Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Prince by Vito Bruschini

"The night of the damned" was how the inhabitants of the Salemi valley would recall that night in late July when the massacre at Borgo guarine took place. There was no moon to illuminate the vast fields of the large Sicilian landed estrate, but the pitch-black sky was studded with billions of points of light." Opening Sentences

Synopsis:  A web of love, betrayal, and murder is at the heart of this riveting story of the Mafia’s beginnings.

In this remarkable novel based on a true story, author Vito Bruschini brilliantly evokes the charismatic figure of Prince Ferdinando Licata, a wealthy Sicilian landowner who uses his personal power and charm to placate Sicilian peasants and fight off Mussolini’s fascists. As tensions rise in Italy during the 1930s, with increasingly violent consequences, Licata attracts many friends and far more enemies. Eventually implicated in a grisly murder, the prince flees to America, where he ends up navigating a turf war between Irish and Italian gangs of the Lower East Side.

Violence explodes in unexpected ways as Licata gains dominance over New York, with the help of a loyal townsman with blood ties to the prince who is forced to abandon his fiancée in Sicily. The two men return to their native land at the height of World War II in an outrageously bold maneuver engineered by Licata and mobster Lucky Luciano. Both the prince and his kinsman assist US naval intelligence during the invasion of Sicily and, once they are back on their native soil, they proceed to settle unfinished business with their enemies and unravel old secrets in a stunning and sinister finale.

Through a spellbinding story and unforgettable characters, Bruschini depicts in visceral detail the dark intertwining roots of loyalty and betrayal, poverty and privilege, secrets and revelations that contributed to the rise of the Mafia in Sicily.

Review by Mirella Patzer

The Prince is a novel based upon true events depicting the rise of the Mafia in Sicily and then America. The story opens with a massacre in the Sicilian valley of Salemi. There is a colorful cast of characters, each with their own ambitions, agendas, and problems. Slowly and intricately, they link together, creating enemies and allies. The story switches back and forth betweeen some decades, which at first caused me some confusion at first, but I soon settled into the story, becoming completely and utterly engrossed. No Mafia story is without its share of violence, and this novel is no exception, but it was not in the forefront and was never gratuitous. The story has a lot of characters and plenty of twists and turns. It was engrossing and kept me reading long into the night. Easy reading, compelling characters, and a fascinating topic makes it easy to understand why this novel will end up as the basis for film very soon! Loved it!

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