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Excellent prequel to The Godfather
The Family Corleone by Ed Falco (William Heinemann, £18.99)
This new novel is based on a screenplay by the late Mario Puzo and is subbed ‘the prequel to The Godfather’.
It is set in New York in 1933 when the city and the rest of the nation is in the grip of the depression. But at times of difficulty come times of opportunity and the crime families of New York are jostling for position, preparing for the end of Prohibition, and manoevering to become the most powerful group in the future.
Vito Corleone is in his forties and in his prime. But he is desperate that his children grow up and enter legitimate buisness or political fields.
Much of this well-written book focuses on Vito’s eldest son, Sonny, a hothead who, at the age of 17, wants to follow in his father’s fotosteps and who has already got involved in criminal activities.
There is a large cast of characetrs and it can be confusing, at times, to work out who is who. As with most of Puzo’s books, there is a clever mixture of family loyalty, respect among villains and scenes of enormous violence.
The scenes in the first half of at the book involving an intriguing character, Luca Brasi, head of a growing criminal gang, are particularly shocking and it sems only the quiet and restrained Vito Corleone can gain any control over this adversary.
Ed Falco has picked up the reins well here. Those who admired Mario Puzo’s books will find much to enjoy.