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The Godfather (book series)

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The Godfather book series is a series of crime novels about Italian-American Mafia families, most notably the fictional Corleone family, led by Don Vito Corleone and later his son Michael Corleone. The first novel, The Godfather, written by Mario Puzo, was released in 1969. It was adapted into three feature films, which became one of the most acclaimed franchises in film history.

Puzo also wrote the second novel, The Sicilian, which was released in 1984, and was made into a film in 1987. Mark Winegardner wrote the next two novels, The Godfather Returns and The Godfather's Revenge, released in 2004 and 2006 respectively. Edward Falco wrote the fifth novel, based on a draft script by Mario Puzo, titled The Family Corleone, which also served as a prequel to Puzo's first novel. It was released in 2012.

Novel series

Series no. Title ISBN Date of publication Summary
1 The Godfather 0-399-10342-2 10 March 1969 The Corleone family fights a mob war with the other four Mafia families in New York in the years after World War II. After Don Vito Corleone is shot by men working for drug dealer Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo, Corleone's two sons, Sonny and Michael, must run the family business with the help of consigliere Tom Hagen and the two caporegimes Peter Clemenza and Salvatore Tessio. When Michael murders Sollozzo and Captain McCluskey, a police officer on the drug lord's payroll, the conflict escalates into a full-scale war which results in Sonny's murder and Michael's ascension to the head of the family. Under his retired father's tutelage, Michael orchestrates a plan to relocate the Corleone family's power base to Las Vegas. This culminates in the murder of all of the family's enemies, including his brother-in-law Carlo Rizzi, who played a part in Sonny's murder. Michael then sells the family's businesses in New York and moves the family to Las Vegas.
2 The Sicilian 0-671-43564-7 November 1984 Michael Corleone, about to return from exile in Sicily after the killings of Sollozzo and McCluskey, is instructed by his father to help Sicilian bandit Salvatore Giuliano escape to America with him. Giuliano's rise from an ordinary Sicilian peasant to a power in Sicily rivaling even the Mafia is chronicled. However, Giuliano makes enemies in both law enforcement and organized crime circles, and his quest to free Sicily from oppression is ultimately unsuccessful.
3 The Godfather Returns 1-4000-6101-6 16 November 2004 The story picks up immediately after the end of the first novel. The events of the film The Godfather Part II take place within the time frame of this novel, but are only mentioned in the background. Many of Puzo's characters are expanded upon, especially Fredo Corleone, Tom Hagen, and Johnny Fontane, and new characters like Nick Geraci, Mickey Shea, Danny Shea, and Francesca Corleone are introduced. The other half of the novel goes deeper into Michael's role as Don and his dream of legitimizing the Corleone family. The novel expands on Michael's service in World War II as well as his brother Fredo's secret life. The novel shows how Sonny, Fredo and Tom Hagen join the family business, as well as the deaths of Peter Clemenza and Salvatore Tessio.
4 The Godfather's Revenge 0-399-15384-5 7 November 2006 Michael Corleone is coping poorly after ordering the murder of his brother Fredo and giving custody of his children to his former wife Kay Adams. Michael and Tom Hagen try to thwart the revenge plans of former Corleone family caporegime Nick Geraci. Their plans are thrown into disarray when Hagen is framed for the murder of his mistress. Meanwhile, organized crime fights against increased law enforcement efforts led by Attorney General Danny Shea (historically analogous to Robert Kennedy) and his brother, President Jimmy Shea (analogous to John F. Kennedy).
5 The Family Corleone 0-446-57462-7 8 May 2012 A prequel set during the Great Depression, near the end of Prohibition, it tells how Vito Corleone consolidated his power to become the most powerful Don in New York City. Also, it tells of Sonny Corleone's inauguration into the family business. The novel also reveals how Luca Brasi became associated with the Corleones, and introduces a number of new characters, including rival crime boss Giuseppe Mariposa.


  1. The Family Corleone (2012) - set from 1933 to 1934
  2. The Godfather (1969) - set from 1945 to 1955
  3. The Sicilian (1984) - set in 1950
  4. The Godfather Returns (2004) - set from 1955 to 1962
  5. The Godfather's Revenge (2006) - set from 1963 to 1964


By the time of its release, the first novel remained on The New York Times Best Seller list for 67 weeks and sold over nine million copies in two years since the release.[1]

The series has sold 120 million copies.

Film adaptations

The Godfather

The Godfather, based on Puzo's first book, is one of the most acclaimed franchise in film history. The Godfather, released in 1972, is an adaptation of the Puzo novel of the same name. The Godfather Part II also adapts elements from the first novel, mostly the early life of Vito Corleone. The story of The Godfather Part III, released in 1990, is not taken from any novel. The Winegardner novels, released after Part III, incorporate and explain elements from Part II and Part III, as does The Family Corleone.

The Sicilian

The 1987 film, The Sicilian, based on Puzo's second book, also released, with Christopher Lambert as the main character, Salvatore Giuliano.[2] Due to copyright issues, all Godfather references were removed and the characters of Michael Corleone and Peter Clemenza were not included in the film.

Legal issues

By the time of the release of the fourth novel, The Godfather’s Revenge, Paramount Pictures sued the Puzo estate for the publication of the novel, and also sought to block publication of The Family Corleone, claiming that it had only authorized publication of one sequel, The Godfather Returns. The lawsuit claimed that the novel tarnished the legacy of the films and misled readers into believing that the novels were authorized by Paramount.

With the release of the fifth novel, The Family Corleone, the estate of Puzo had sought to keep Paramount Pictures from producing a feature film based on the novel.[3] This has been resolved, with Paramount gaining the rights to make more Godfather films (as of early 2019, no plans had been announced).[4]

See also


  1. ^ ""The Godfather" Turns 40". CBS News. CBS Interactive Inc. March 15, 2012. Archived from the original on July 17, 2014. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  2. ^ Staff, Variety; Staff, Variety (1987-01-01). "The Sicilian". Variety. Retrieved 2019-03-15.
  3. ^ Schulder, Michael (4 September 2012). "CNN Profiles: Ed Falco's prequel to 'The Godfather'". CNN Radio. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  4. ^ Patten, Dominic (21 December 2012). "Paramount & Puzo Estate Settle 'Godfather' Suit".

External links