between life and love.
That scene is the emotional crucible of the novel, and one I had to pry out of him more than 60 years later. When he reluctantly and vaguely first described the scene to me, Pino showed distinct discomfort, and claimed he never saw the event personally, that he was told about it by the old concierge with the thick glasses, and that it took place somewhere in the streets of central Milan.
He was rattled even by that admission, wept briefly, and then stared off for a long time. He asked if we could talk about other things. We did, but as that afternoon wore on into night, normally-cheerful Pino became dark and agitated.
He asked to rest until morning. Late that evening, from my apartment upstairs I heard him playing piano, a stormy and thunderous piece that I did not recognize. The next morning, he looked exhausted and said he had not slept well. His descriptions of the nightmare version were incredibly detailed, and recounting it crushed him physically and mentally. I did the only thing I could, and went to hold the old man while he poured out his grief and torment.
But the morning he described the nightmare to me was an entirely different story. I will never forget his expression as long as I live. That was the original intent, but after years of trying to dig up the documented, fully-corroborated story, I threw up my hands. So many other characters had died before I heard about Pino Lella, and the Nazis had burned so many documents surrounding his story that even after ten years of research I had to make informed assumptions in the narrative. Once I surrendered to that, I knew I was in the realm of historical fiction and writing a novel. I gave in to it and adjusted by switching obligations.
The obligations of the non-fiction writer and the novelists are different. The former must hew to the documented facts and eye-witness accounts. The latter should dig for a deeper, emotional truth. Tell us about your friendship and what Pino has meant to you. January of was a terrible time for me. My brother had drunk himself to death the prior June. My mother had drunk herself into brain damage. That day I realized darkly that my insurance policies were more valuable than my life and potential in the future. During a snow storm, I seriously considered driving into a bridge abutment on an interstate freeway near my home, but I was saved by thoughts of my wife and sons.
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Minkoff introduced me to Bob Dehlendorf. In the late s, Dehlendorf was on an extended vacation in Italy when he met Pino by chance. Dehlendorf was a few years younger, but they bonded. After several days, Dehlendorf asked Pino about his experiences during the war. Over the course of those first three weeks, as Pino opened up more and more, I experienced his deep pain and marveled at his ability to go on after being so depressed and traumatized he too had contemplated suicide. I had to comfort him repeatedly during the course of his long recounting, and I was moved again and again.
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I had a great, loving wife, and two remarkable sons. I had an amazing story to tell. I had a new and dear friend. I was more than lucky. Leaving Italy that first time, I felt blessed to be alive. You spent almost nine years researching this story, hampered, in part, by a kind of collective amnesia concerning Italy and Italians during WWII, and the widespread burning of Nazi documents as the war ground to a close. The Nazi occupation of Italy and the underground railroad formed to save the Italian Jews have received little attention.
Remember I was trying to write this as non-fiction, and I wanted to nail the factual narrative. I went back to Italy twice more, and to Germany a second and third time. All along the way, I was hampered by the burning of Nazi documents in the last days of the war, especially by Organization Todt. The OT, as it was known, was like a combination of the U.
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Army Corps of Engineers and the Quartermasters Corps. The OT built fortifications across Italy and Europe. The OT manufactured or stole everything the German military needed, from cannons to uniforms, from ammunition to food. It did so on every front of the European theater by using slaves. These slaves fortified the Russian Front. They built the western wall of pill boxes, tank traps, and artillery emplacements that U. They built the Green and Gothic battle lines in Italy.
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They even built the concentration camps. The Germans were fanatical record keepers, but by the time Italy was freed there was very little left describing the OT and the million plus slaves believed to have toiled for the Nazis during the occupation. This was true everywhere I looked. Northern Italy descended into anarchy, and public revenge killings were widespread.
It was so bad that many brave partisan fighters shut their mouths and never spoke of what they saw as the Nazis fled toward the Austrian border. One old partisan told me they were young and wanted to forget those terrible times. I also think historians have tended to ignore Italy because General Eisenhower decided to pull multiple divisions out of Italy in the late spring of to bolster the fight for France. After liberating Rome in June of that year, the progress of the weakened Allied forces remaining in Italy ground to a virtual halt.
And the focus of journalists, historians, and novelists turned largely to the drama of D Day and its aftermath. I think that worked in my favor to a certain extent. WWII Italy felt overlooked and unexamined, which made it even more exciting for me as I worked on the book. Despite some tolerated revenge killings in the immediate aftermath of the war, Italian authorities conducted relatively few trials of collaborators. General Leyers, who by his own admission sat at the left hand of the Fuhrer, and who was arguably the second-most powerful man in Italy during the last two years of World War II, was among those never prosecuted.
For almost two years after the end of the conflict, Allied prosecutors prepared cases against prominent Fascists and Nazis accused of war crimes in Italy. One of those Germans held awaiting trial was the man Pino drove for: In reality he acted with the full authority of Hitler.