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The Last Don
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About the Author

The son of Italian immigrants who moved to the Hell's Kitchen area of New York City, Mario Puzo was born on October 15, 1920. After World War II, during which he served as a U.S. Army corporal, he attended City College of New York on the G.I. Bill and worked as a freelance writer. During this period he wrote his first two novels, The Dark Arena and The Fortunate Pilgrim.When his books made little money despite being critically acclaimed, he vowed to write a bestseller. The Godfather was an enormous success. He collaborated with director Francis Ford Coppola on the screenplays for all three Godfather movies and won Academy Awards for both The Godfather and The Godfather, Part II. He also collaborated on the scripts for such films as Superman, Superman II, and The Cotton Club. He continued to write phenomenally successful novels, including Fools Die, The Sicilian, The Fourth K, and The Last Don. Mario Puzo died on July 2, 1999. His final novel, Omerta, was published in 2000.

Reviews

Age withers some writers. Others it ripens toward an Olympian wisdom. So it is with Puzo, who at age 76 returns after a quarter century to the terrain of his greatest success, The Godfather, to tell a second masterful tale of Mafia life. Puzo's vision is broader here, and more dispassionate. Times have changed since the day of the Corleones. America has fragmented, and Puzo's new family, the Clericuzios, the shadowy power behind the Mafia, is feeling modernity's centrifugal force. Though still based in New York, the Family has also scattered to Vegas and, as the novel progresses, to Hollywood. Puzo's protagonist is Cross De Lena, nephew of Don Domenico Clericuzio, his Bruglione in Vegas, who by investing in film may fulfill the Don's wish to legitimize the Family. But in Puzo's world, the search for power and wealth demands brutality; dream factories, whether of Vegas or Hollywood, are awash in vengeance, betrayal and blood. Puzo's take on the film world is scathing, yet there are no caricatures here; his men and women can be seduced by virtue as well as by vice and will throw away a lifetime in pursuit of love. Violence slashes through the narrative, but the real cruelty that laces the plot lies in each character's byzantine manipulations of others; the story line would delight a Medici. Nearly above the fray stand two old men, the Don and a film czar. Knowing what the world is, they neither condemn it nor bless it but acknowledge its wickedness and drink of its passion and beauty. As, in this mesmerizing tale, Puzo himself does, surveying the play of humanity in its mad glory. Major ad/promo; BOMC main selection; simultaneous Random House AudioBook; film rights sold to CBS; foreign rights sold in England, France, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Brazil and Japan. (Sept.)

Twenty-five years after the publication of The Godfather, Puzo returns to the literary landscape that launched his career and led to several wildly successful movies. Don Domenico Clericuzio has managed to outlast competing Mafia families while leading the Clericuzio clan to prominence. Pippi, the Don's nephew, along with son Cross, heads the family's Las Vegas operations, where he seeks to extend the Clericuzio tentacles into such legitimate pursuits as legalized gambling, motion pictures, and the construction industry. When Pippi is murdered, Cross seeks vengeance but finds the trail leading ever closer to home. This long abridgment‘four cassettes instead of the usual two‘does the novel justice by retaining much of Puzo's original material. Joe Montegna's reading is appropriately low-key. Recommended for most popular collections.‘Mark Annichiarico, "Library Journal"

"Puzo is in top form. . . . Head-long entertainment, bubbling over with corruption, betrayal, assassinations, Richter-scale romance, and, of course, family values."--Time

"The most entertaining read since The Godfather."--The New York Times Book Review "Skillfully crafted . . . It gives us Hollywood, Las Vegas, and the mob in one sweet dish."--Los Angeles Times Book Review "Puzo returns after a quarter century to the terrain of his greatest success, The Godfather, to tell a second masterful tale of Mafia life."--Variety "A compelling tale peopled by memorable characters . . . Puzo is a master storyteller with an uncanny facility for details that force the reader to keep the pages turning."--USA Today

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