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Omerta Paperback – 2 Jul 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; 2 edition (2 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099533251
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099533252
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 137,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Mario Puzo, author of eight novels, will eternally be known for one book: The Godfather. It's true that this is no mean legacy but it should be remembered that Puzo's output has included some considerable novels, notably The Sicilian and The Last Don. His new book, Omertà is unquestionably the finest of his latter-day work, a sweeping, violent epic with brilliantly precise characterisations.

Omertàis the Sicilian code of silence, the essential element by which the Mafia has maintained its power over the centuries. Puzo is interested in the way in which changing times have forced organised crime to adapt, however painful the process. The code is tested when a mob boss, Don Aprile, is brutally murdered in New York. Both Astorre, Aprile's nephew, and Cilke, the New York FBI chief, launch investigations into the killing. It soon becomes clear to both men that a grim conspiracy has spread its tentacles across rival gangs, corrupt bankers and even the courts. Much blood must be spilled before the killers are found--there are many (on both sides of the law) who will do their best to stop this happening.

Puzo's favourite theme--the interchangeability of big business and organised crime--is handled with his customary panache. However much we may disapprove of the horrifically violent Mafiosi, we remain riveted by their implacable cold-bloodedness. Astorre has all the complexity of Michael Corleone (even if we've been here before) but Cilke is a new departure for the author--a lawman who is quite as powerfully characterised as Puzo's criminal protagonists.

It goes without saying that the grisly set-pieces are handled with the usual élan:

The car sped up and stopped as the Don reached the last step. Stace jumped out of the back seat--in one quick move he rested his gun on the roof. He shot two-handed. He only shot twice. The first bullet hit the Don square in the forehead. The second bullet tore out his throat. His blood spurted all over the sidewalk, showering yellow sunlight with pink drops.
--Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Hugely effective fiction ... [Puzo] keeps his pack with readers to unfailingly deliver the goods" (Literary Review)

"Here is all the classic material of Mafia mythology ... spins a spell all its own" (The Times)

"Puzo's genius was to create a world so thick with personality and acknowledged rules of behaviour, along with its crime and violence, that reading his books becomes a seriously guilty pleasure" (New York Post)

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Moscool - on 12 Jun 2000
Format: Hardcover
I picked up Omerta while waiting for a delayed flight, not sure what to expect. The back cover is full of praise, but it's for the previous book (!).
This one tells a simple story about a Mafia heir who has been trained to look after the family and assets of a 'Don' after his death. There are interesting, if shallow, characters in abundance and the story is gripping enough to keep reading into the small hours.
The pace is fairly steady and the narrative very linear: you know who the culprits are fairly early on (so that's out of the way) and interest centres on how revenge will be exacted, rather than against whom. If it were a film script it would be described as: "good story but lousy editing". The reason for this is that Mr Puzzo may not have finished the book himself: the copyright is 2000, but he died in 1999.
Overall, this is not a great book. It does not have the epic qualities of the Godfather and certainly does not feel like part of a trilogy. Good for the beach this summer, but that's about it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ElaineG TOP 50 REVIEWER on 19 Sep 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I found this book an enjoyable way to pass the time, but it really does not hold a candle to The Godfather. It is a story of brutal relentless revenge with a very cold, uncaring main character who just doesn't seem to have the charisma and charm of a Corleone and therefore I really just did not care about one jot. The plot itself is fast moving with a lot of action but seems to lack the intrigue and drama of mafia politics, being more revenge based.

Whilst it seems unfair to compare this work to The Godfather it is impossible to read and judge it any other way as it is always going to have to stand alongside it. However, it lacks the character and that epic feel to it which makes The Godfather such a special treat to read (or watch).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "Computer, Give Me Manual !.." on 5 Oct 2011
Format: Paperback
The one thing this novel has going for it is that it is a fairly effortless read likely to keep you turning the pages, though maybe not compulsively. In other words "Omerta" would be undemanding company for a long journey, or perhaps a stay with relatives you don't much like, but otherwise there is little to recommend it.
The basic idea is intriguing enough (no spoiler alert, all this is explained very early in the novel): the adopted son of a true, old school Sicilian Don (who has retired from crime) is raised secretly in the old Mafia ways so as to be one day capable of defending the family. The twist here is that the Don's three grownup biological kids, although quite capable and successful in their respective chosen careers, are respectable upright citizens almost entirely ignorant of their dad's "business". Could've been a great story, but sadly plot and characters are shallow and unconvincing, and inter-relationships between the main players are especially weakly drawn.
If you're unfamiliar with Puzo's work, I suggest you read "The Godfather" first, perhaps followed by "The Last Don". If you've already read those then ther's no earthly need to bother with "Omerta", it's a disappointing last bow from a great storyteller.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Jun 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is not a book in the true Puzo - Godfather/Last Don - genre. The dialogue is unreal, the plots are bizarre, the characters are one-dimensional and lacking realism. There are odd moments when the real Puzo shines through but these are too infrequent for the book to be the good read one expects from this particular author. Anyone expecting a well-structured, gripping story of Mafia politics should steer clear of this one. It was a struggle to finish the book and it left me feeling sad that such a great writer should close his account with such a poor offering.
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By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Sep 2004
Format: Paperback
This novel of a current-day criminal family, the Apriles, spans the range between the old Sicilian model and the modern world of big money from high finance. Don Aprile correctly anticipates that the legitimate world will be more profitable and safer. To prepare, his children are launched into totally legitimate activities (the army, television, and law) from birth and protected from knowing about Don Aprile's activities. But as a favor to an old friend, Don Aprile has become the sponsor of a young man who he treats as a nephew and prepares to become a man of honor in the Sicilian tradition. All proceeds according to plan until three years after Don Aprile's retirement from crime when he struck down by assassins while leaving the confirmation of his grandchild.
Astorre Viola, the nephew, has promised to protect the Don's family and to keep the family's legitimate banking business from being sold. The plot that causes the Don's death is related to a rival faction wanting the banks to launder drug and other sources of illegal money.
The plot centers around Astorre's emergence as a leader of the vendetta, protector of the family, and as a man finding his purpose in life. To do so, he has to find the killers and unwind the hidden path to those who hired them. Aided by the Don's old friends to help run the bank and give him advice on the vendetta, he grows in stature and confidence. Having unraveled the mystery, he then sets the jackels at each other's throats in a fascinatingly Machiavellian way.
The characters are rich and complex. Although this is a novel about crime, Puzo inserted fascinating personal quirks in almost every character. Astorre finds himself irresistibly attracted to the Don's daughter as a teenager and is sent off to Sicily by the Don to separate them.
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