The Godfather's Revenge

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The original 1969 bestseller that became a landmark event in American popular culture.

An American crime boss pursuing the mantle of legitimacy...A former top man on the run...The ambitious brother of a galvanizing young President...A New Orleans capo out for revenge...An Irish consigliere plunged into mortal peril. Five lives on a collision course with tragedy that will make history and shock the world-an unforgettable capstone to Mario Puzo's...

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Overview

The original 1969 bestseller that became a landmark event in American popular culture.

An American crime boss pursuing the mantle of legitimacy...A former top man on the run...The ambitious brother of a galvanizing young President...A New Orleans capo out for revenge...An Irish consigliere plunged into mortal peril. Five lives on a collision course with tragedy that will make history and shock the world-an unforgettable capstone to Mario Puzo's great American epic.

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Editorial Reviews

Patrick Anderson
The Godfather's Revenge is popular fiction at its best and arguably offers more depth and realism than Puzo's original.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
In Winegardner's mediocre second sequel to Mario Puzo's classic (after 2004's bestselling The Godfather Returns), La Cosa Nostra gets involved in a plot in the early 1960s to assassinate a JFK-like U.S. president, Jimmy Shea. Instead of building on the fascinating characters Puzo created, such as Michael Corleone, the reluctant successor to his father's Mafia empire, Winegardner dwells on the machinations of Michael's main rival, Nick Geraci. When Geraci mysteriously disappears and eludes capture by the authorities, the reader learns in a jarring nod to Osama bin Laden that "the most powerful nation on earth had deployed skilled intelligence and law enforcement personnel to conduct a gigantic manhunt for a powerful and resourceful leader of a secret criminal society-a tall, imposing, bearded man with a chronic, withering disease-and somehow failed to find the cave where he was hiding." Godfather fans might prefer getting reacquainted with the original novel and the two better of the three films it inspired. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
When one of Michael Corleone's underlings is deported to Colombia by order of the attorney general (brother of the President), he sneaks back to retaliate-and ends up changing the course of U.S. politics. With a five-city tour. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Faux Kennedy brothers, elaborate detailings of byzantine Cosa Nostra politics, steamy pulp-fiction prose, a hot murder mystery and a cartoonishly epic cast make this Godfather installment a worthy addition to the chronicle of la famigilia Corleone. They're baaaaack-dour Machiavellian Michael and long-suffering Connie, tight-lipped, anxiety-prone Irish consigliere Tom Hagen, even poor Michael-murdered Fredo, appearing now as a tuxedo-wearing ghost bearing a fishing rod and squeezing a naked dame. Winegardner (That's True of Everybody, 2002, etc.) breathlessly re-animates these archetypes even more effectively than he did in 2004's The Godfather Returns. Revenge pits Nick Gerasi, turncoat former Corleone caporegime emerging from exile in a bomb shelter beneath Lake Erie, against Michael in a mano-a-mano bloodfeud. Gerasi's an old-school gangster, miffed at the Godfather's efforts to go legit. And Michael has other hellhounds on his trail. There's Attorney General Danny Shea, kid brother of philandering Jimmy, the U.S. president Michael finagled into office by means of Hagen's chicanery and a charm offensive by Sinatra-like Corleone flunky Johnny Fontane. Danny's dream is to enter history as the Mob-slayer, and while Michael merely wants to neutralize the threat, rival crime boss Carlo Tramonti, Don of the Big Easy, aims at actually offing Jimmy. At a pasta-mad powwow for the head honchos of all the underworld's Five Families, Carlo advances the assassination plot, only to be interrupted as police crash in to nab Tom Hagen. Turns out his mistress, hard-case blonde bombshell Judy Buchanan, has been shot in the head and Hagen's soon held for questioning. Winegardner's deft plot-spinning isrivaled only by his sure grasp of Goodfella mise-en-scene, the profanity-laced witticisms, the fashion fetishizing, the cool, long, dark '60s Chevy Biscaynes. Minor characters, from upstart Eddie Paradise to the musically monickered Ottilio Cuneo and Osvaldo Atobello, add varnish to inch-thick operatic mobster atmosphere. Bloody and bombastic-a top-notch addition to the saga.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399153846
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 11/7/2006
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Winegardner

Mark Winegardner is a celebrated novelist who was handpicked by Mario Puzo's estate to write The Godfather Returns, an instant New York Times bestseller. Winegardner's previous books, including the novels Crooked River Burning and The Veracruz Blues, have been chosen as among the best of the year by The New York Times Book Review, Chicago Sun-Times, Los Angeles Times, the New York Public Library, and USA Today. He is a professor (and former director) at the creative writing program at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida.

Biography

Mark Winegardner was born and raised in Bryan, Ohio, near Exit 2, a town of 8,000 which supplies the world with its Dum-Dum suckers and Etch-a-Sketches. His parents owned an RV dealership there, and every summer he traveled with his family across the USA in various travel trailers and motorhomes. By the time he was 15, he had been in all 48 contiguous states. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Miami University and went on to receive a master of fine arts degree in fiction writing from George Mason University. He published his first book at age 26, while still in graduate school. He has taught at Miami, George Mason, George Washington, and John Carroll Universities, and is now a professor in the creative writing program at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. For several years he served as the director of the creative writing program as well. Winegardner has won grants, fellowships and residencies from the Ohio Arts Council, the Lilly Endowment, the Ragdale Foundation, the Sewanee Writers Conference and the Corporation of Yaddo. His books have been chosen as among the best of the year by the New York Times Book Review, Chicago Sun-Times, Los Angeles Times, the New York Public Library, and USA Today. His work has appeared in GQ, Playboy, Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, DoubleTake, Family Circle, The Sporting News, Witness, Story Quarterly, American Short Fiction, Ladies Home Journal, Parents and The New York Times Magazine. Several of his stories have been chosen as Distinguished Stories of the Year in The Best American Short Stories.

Good To Know

The Story Behind the Sequel

by Jonathan Karp

Throughout the decade I was Mario Puzo's editor, I would periodically beg him to write a sequel to The Godfather. "Bring back the Corleones!" I would plead. "Whatever happened to Johnny Fontane? Can't you do something with Tom Hagen? Don't you think Michael has some unfinished business?"

Mario was always polite in the face of my wheedling and his response was always the same: No.

I understood why Mario never wanted to continue the story. He was a gambler at heart, and resurrecting The Godfather would have been a bad percentage move for him. It was bound to pale in comparison to the original. How do you improve on a legend?

But one day on the phone, Mario did give me his blessing to revisit the Corleones. He told me his family could do whatever they wanted with the rights to The Godfather after he died. (His exact phrase was "after I croak," which I remember precisely because it was the first time an author had ever discussed his posthumous career with me in such direct terms.)

Mario left behind two novels, Omerta and his partially completed tale of the Borgias, The Family, so it was awhile before I approached his estate about the prospect of reviving The Godfather. After conversations with Mario's eldest son, Anthony Puzo, and his literary agent, Neil Olson, we agreed on a strategy:

We would discreetly search for a writer at roughly the same stage of his or her career as Mario was when he wrote The Godfather -- mid-forties, with two acclaimed literary novels to his credit, and a yearning to write a larger, more ambitious novel for a broader readership than his previous books had reached. We didn't want a by-the-numbers hired gun. We wanted an original voice, someone who would bring artistry and vision to the Corleone saga, just as director Francis Ford Coppola had so done brilliantly in his film adaptations.

I outlined what we were looking for in a one-page query, which I sent confidentially via email to about a dozen respected literary agents. Within 24 hours of sending my confidential email, I received a phone call from New Yorker staff writer Nick Paumgarten. He'd heard all about our search and wanted to write about it. At first, I was reluctant to cooperate, due to my concern that every would-be goomba in the country would send me a manuscript. Upon further consideration, I realized that there probably weren't a lot of goombas reading The New Yorker, and that a story might be a good way to get out the word and attract a broader range of authors.

The day the story was published, The Godfather Returns became headline news. I was deluged with calls from almost every major media organization in the United States, as well as many abroad, from CNN to the BBC in New Zealand. The New York Times Magazine published a cautionary essay about the dangers of sequels. I appeared on a Detroit radio morning zoo show with a Vito Corleone impersonator who warned me that my career might come to an untimely end if I didn't hire him to write the book.

We had set a deadline for the delivery of outlines from potential writers. We stuck to our guidelines -- only published authors of acclaimed fiction would be considered. By the day of the deadline, we had been swamped with submissions from well-regarded authors (plus countless more from unpublished ones). As I sorted through the outlines, I was taped by a TV cameraman and interviewed by NBC News correspondent Jamie Gangel, who was covering our search, and who ultimately revealed the winner live on The Today Show.

I quickly narrowed down the field to about a dozen serious contenders. Some were dismissed on account of inadvisable plot lines. (Michael Corleone falls in love with a Native American activist. Or, the Corleone women take over the family business. Or, Sonny Corleone didn't really die.) Others were rejected because the writers didn't seem to have the right feel for the material. One literary critic described Mario Puzo's style as "somewhere between pulp and Proust." That's part of the reason for his success -- he was an original writer who loved to entertain his readers. He could turn a phrase, and there was a sly ironic undertone to almost everything he wrote, but Mario's greatest talent was for telling a story that stayed with you because the details were so captivating. Our ideal writer would have similar gifts.

From the dozen contenders, we arrived at four finalists. We would have been happy to publish any of them. After consultation with Tony Puzo and Neil Olson, we unanimously agreed that the best candidate was Mark Winegardner. Like Mario, he was an author of two acclaimed literary novels, The Veracruz Blues and Crooked River Burning, and to our delight, both of which had organized crime plot theads. I read Crooked River Burning and loved it, not only for its ambition (it's the story of the rise and fall of a great American city over a period of decades), but also because the author shows such compassion for his characters. Mario Puzo's greatest literary inspiration was Dostoevsky, who taught him to see the humanity within the villainous. Winegardner has an equally big heart when writing about his characters. That can be very interesting when you're going to have to kill a lot of them. He was our first choice to write The Godfather Returns and we were elated when he accepted. Our selection was international news. When Mark visited Sicily for some background research, it was a front page story there.

Neither Mark nor I have ever worked on a more highly-anticipated book. We know the risks of following in the tradition of a pop classic. I'm not worried. Having edited the novel, I'm certain of its quality and its power. The Corleones have become an American myth, and like all great myths, each retelling brings new meaning and new rewards.

Jonathan Karp is Vice President and Editorial Director of Random House.

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    1. Hometown:
      Tallahassee, Florida
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 24, 1961
    2. Place of Birth:
      Bryan, Ohio
    1. Education:
      B.A., Miami University, 1983; M.F.A., George Mason University, 1987
    2. Website:

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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 20, 2010

    Revenge as Only the Corleones Can Serve-Up!

    The Godfather's Revenge is a fitting coda to Mario Puzo's classic world-view of America's crime families. In my humble opinion, Mark Winegardner has redeemed himself for the disappointing, "The Godfather Returns," by creating believable new characters and building upon the lesser-knowns. The reader will discover: how Tom Hagen shed his mortal coil; how politics and crime really are one-in-the-same; and why Michael Corleone outlasted all his contemporaries. Unlike "Return," Winegardner is truer to the characters and themes that made Puzo's novel the ultimate crime saga. I can only hope that the Puzo Estate will commission yet another Winegardner-penned Godfather novel. The last 100 pages had my heart racing and the stunning conclusion does not disappoint. I'm only sorry it took me three years to finally purchase and read it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 30, 2009

    Alternative Godfather Sequel

    Entertaining, inasmuch as it yields the opportunity to revisit some of the old favorites from the Godfather saga, and certainly better than the actual 3rd installment of the movie series.
    It felt bogged down a bit at times, but usually was enjoyable, and the characters were nicely drawn. The historical references were nice, also.
    Godfather snobs may be put off by the dream sequence early, as I kind of was. Still, I think it wuld be fun for people who enjoy books about the MAFIA, especially about the Corleones.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2012

    Interesting, but not....

    I am writing the same review for both "The Godfather Returns" & "The Godfather's Revenge", as I read the books back to back.

    First, let me explain I am a "Godfather" fan, maybe even some level of "Super-Fan". Just seeing the Corelone's name on various pages kept me interested.

    Here's my problem (and recommendation)... SPOILERS ahead: This should not have been a "Godfather" series of novels, but instead a Nick Geraci story. If it were titled "Nick's Retern" & "Nick's Revenge", and limited the any focus of the Corleone family to only his direct interactions with Mr. Geraci, then I would say these was a pretty good story. Or, even a first-person narrative, allowing some level of perception and even delusion from Mr. Geraci's point of view.

    Instead, in my humble opinion, the author create a pretty bad story of the Corelone family in between the events of the trilogy of movies. And, I am somewhat offended in the sense the author discredits all of the greatness of Michael Corleone and the major events of the second Godfather movie. For me, the scene with Kay telling Michael about the abortion in GFII is very powerful, but then we are told she lied about it and actually had a miscarriage. There are about a dozen other cases, such as Hyman Roth being a "pawn" instead of the mastermind in the events of GFII.

    Again, somewhat offensive that someone was allowed to discredit the events of the movie and Puzo's original works. (Yes, I know this is fiction...)

    Another disappointment is the lack of involving key players such as Vincent Mancini/Corelone, Frank Pentangeli, Joey Zasa, etc.

    Finally, I also read "The Family Corleone" (I did a back-to-back-to-back on my Nook); many of the back stories are inconsistent with regards to Sonny & Tom's youth and a few other sections. Why wouldn't the powers-that-be (the Puzo or Coppola or who ever owns the rights) do a better job of coordinating these stories?

    I do recommend the read for any Godfather fans, but I wish this was written as its own story. A great example of how this scenario had worked is "The Sicilian".

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  • Posted May 30, 2009

    Total Miss

    Characters were excellent and the plot was convoluted and thrilling- until the end. Instead of a big ending which tied everything up, the author let everything trickle away. In fact, my question was "Where's the revenge?" If the author's point was that Michael Corleone had lost his edge, this audio book illustrated that perfectly. But that could have been done in a much shorter work. This audio book fails the sniff test because the ending stinks

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2007

    A reviewer

    The book is set in the year 1963. Mafia, the Kennedys oh sorry, the Sheas, man this is gonna be great! No this book goes in the wrong direction for me. I thought it would involve more of the Shea brothers and how the mafia wanted to knock them off. This book is more about relationships and family matters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2007

    'Revenge' was better, but Winegardner makes a great finale.

    Like I said, 'Revenge' was better, but Winegardner is very good at concluding a legendary saga. He ain't Mario Puzo, but he is outstanding, and I'm eager to see his future projects. Way to go, Mr. Winegardner. Keep up your good work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2007

    great addicting book from the first page to the end of the novel

    im glad mark is contiueing the godfather saga thank god they choose him after mario puzo died but man this is one of the greatest mafia books ever written i read it one sitting if you think this book is good check out the godfather returns by mark

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2006

    Winegardner Does It Again!

    Not once, but twice. After two attempts at reviving some of the most interesting characters in literary history, Winegardner fails. In The Godfather's Revenge, the writer takes both political and organized crime historical fact and interweaves them with the fictional characters created by Mario Puzo. While there is nothing wrong with that in itself, his doing so in this book only seems to serve the purpose of filling up pages for the novel. While the first several chapters immedeatly hook the reader in, it loses steam just as fast. Winegardner creates what seems like some interesting characters, but he fails to build on those characters and they wind up just being 'extras' for what turns out to be a pretty bland story. A lot of unecessary dialogue throughout the novel. I will admit though, that the Nick Geraci character is a very interesting character, and for the most part when the story focuses on him, it does keep you interested. Several subplots involving some of the Corleone characters are just not believable. Winegardner does an excellent job of building this tension between his Nick Geraci character and Puzo's Michael Corleone character, throughout the book, only to disapoint us with a very anti-climactic finish. Most of the storyline is very predictable, especially towards the very ending of the book. While Winegardner is not a terrible writer, it is quite obvious that he has no real feel for the interesting characters created by Mario Puzo and therefore disapoints the true Godfather fan with this failed attempt at continuing one of the most interesting sagas in the literary world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2007

    Once again, a well written book

    No, Mario Puzo he ain't, but Winegartner does a great job of story telling. He keeps his characters fresh and the story line intresting. If you are a 'mafia' buff, you will enjoy this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2007

    ACES READING OF A CONTINUING SAGA

    Who can forget the Corleone family? Whether first met between the pages of a book, in a darkened movie theater or on a smaller screen in your home, they were unlike any people most of us have known. Mario Puzo had introduced the world to the Mafia. Francis Ford Coppola brought gang members to all too vivid life on screen. For many (myself included) that would be enough.....and then I saw that this audio book was read by Joe Mantegna. Tony award winner Mantegna, as many know, was the ultimate gangster on screen in 'The Godfather: Part III' and 'Bugsy.' His voice is deep, resonant, and when he issues an order - you better hop to it. He never over-dramatizes, which would be easy to do in this fast-paced tale, but exercises such control that his narration is almost tight, if you will, rendering it compelling to the nth. Winegardner (author of 'The Godfather Returns') now mixes the Corleones with politics - a president and an attorney general (his brother) - think JFK. Michael Corleone has more than he can handle with Nick Geraci, once a devoted follower now a deadly rival, and one of his top men plotting to assassinate the president. There's the tie between the CIA and Mafia killers, and the reappearance of favorite characters - Johnny Fontane, the spineless crooner, and Tom Hagen, the Irish consigliere. For this listener, one of Winegardner's most intriguing characters is Francesca Corleone Van Arsdale, Sonny's daughter, who is a chip (or chippy, if you will) off the old block. The Corleone's never fail to amaze and entertain - thanks to a superb narration and an inventive story by Winegardner who writes with the approval of the Puzo estate. - Gail Cooke

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    Posted March 6, 2013

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    Posted December 1, 2010

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    Posted September 10, 2009

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    Posted March 9, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2013

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