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The Sicilian

The Sicilian
TheSicilian.jpg
First edition
AuthorMario Puzo
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe Godfather
GenreThriller, crime fiction
PublisherRandom House
Publication date
November 1984
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback), Audiobook
Pages416 p. (Hardback edition) & 410 p. (Paperback edition)
ISBN0-671-43564-7 (Hardback edition) & ISBN 0-345-44170-2 (Paperback edition)
OCLC11030814
813/.54 19
LC ClassPS3566.U9 S5 1984
Preceded byThe Godfather 
Followed byThe Godfather Returns 

The Sicilian is a novel by American author Mario Puzo. Published in 1984 by Random House Publishing Group (ISBN 0-671-43564-7), it is based on the life of Sicilian bandit Salvatore Giuliano. It is set in the same universe as Puzo's most famous work, The Godfather, and contains characters from The Godfather.[1] It is regarded as The Godfather's literary sequel and is the second book in The Godfather novel series. It was adapted into a film in 1987, though all Godfather references were removed for copyright reasons in the film adaptation.

In this novel, the spelling of Salvatore Giuliano's name was intentionally changed by Puzo to "Guiliano". This novel, though a work of fiction, is based on the real life exploits of Giuliano.

Plot

In 1950, Michael Corleone, the son of American Mafia Don Vito Corleone, is preparing to return home to America after his exile in Sicily. He meets with Don Croce Malo, the most powerful Sicilian Mafia boss. Don Croce and Michael's father have allied to help the famous bandit Salvatore "Turi" Guiliano escape Sicily and go with Michael to America. Michael learns of a set of documents Guiliano has that would cause the downfall of the current government, to be released upon Guiliano's death or capture, called the Testament. Michael also meets Guiliano's parents and Gaspare "Aspanu" Pisciotta, Guiliano's best friend and second in command.

In 1943, Turi Guiliano and Aspanu Pisciotta are stopped by the Carabinieri, the corrupt Italian police, while smuggling food, but they refuse to give up the food or the name of who they were trading with. Guiliano is shot, but he manages to kill his attacker, a police Sergeant. Turi is carried by Aspanu to a local monastery, where he recovers from his wounds and learns more about the criminal side of Sicily under the care of the Abbot Manfredi. After he recovers, he and Aspanu makes their way back to Guiliano's home in Montelepre, where he is still being sought for the murder. While discussing his future with family and friends, the local police attempt to arrest Turi. Turi and Aspanu open fire on the trucks pursuing them and kill some policemen. They flee to the mountains. Innocent citizens of Montelepre are arrested in retaliation.

Turi and Aspanu are met by Turi's godfather, Hector Adonis, who fails to dissuade them from becoming bandits. Turi and Aspanu decide to free the prisoners and break into the local police barracks where they are being held. Turi narrowly escapes death at the hands of the Corporal Canio Silvestro whose pistol fails when he pulls the trigger at Turi's head. The freed prisoners include local bandits Passatempo and Terranova, who join Turi's band. Guiliano begins to becomes famous throughout Italy after a high-profile robbery, and he becomes a hero in Sicily, as he gives away much of his band's earnings to the poor. Silvestro, disgraced after being spared by Guiliano, asks to join his band. They test his loyalty by asking him to execute Frisella, a barber who informed on Guiliano. Silvestro does so and they attach a note to his body saying "So die all who betray Guiliano".

Guiliano comes to dominate the entire northwest corner of Sicily. Guiliano orchestrates a kidnapping of a Sicilian nobleman, Prince Ollorto. Ollorto's ransom is arranged by Don Croce, who Ollorto had been paying protection money to. The kidnapping causes Guiliano to come into direct conflict with Don Croce and the Mafia for the first time. Don Croce allows Guiliano to be assassinated by the other Dons, but Guiliano manages to avoid them all. Don Croce finally sends assassin Stefan Andolini, a cousin of Don Corleone's, whose life is only spared by Guiliano due to the intervention of the Abbot Manfredi, his father. Andolini joins Guiliano's band and acts as an emissary between Guiliano and Don Croce.

In 1950 Trapani, Michael Corleone is joined by Peter Clemenza, a capo of Don Corleone's, who is helping with the escape. Michael meets Justina, Turi's pregnant wife, and Hector Adonis. She leaves for America. Adonis informs Michael that the Testament is hidden in a gift Guiliano's mother gave him and Michael sends it to his father in America.

In 1947, Don Croce is aligned with the ruling Christian Democratic party, mostly to deny power to the Socialist parties that he believes could destroy the Mafia. Don Croce, along with Italy's Minister of Justice Franco Trezza, draw up plans to mount an offensive against Guiliano, but intend give foreknowledge of the plans to Guiliano in return for his help in swinging the upcoming election for the Christian Democrats. Guiliano accepts these terms, along with a promise of a pardon, and helps the campaign using propaganda and intimidation.

A Socialist parade celebrating recent victories over the Christian Democrats takes place in the towns of Piani dei Greci and San Giuseppe Jato and converge at a plain called the Portella della Ginestra. Guiliano agreed to suppress the parade, giving his two chiefs, Passatempo and Terranova, orders to "shoot over their heads" to get the crowds to disperse. The men end up shooting too low, and massacre many people, including women and children. The massacre proves devastating for Guiliano's image in Sicily and destroys any hope of a pardon. Guiliano discovers that Passatempo had been paid off by Don Croce to shoot the paraders and Guiliano executes him. He also executes six Mafia chiefs who were defending the estate of Prince Ollorto from land claims by the local peasants.

A large force in Sicily assembles under the command of Colonel Luca to take down Guiliano. Guiliano's parents and many citizens of Montelepre are arrested for conspiring with him. In retaliation, Guiliano robs a heavily guarded truck that held the money for paying the Carabinieri. Colonel Luca then calls for the rest of the reserve force to come in. Guiliano's band is falling apart, with Silvestro escaping to England and Andolini and Terranova being killed by police. With Colonel Luca's forces closing in and Don Croce having betrayed him, Guiliano knows he must leave for America or die in Sicily.

Aspanu Pisciotta meets with Michael and tells him where to meet Guiliano. The next day, Clemenza and Michael are heading to the meeting place when they hear that Guiliano has been killed by the Carabinieri. They are arrested by Inspector Velardi, but are released soon after due to the intervention of Don Croce. Michael and Clemenza find out that, having grown increasingly paranoid and resentful of Guiliano, Pisciotta has betrayed Guiliano to Don Croce. Pisciotta had shot and killed Guiliano in a moment of panic, fearing that Guiliano knew of his betrayal. Later, imprisoned for banditry, Pisciotta is poisoned by Hector Adonis with the help of Don Croce. Adonis leaves a note Pisciotta's pocket reading, "So die all who betray Guiliano". With Guiliano dead, Don Croce and the Mafia enrich themselves more than ever at the expense of the people of Sicily.

Michael returns home to Long Island. Don Corleone tells him that they will not release Guiliano's Testament, under the deal he made with Don Croce to ensure Michael's safety. Michael, shocked, realizes that he had been unknowingly working against Guiliano, and that giving the Testament to his father had allowed Guiliano to be killed. Don Corleone teaches Michael a lesson: it is better to remain alive at whatever costs than to be a dead hero.

Characters

The principal characters that drive the plot of the story, many of whom are based on real-life figures.

  • Salvatore "Turi" Guiliano – A legendary bandit. Conceived in America and born in the small Sicilian village of Montelepre, Salvatore Guiliano is a tall and handsome young man living a relatively normal life for the first twenty years of his life, known as a gentle man and loved dearly by his friends, family and the inhabitants of his tiny village. However, while smuggling food and drink to prepare for the wedding of his sister, Guiliano and his childhood friend, Aspanu Pisciotta, are accosted by the corrupt Italian police, the Carabinieri, and after being shot by a sergeant, Guiliano kills the sergeant with a single shot from his pistol. Helped by Pisciotta, the severely injured Guiliano is taken to the nearby monastery, where the primary priest, the Abbot Manfriedi, shields him from the Caribinieri, and is soon healed back to full health by a doctor and the priests of the monastery. After leaving the monastery, Guiliano dedicates his life to being a bandit, and creates a band, living the next few years forming a legendary reputation all over Italy for his daring exploits in stealing from the rich and wealthy and in giving almost all of his earnings to the poor and underprivileged peasants of Sicily, who honor him as their hero. As his reputation and exploits increase, he is hunted both by the Italian government, who form a special taskforce to capture him, and the Mafia, headed by the capo dei capi, Don Croce Malo, whose interests and influence have been damaged by Guiliano and his band. He is betrayed and killed by his best friend Aspanu Pisciotta before he can escape to America with Michael Corleone.
    Aspanu Pisciotta (left) and Salvatore Giuliano in real life
  • Gaspare "Aspanu" Pisciotta – The childhood best friend and cousin of Salvatore Guiliano. A sly, thin and handsome young man, who suffers from tuberculosis, Aspanu Pisciotta was the closest and most trusted friend of Turi Guiliano, who trusted him with his life. As Guiliano's fame and reputation increases, Pisciotta gradually feels less and less significant and after much of his advice is ignored by Guiliano, Pisciotta is approached by Don Croce, who convinces him to betray Guiliano.
  • Michael Corleone – The American son of the famed Don Vito Corleone and heir to the Corleone family. Michael has spent four years in Sicily to avoid prosecution for his murder of a high-ranking New York City police officer. After the murders of his wife Apollonia and his brother Sonny, he is eager to return home to his family in New York. However, he is ordered by his father to escort famous bandit Turi Guiliano back to America with him. As he learns more about the reputation and exploits of the legendary Guiliano, Michael becomes intrigued by him and looks forward to their meeting, but Guiliano is killed before the meeting can take place.
  • Don Croce Malo – The extremely powerful capo dei capi who wields power not only in the entire island of Sicily but also in Rome and with the Italian government and the ruling Christian Democratic party. A legendary negotiator, Don Croce quickly rises to the head of the Mafia and early into Turi Guiliano's career, is eager to make Guiliano the heir to his Mafia empire, but is unable to do so due to Guiliano's deep hatred of the Mafia. As Guiliano's daring exploits increase and after Guiliano assassinates six prominent Mafia leaders and severely damages his interests, Don Croce decides to kill Guiliano, making a deal with Don Corleone to have the Testament kept from the public in exchange for the safety of his son Michael. After Guiliano's death, he and the Mafia are once again the undisputed rulers of Sicily, enriching themselves at the expense of the people. His character is believed to be based on real life Sicilian Mafia boss Calogero Vizzini.
  • Hector Adonis – Professor of literature and history in the University of Palermo and godfather to Turi Guiliano. A diminutive man, Adonis is an elegantly dressed and extremely intelligent academic, who commands also influence among the Mafia. He loves and cares for his godson Guiliano, whom he taught literature in his childhood and for whom he often brought many books to read while visiting him.
  • Stefan Andolini – An assassin and bandit who works for Don Croce, then for Turi Guiliano. He is a cousin of Vito Corleone (born Vito Andolini), who he works for in America for some years. He is ordered by Don Croce to join Guiliano's band and assassinate him when the opportunity strikes, but he and his men are found out. His men are killed but he is spared after the intercession of the Abbot Manfredi, who is secretly Andolini's father. He joins Guiliano's band for real and acts as an intermediary between Guiliano and Don Croce. He is killed shortly before Guiliano by Inspector Frederico Velardi.

Film adaptation

In 1987, The Sicilian was adapted into a film, directed by Michael Cimino and starring Christopher Lambert as Salvatore Guiliano.[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 adaptation.

See also

References

  1. ^ Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher (1984-11-22). "Books of the Times". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-03-30.
  2. ^ Staff, Variety; Staff, Variety (1987-01-01). "The Sicilian". Variety. Retrieved 2019-03-15.

External links