The Sicilian

( 35 )

Overview

After Mario Puzo wrote his internationally acclaimed The Godfather, he has often been imitated but never equaled. Puzo's classic novel, The Sicilian, stands as a cornerstone of his work--a lushly romantic, unforgettable tale of bloodshed, justice, and treachery. . . .

The year is 1950. Michael Corleone is nearing the end of his exile in Sicily. The Godfather has commanded Michael to bring a young Sicilian bandit named Salvatore Guiliano back with him to America. But Guiliano is ...

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The Sicilian

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Overview

After Mario Puzo wrote his internationally acclaimed The Godfather, he has often been imitated but never equaled. Puzo's classic novel, The Sicilian, stands as a cornerstone of his work--a lushly romantic, unforgettable tale of bloodshed, justice, and treachery. . . .

The year is 1950. Michael Corleone is nearing the end of his exile in Sicily. The Godfather has commanded Michael to bring a young Sicilian bandit named Salvatore Guiliano back with him to America. But Guiliano is a man entwined in a bloody web of violence and vendettas. In Sicily, Guiliano is a modern day Robin Hood who has defied corruption--and defied the Cosa Nostra. Now, in the land of mist-shrouded mountains and ancient ruins, Michael Corleone's fate is entwined with the dangerous legend of Salvatore Guiliano: warrior, lover, and the ultimate Siciliano.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Puzo is a master storyteller."
--USA Today
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345441706
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/1/2001
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 82,551
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.87 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author

Mario Puzo was born in New York and, following military service in World War II, attended New York’s New School for Social Research and Columbia University. His best-known novel, The Godfather, has sold more than 16 million copies worldwide. He has published several critically acclaimed novels including The Fortunate Pilgrim and The Sicilian. He has also written the screenplays for all three Godfather movies, for which he received two Academy Awards.

Biography

Mario Puzo was born in New York and, following military service in World War II, attended New York's New School for Social Research and Columbia University. His bestselling novel The Godfather, (1969) was preceded by two critically acclaimed novels, The Dark Arena (1955) and The Fortunate Pilgrim (1965). In 1978, he published Fools Die, followed by The Sicilian (1984), The Fourth K (1990), and the second installment in his Mafia trilogy, The Last Don (1996), which became an international bestseller and the highest-rated TV miniseries of 1997.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      October 15, 1920
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York City
    1. Date of Death:
      July 2, 1999
    2. Place of Death:
      Bay Shore, Long Island
    1. Education:
      Attended New York City's New School for Social Research and Columbia University

Read an Excerpt

MICHAEL CORLEONE STOOD on a long wooden dock in Palermo and watched the great ocean liner set sail for America.He was to have sailed on that ship,but new in- structions had come from his father.

He waved goodbye to the men on the little oshing boat who had brought him to this dock,men who had guarded him these past years.The oshing boat rode the white wake of the ocean liner,a brave little duckling after its mother.
The men on it waved back;he would see them no more.

The dock itself was alive with scurrying laborers in caps and baggy clothes unloading other ships,loading trucks that had come to the long dock.They were small wiry men who looked more Arabic than Italian,wearing billed caps that obscured their faces.Amongst them would be new body- guards making sure he came to no harm before he met with Don Croce Malo,Capo di Capi of the
"Friends of the Friends,"as they were called here in Sicily.Newspapers and the outside world called them the Ma oa,but in Sicily the word Ma oa never passed the lips of the ordinary citizen.As they would never call
Don Croce Malo the Capo di Capi but only "The Good Soul."

In his two years of exile in Sicily,Michael had heard many tales about Don
Croce,some so fantastic that he al- most did not believe in the existence of such a man.But the instructions relayed from his father were explicit: he was ordered to have lunch with Don Croce this very day.And the two of them were to arrange for the escape from Sicily of the country 's greatest bandit, Salvatore Guiliano. Michael Corleone could not leave Sicily without Guiliano.

Down at the end of the pier,no more than fifty yards away,a huge dark car was parked in the narrow street. Standing before it were three men,dark rectangles cut out of the glaring sheet of light that fell like a wall of gold from the sun.Michael walked toward them.He paused for a moment to light a cigarette and survey the city.

Palermo rested in the bottom of a bowl created by an extinct volcano,overwhelmed by mountains on three sides, and escaping into the dazzling blue of the Mediterranean Sea on the fourth side.The city shimmered in the golden rays of the Sicilian noon-time sun.Veins of red light struck the earth,as if re oecting the blood shed on the soil of
Sicily for countless centuries.The gold rays bathed stately marble columns of Greek temples,spidery Moslem turrets,the oercely intricate facades of Spanish cathedrals;on a far hill- side frowned the battlements of an ancient Norman castle. All left by diverse and cruel armies that had ruled Sicily since before Christ was born.Beyond the castle walls,cone- shaped mountains held the slightly effeminate city of
Palermo in a strangler 's embrace,as if both were sinking gracefully to their knees,a cord pulling tightly around the city 's neck.Far above,countless tiny red hawks darted across the brilliant blue sky.

Michael walked toward the three men waiting for him at the end of the pier.Features and bodies formed out of their black rectangles.With each step he could see them more clearly and they seemed to loosen,to spread away from each other as if to envelop him in their greeting.

All three of these men knew Michael 's history.That he was the youngest son of the great Don Corleone in America, the Godfather,whose power extended even into Sicily.That he had murdered a high police of ocial of New York City while executing an enemy of the Corleone Empire.That he had been in hiding and exile here in Sicily because of those murders and that now onally,matters having been "arranged,"he was on his way back to his homeland to re- sume his place as crown prince to the Corleone Family.
They studied Michael,the way he moved so quickly and ef- fortlessly,his watchful wariness,the caved-in side of his face which gave him the look of a man who had endured suffering and danger.He was obviously a man of
"respect."

As Michael stepped off the pier the orst man to greet him was a priest,body plump in cassock,his head crowned by a greasy batlike hat.The white clerical collar was sprinkled with red Sicilian dust,the face above was worldly with oesh.

This was Father Benjamino Malo,brother to the great Don Croce.He had a shy and pious manner,but he was devoted to his renowned relative and never oinched at having the devil so close to his bosom.The malicious even whis- pered that he handed over the secrets of the confessional to Don Croce.

Father Benjamino smiled nervously as he shook Michael 's hand and seemed surprised and relieved by Michael 's friendly,lopsided grin,so unlike that of a famous murderer.

The second man was not so cordial,though polite enough.This was Inspector
Frederico Velardi,head of the Security Police of all Sicily.He was the only one of the three who did not have a welcoming smile on his face.Thin and far too beautifully tailored for a man who received a gov- ernment salary,his cold blue eyes shot two genetic bullets from long-ago Norman conquerors.Inspector Velardi could have no love for an American who killed high-ranking police of ocials.He might try his luck in Sicily.Velardi 's hand- shake was like the touching of swords.

The third man was taller and bulkier;he seemed huge beside the other two.He imprisoned Michael's hand,then pulled him forward into an affectionate embrace."Cousin Michael,"he said."Welcome to Palermo."He drew back and regarded Michael with a fond but wary eye."I am Stefan
Andolini,your father and I grew up together in Corleone.I saw you in
America,when you were a child.Do you remember me?"

Oddly enough Michael did remember.For Stefan Andolini was that rarest of all Sicilians,a redhead.Which was his cross,for Sicilians believe that Judas was a redheaded man.His face too was unforgettable.The mouth was huge and irregular,the thick lips like bloody hacked meat;above were hairy nostrils,and eyes cavernous in deep sockets. Though he was smiling,it was a face that made you dream of murder.

With the priest,Michael understood the connection at once.But Inspector Velardi was a surprise.Andolini,carrying out the responsibility of a relative,carefully explained to Michael the Inspector's official capacity.Michael was wary. What was the man doing here?Velardi was reputed to be one of Salvatore Guiliano 's most implacable pursuers.And it was obvious that the Inspector and Stefan Andolini disliked each other;they behaved with the exquisite courtesy of two men readying themselves for a duel to the death.

The chauffeur had the car door open for them.Father Benjamino and Stefan Andolini ushered
Michael into the back seat with deferential pats.Father Benjamino insisted with Christian humility that Michael sit by the window while he sat in the middle,for
Michael must see the beauties of Palermo.Andolini took the other back seat.The Inspector had already jumped in beside the chauffeur.Michael noticed that Inspector Velardi held the door handle so that he could twist it open quickly.The thought passed through Michael 's mind that perhaps Father Benjamino had scurried into the middle seat to make himself less of a target.

Like a great black dragon,the car moved slowly through the streets of Palermo.
On this avenue rose graceful Moorish-looking houses,massive Greek-columned public buildings,Spanish cathedrals.Private houses painted blue, painted white,painted yellow,all had balconies festooned with oowers that formed another highway above their heads. It would have been a pretty sight except for squads of cara- binieri ,the Italian
National Police,who patrolled every corner, rifles at the ready.And more of them on the balconies above.

Their car dwarfed the other vehicles surrounding it,especially the mule-drawn peasant carts which carried in most of the fresh produce from the countryside.These carts were painted in gay,vivid colors,every inch of them down to the spokes of the wheels,the shafts that held the mules.On the sides of many carts were murals showing helmeted knights and crowned kings in dramatic scenes from the legends of Charlemagne and Roland,those ancient heroes of Sicilian folklore.But on some carts Michael saw scrawled,beneath the ogure of a handsome youth in moleskin trousers and sleeveless white shirt,guns in his belt,guns slung over his shoulder,a legend of two lines which always ended with great red letters that spelled out the name GUILIANO.

During his exile in Sicily,Michael had heard a good deal about Salvatore Guiliano.His name had always been in the newspapers.People everywhere talked about him.Michael 's bride,Apollonia,had confessed that every night she said prayers for the safety of Guiliano,as did nearly all the chil- dren and young people of
Sicily.They adored him,he was one of them,he was the man they all dreamed of becoming. Young,in his twenties,he was acclaimed a great general because he outfought the carabinieri armies sent against him.
He was handsome and he was generous,he gave most of his criminal earnings to the poor.He was virtuous and his bandits were never permitted to molest women or priests.When he executed an informer or a traitor,he always gave the victim time to say his prayers and cleanse his soul in order to be on the best of terms with the rulers of the next world.All this Michael knew without being briefed.

They turned off the avenue and a huge black-lettered poster on a house wall caught Michael
's eye.He just had time to see the word GUILIANO on the top line.Father
Benjamino had been leaning toward the window and said,"It is one of
Guiliano 's proclamations.Despite everything he still controls Palermo at night."

"And what does it say?"Michael asked.

"He permits the people of Palermo to ride the streetcars again,"Father Benjamino said.

"He permits?"Michael asked with a smile."An outlaw permits?"

On the other side of the car Stefan Andolini laughed. "The carabinieri ride the trams so Guiliano blows them up. But orst he warned the public not to use them.Now he is promising not to blow them up anymore."

Michael said dryly,"And why did Guiliano blow up trams full of police?"

Inspector Velardi turned his head,blue eyes glaring at Michael."Because Rome in its stupidity arrested his father and mother for consorting with a known criminal,their own son.A Fascist law never repealed by the republic."

Father Benjamino said with quiet pride."My brother, Don Croce,arranged for their release.Oh,my brother was very angry with Rome."

Christ,Michael thought.Don Croce was angry with Rome?Who the hell was this Don Croce besides being pezzonovante in the Mafia?

The car stopped in front of a block-long,rose-colored building.Blue minarets crowned each separate corner.Be- fore the entrance an extraordinary,wide green-striped canopy lettered HOTEL UMBERTO was guarded by two door- men stuffed into dazzling gold-buttoned uniforms.But Michael was not distracted by this splendor.

His practiced eye photographed the street in front of the hotel.He spotted at least ten bodyguards walking in couples, leaning against the iron railings.These men were not disguising their function.Unbuttoned jackets revealed weapons strapped to their bodies.Two of them smoking thin cigars blocked Michael 's path for a moment when he came out of the car,scrutinizing him closely --measuring him for a grave.They ignored Inspector Velardi and the others.

As the group entered the hotel,the guards sealed off the entrance behind them.In the lobby four more guards mate- rialized and escorted them down a long corridor.These men had the proud looks of palace servants to an emperor.

The end of the corridor was barred by two massive oaken doors.A man seated in a high,thronelike chair stood up and unlocked the doors with a bronze key.He bowed,giving Fa- ther Benjamino a conspiratorial smile as he did so.

The doors opened into a magni ocent suite of rooms;open French windows revealed a luxuriously deep garden be- yond,which blew in the smell of lemon trees.As they en- tered Michael could see two men posted on the inside of the suite.Michael wondered why Don Croce was so heavily guarded.He was Guiliano 's friend,he was the con odant of the Minister of Justice in Rome and therefore safe from the carabinieri who olled the town of Palermo.Then who,and what,did the great Don fear?Who was his enemy?

The furniture in the living room of the suite had been originally designed for an Italian palace --gargantuan arm- chairs,sofas as long and deep as small ships,massive marble tables that looked as if they had been stolen from museums.They suitably framed the man who now came in from the garden to greet them.

His arms were held out to embrace Michael Corleone. Standing,Don Croce was almost as wide as he was tall. Thick gray hair,crinkly as a Negro 's,carefully barbered, crowned a head massively leonine.His eyes were lizardly dark,two raisins embedded on top of heavily oeshed cheeks.These cheeks were two great slabs of mahogany,the left side planed smooth,the other creased with overgrown oesh.The mouth was surprisingly delicate,and above it was a thin mustache.The thick imperial spike of a nose nailed his face together.

But beneath that emperor 's head he was all peasant.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 35 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 35 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2002

    Very well written novel...

    I am a great fan of all three Godfathers, and Mario Puzo's works. This novel, The Sicilian I believe matches the plot line of any of the Godfathers, if it does not exceed those plot lines. Written very craftily, and keeps a story line that keeps you reading with several different twists. He also uses a great deal of imagery in this novel, which he does a very good job at. Thank You, Mario Puzo for creating such a masterpiece...

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2012

    Excellent book!

    This book pulls you in with the first chapter with a thirst to know more about its main character Turi Guliano. If you make it through the first chapter (which you will), you will find yourself with this book in your hand with every free moment you have. The Godfather was an amazing book & The Sicilian is not far behind. So crack open a cold one or pour a glass of wine & enter the town of Montelpre. Great read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2006

    The Sicilian

    The in between story of Michael Corleone's exile in Sicily before the 1st and 2nd Godfathers. In this novel, Michael must bring back a famous freedom fighter or 'bandit' to America for his father. It is not that easy however. The freedom fighter Salvatore Guiliano is trapped in bloody fued to settle his vendettas with the mafia and the carabinieri (Italian National Police), and Michael Corleone is caught between it. This book I found was eventful and kept my attention till the very end. Puzo is brilliant in this novel, his characters seem so real and ruthless. I would recommend this book to anyone who is into the organized crime stories as well as stories of omerta. Or to any Sicilian who just wants to learn a little more about their culture. This book is drowned in Sicilian culture ins and outs. This book was excellent, and Puzo never seizes to amaze.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2005

    The best Puzo book out there

    I honestly enjoyed this book more than any other Puzo mafia book (and I've read them all). Something about the Sicilian setting and Puzo's storytelling made me visualize the setting and the characters more vividly than most other books. It also sets itself apart in that Puzo takes Michael Corleone back to Sicily to the roots of the mafioso, which I don't think many books in this genre do.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2004

    awesome

    You get caught up in the story and you just can't put it down. Awesome

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2003

    The dark side of the mafia

    It's a great book, great story and excellent way to tell it (specially when Puzo describes Sicia and how Giuliano came into a legend). However, this book doesn't show the 'good' part of the mafia, like the Godfather did (in any way), unlike Puzo shows us the dark side of the mafia: intrigue, treasons, false loyalties, and a new way to view the political handling (very clear at the Godfather). The end is so impressive!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2003

    A Good Read

    This is a great book. It was exciting, captivating, and had many interesting twists and turns. The character of Turi Guiliano completely captured my heart. Mario Puzo's talent for making charcters come alive is evident in this book as is his great gift of storytelling. I highly recommend it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2003

    Mario Puzo crafts the perfect storyline in this continuation of the infamous Godfather saga

    The Sicilian by Mario Puzo is a truly epic book that the fans of Puzo¿s The Godfather should read. It takes place within the story of The Godfather when Michael Corleone is in exile in Sicily after the murder of police Captain McCluskey and Vigil Sollozzo a Mafia thug. After two years of being in Sicily and away from his family and loved ones Michael is ready to return. His father, Don Vito Corleone, has one last request for his son before returning and that is to bring with him to America a Sicilian bandit known as Salvatore ¿Turi¿ Guiliano. Without a reason as to why he is performing this favor Michael begins his search for Turi Guiliano in Sicily. The entire novel is divided into `books¿, which switch between Michael¿s pursuit of Turi and Turi¿s story. Although, Michael¿s search for Turi is the basis of the book it is not the dominating storyline. The `meat¿ of the book is Turi¿s story and his rise and fall as the ¿Sicilian Robin Hood¿. Turi belongs to a poor farming family that lives under the rule of post-Mussolini Italian National Police or carrabineri. The carribineri terrorize townspeople and work for big Mafia Dons. Turi decides to rise up against the tyrannical forces of the Mafia and the carribineri and begin his own gang that robs from the rich to give to the poor. Turi is hailed as a saint by the townspeople and he is loved by all. Turi¿s story takes place over a period of 7 years while Michael¿s takes place over a matter of days. The Sicilian is a novel that grabs your attention from the start and gets you involved in all of the numerous characters¿ lives. Mario Puzo uses the same formula for this novel as he did for The Godfather but he also incorporates new elements that work for this. I was impressed and left in awe by the end of the book. It is a fun ride that leaves you begging for more while at the same time satisfying your taste for a wonderful crime novel. I recommend this to fans of both The Godfather and action novels. The Sicilian proves that Mario Puzo is one of the greatest storytellers of our time.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2003

    awsome work

    you'll find yorself breathing the hot air of sicili,the sirocco will hit you every page you turn over,thrilling piece of art.if you liked the goodfather,please treat yourself and get this book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2002

    Another great story from the Nation's bestselling author of the Godfather and Omerta.

    Another great book that I could not put down. In fact I think it coukld be a sequel to the Godfather. Anorther winner from Mario Puzo. I loved Omerta and this one was as good. Puzo was a great writer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2014

    it was a good book  

    it was a good book  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2003

    Not the best of Puzo...

    This is definitely not the best book by Puzo, as most people who have read The Sicilian say. It continues in the vein of The Last Don, with 80% of the book in flashbacks. A bit disappointing after The Godfather and The Fortunate Pligrim!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2001

    Excellent book

    I will alway's be a fan of Mario Puzo's work. This book is a must read. I put this one next too THE GODFATHER as his finest work. Also a very surprising ending.

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    Posted May 15, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2010

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    Posted October 5, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2012

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