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 storythe 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 presidencyand needs some help from his old friends;
Johnny Fontane, the world's greatest 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, Michaeland 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 triumphin a tale about what we love, yearn for, and sometimes have reason to fear . . . family.
Chicago Sun-Times Henry Kisor
Winegardner, a more skillful stylist than Puzo, richly builds upon the original
characters, especially consigliere Tom Hagen and Michael's brother Fredo.
Mark Hinson, Tallahassee Democrat
Winegardner's high-octane The Godfather Returns moves as fast as a
drive-by shooting with tommy guns. It's full of violence, sex, insider knowledge
about Fredo Corleone's double life—and more sex.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Harry Levins
Now that Frank
Sinatra is dead and Random House is beyond the reach of libel lawyers, Puzo's
Johnny Fontane can stop hinting at Sinatra and can instead become Winegardner's
Sinatra (complete with entourage of Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford
and women by the dozen). Now that J. Edgar Hoover is dead, Winegardner can
dredge up those ugly sex-life rumors and attach them to his fictional FBI chief.
Now that that the Kennedy legend has dimmed, Winegardner feels free to present
the family in the thinnest of disguises. Jack and Bobby Kennedy are presented as
the Shea family—and they use Mafia money and muscle to win the White House for
Jimmy Shea in 1960.
Fort Worth/Dallas Star-Telegram - Jeff Guinn
An earnest homage to the original
New York Times
He hits the right, Puzo-like note, as when he describes the whacking of the
Most Puzo fans would have gladly settled for more of exactly the same, and
Winegardner instead is giving them something that, in critical ways (more
character development and depth, more subtle storytelling) exceeds the original.
Essentially, The Godfather Returns didn't have to be this good—but it
Corpus Christi Caller-Times - Fernando Ortiz
I find myself more and more attracted to the strong new voice, the new faces,
and the new dangers. It's thrilling to watch Winegardner perform an impressive
balancing act—he's daring enough to take a classic novel in a new direction,
and yet nimble enough not to trample Puzo's work. Winegardner is simply adding
new roses to Puzo's bouquet, gently moving old ones aside, and what a vivid,
vibrant bouquet it is.
New York Post - Liz Smith
A mighty wow of a read. I couldn't put it down and spent two feverish days and
nights putting off everything else to finish the saga of the Corleones. The read
of the fall.
Winegardner brings enormous talent to bear on this popular story and its immense
cast of characters, deepening Puzo's work at nearly every step. A wholly
absorbing novel that's written beautifully, with great skill and passion. Godfather
fans will love this tale; Puzo himself must be raising a celestial glass and
shouting a hearty Salut!
Mario Puzo would have liked this knowing homage to his best-known book. So will
many, many readers.
Library Journal - Nancy Pearl
Acclaimed novelist Winegardner (Crooked River Burning)—whose proposal for this
sequel to Mario Puzo's 1969 classic, The Godfather, was selected after an
international search by the publisher—carries off the assignment con brio.
Taking place between 1955 and 1962, between the end of Puzo's novel and
filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola's two sequels, The Godfather Returns describes
the early years of Michael Corleone's reign....Just as in the original, the pages fly by, characters are dispatched in various
violent ways, and a rough sort of justice (like it or not) prevails.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by J.R.P the true story essence was not captured I feel that the author did not capture the true essence of the characters which was explained in such great detail in the original Godfather by Mario Puzo. I also found the story did not show the truthfulness of life in the mafia as puzo did so... Read More
Rated of 5
This book is a great successor to the Puzo books, and it gives the reader a more centered look at all the Corleone Family and FAMLIA answers much of the unanswered questions from the movies and Books. They should make a movie out of this one.
Rated of 5
by Samuel Torcasio
Mark Winegardner does justice to the original Godfather. His writing exceeds the talent of the master, Mario Puzo. Amplification of the Thomas Hagen, Johnnie Fontaine and Fredo Corleaone characters was top notch. Perhaps a movie will follow.... Read More
Rated of 5
by bob wisener
This is a must-read for all fans of Mario Puzo's "The Godfather" and/or the movie trilogy. My only complaint is that in developing other characters, the author takes the focus off Michael for long stretches. But the development of certain... Read More
Rated of 5
I think it makes a good book but i don't think it stays true to the origanil mario puzo's Godfather making michel seem too week not like his father wich was the set up to why he was the don
Mark Winegardner won an international search by publisher, Random House, to write The Godfather Returns.
However, he's no wet behind the ears first novelist - he's been writing for at
least 20 years and is known for his 'propulsive narration'. These
are the six books that he has published to date, in addition he has edited three
Elvis Presley Boulevard (1996 - Winegardner narrates his travels across
the US, and reminisces about his childhood travels)
Prophet of the Sandlots (1990 - a biography of baseball scout, Tony
The Veracruz Blues (1996 - his first novel, set in Mexico in 1946, about
Crooked River Burning (2001 - a funny, tough and elegiac
novel set in Cleveland)
That's True of Everybody (2002 - short stories set in the Midwest)
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