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The Godfather Returns
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THE MISSING YEARS FROM THE GREATEST CRIME SAGA OF ALL TIME
Thirty-five years ago, Mario Puzo's great American tale, "The Godfather, was published, and popular culture was indelibly changed. Now, in "The Godfather Returns, acclaimed novelist Mark Winegardner continues the story-the years not covered in Puzo's bestselling book or in Francis Ford Coppola's classic films.
It is 1955. Michael Corleone has won a bloody victory in the war among New York's crime families. Now he wants to consolidate his power, save his marriage, and take his family into legitimate businesses. To do so, he must confront his most dangerous adversary yet, Nick Geraci, a former boxer who worked his way through law school as a Corleone street enforcer, and who is every bit as deadly and cunning as Michael. Their personal cold war will run from 1955 to 1962, exerting immense influence on the lives of America's most powerful criminals and their loved ones, including
Tom Hagen, the Corleone Family's lawyer and consigliere, who embarks on a political career in Nevada while trying to protect his brother;
Francesca Corleone, daughter of Michael's late brother Sonny, who is suddenly learning her family's true history and faces a difficult choice;
Don Louie Russo, head of the Chicago mob, who plays dumb but has wily ambitions for muscling in on the Corleones' territory;
Peter Clemenza, the stalwart Corleone underboss, who knows more Family secrets than almost anyone;
Ambassador M. Corbett Shea, a former Prohibition-era bootlegger and business ally of the Corleones', who wants to get his son elected to the presidency-and needs some help from his old friends;
Johnny Fontane, the world'sgreatest saloon singer, who ascends to new heights as a recording artist, cozying up to Washington's power elite and maintaining a precarious relationship with notorious underworld figures;
Kay Adams Corleone, who finally discovers the truth about her husband, Michael-and must decide what it means for their marriage and their children and
Fredo Corleone, whose death has never been fully explained until now, and whose betrayal of the Family was part of a larger and more sinister chain of events.
Sweeping from New York and Washington to Las Vegas and Cuba, "The Godfather Returns is the spellbinding story of America's criminal underworld at mid-century and its intersection with the political, legal, and entertainment empires. Mark Winegardner brings an original voice and vision to Mario Puzo's mythic characters while creating several equally unforgettable characters of his own. "The Godfather Returns stands on its own as a triumph-in a tale about what we love, yearn for, and sometimes have reason to fear . . . family.

"From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

About the Author

MARK WINEGARDNER received a master of fine arts degree in fiction writing from George Mason University and published his first book at age twenty-six, while still in graduate school. 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, USA Today, and the New York Public Library. His work has appeared in various publications including GQ, Playboy, Family Circle, 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. He has also served as a board member of the Associated Writing Programs. He is now a professor and director of the creative writing program at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. From the Hardcover edition.

Reviews

Even the most avid fan of Mario Puzo's seminal gangland saga and Francis Coppola's subsequent classic films may be hard-pressed to keep track of who's doing what to whom in this breathlessly paced audio. Of necessity, Winegardner's intriguing novel, designed to supply the missing years in Don Michael Corleone's rise and fall, uses shorthand to move past familiar events. This heavy abridgement intensifies the novel's choppiness, with some of its fascinating characters eliminated (such as Michael's niece Francesca) and others (underboss Pete Clemenza, singer Johnny Fontane) reduced to a bare mention. The primary focus here is on Michael, family lawyer Tom Hagen and newcomer Nick Geraci, a remarkably adaptable Corleone lieutenant who turns against the family, using Michael's hapless brother Fredo to bring him down. The always reliable character actor Grifasi (The Deer Hunter; Moonglow) has the perfect vocal authority to glide easily from tough to thoughtful. By providing Michael with an educated, coldly unemotional voice and Geraci with a rough but warm one, he smartly underscores the difference between the two foes while suggesting that the latter may be the surprise protagonist of the piece. The production closes with a discussion of the novel by the author and his (and the late Puzo's) editor, Jonathan Karp. It's a pleasant exchange, but the basically uneventful 16 minutes could have been put to better use by squeezing in more of the novel itself. Simultaneous release with the Random hardcover (Forecasts, Nov. 1). (Nov.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

No mob connections here. Winegardner gets to continue the Corleone saga because his proposal won an international competition. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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