Omertá: A Novel
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THE FINAL CHAPTER IN MARIO PUZO'S LANDMARK MAFIA TRILOGY
Mario Puzo spent the last three years of his life writing Omerta, the concluding installment in his saga about power and morality in America. In The Godfather, he introduced us to the Corleones. In The Last Don, he told the wicked tale of the Clericuzios. In Omerta, Puzo chronicles the affairs of the Apriles, a family on the brink of legitimacy in a world of criminals.
Don Raymonde Aprile is an old man wily enough to retire gracefully from organized crime after a lifetime of ruthless conquest. Having kept his three children at a distance, he's ensured that they are now respectable members of the establishment: Valerius is an army colonel who teaches at West Point, Marcantonio is an influential TV network executive, and Nicole is a corporate litigator with a weakness for pro bono cases to fight the death penalty. To protect them from harm, and to maintain his entrée into the legitimate world of international banking, Don Aprile has adopted a "nephew" from Sicily, Astorre Viola, whose legal guardian made the unfortunate decision to commit suicide in the trunk of a car. Astorre is an unlikely enforcer—a macaroni importer with a fondness for riding stallions and recording Italian ballads with his band.
Though Don Aprile's retirement is seen as a business opportunity by his last Mafia rival, Timmona Portella, it is viewed with suspicion by Kurt Cilke, the FBI's special agent in charge of investigating organized crime. Cilke has achieved remarkable success in breaking down the bonds between families, cultivating high-ranking sources who in return for federal protection have violated omerta—Sicilian for "code of silence," the vow among men of honor that, until recently, kept them from betraying their secrets to the authorities.
As Cilke and the FBI mount their campaign to wipe out the Mafia once and for all, Astorre Viola and the Apriles find themselves in the midst of one last war, a conflict in which it is hard to distinguish who, if anyone, is on the right side of the law, and whether mercy or vengeance is the best course of action.
Rich with suspense, dark humor, and the larger-than-life characters who have turned Mario Puzo's novels into modern myths, Omerta is a powerful epitaph for the Mafia at the turn of a new century, and a final triumph for a great American storyteller.
regulation. He added half-jokingly that he was the shield between people like her and those who would devour her for their own agenda. The courtship was short. They married quickly, really so that their common sense would not interfere with their love, for they both recognized they were opposites in almost every way. He shared none of her beliefs; when it came to the world he lived in, she was an innocent. She definitely shared none of his reverence for the Bureau. But she listened to his
decline. And so he had prudently retired to play the stock market, where he was pleasantly surprised that he could steal as much money with no risk of legal punishment whatsoever. The Don had given Craxxi’s name to Astorre as one of the men he must consult, if necessary. Craxxi, at seventy, lived with two bodyguards, a chauffeur, and a young Italian woman who served as cook and house-keeper and was rumored to be his sexual companion. He was in perfect health, for he had lived a life of
in detective novels. What the hell did they know? When he opened the bedroom door he could smell the blood instantly and his whole brain fell into a chaotic jumble; all the hidden fears of his life came rushing in on him. The two German shepherds lay on his bed. Their brown and white fur was mottled red, their legs tied together, their muzzles wrapped in gauze. Their hearts had been cut out and rested on their bellies. With great effort, his mind came together. Instinctively, he called his
Aspinella grimaced, and Di Benedetto said smilingly, “My office. We’ll lock the door.” They both laughed. “Check the trunk just one more time. Make sure it’s locked tight.” Aspinella didn’t argue. She got out, opened the trunk, and pulled out the duffel bag. At that moment Paul turned on the ignition. The explosion sent a shower of glass over the mall. It was raining glass. The car itself seemed to float in the air and came down in a hail of metal that destroyed Paul Di Benedetto’s body.
Nicole’s firm face broke up into creases of sorrow. “Not you, Astorre, not you too.” “So now you know,” Astorre said. “I’m not the man to sell the banks after they killed your father and my uncle. But I need the tape and the document to make the deal go through and get Marc back without bloodshed.” “Just sell them the banks,” Nicole whispered to him. “We’ll be rich. What does it matter?” “It matters to me,” Astorre said. “It mattered to the Don.” Silently Nicole reached into the safe and took