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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 fiancee 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.