Corleone family back at war

The dark world of the Corleones returned today as the first copies of the Godfather sequel arrived in book shops.

The dark world of the Corleones returned today as the first copies of the Godfather sequel arrived in book shops.

The Godfather: The Lost Years, picks up from Mario Puzo’s best selling novel of 35 years ago.

With the blessing of Puzo’s son, the tale is continued by novelist Mark Winegardner.

The book opens in 1955. Michael Corleone has won a bloody victory in the war among New York’s crime families.

Now, he wants to consolidate his power, save his marriage, and take his family into legitimate businesses.

But first, he must confront his most dangerous enemy, Nick Geraci, a former boxer who worked his way through law school as a Corleone street enforcer.

The pair are embroiled in a bitter war from 1955 to 1962.

In a sub-plot, brother Fredo is revealed as a self-hating bisexual, and betrays Michael.

And in another strand the mob even moves in on Fidel Castro.

Winegardner brings new characters to the cast and draws on the originals in the novel which sweeps from New York and Washington to Las Vegas and Cuba.

Winegardner, 42, was one of many writers who “auditioned” to publisher Random House to write the novel, made famous by Francis Ford Coppola’s two cinematic masterpieces, The Godfather and Godfather II.

It is understood the novel was the brainchild of Jonathan Karp, editor in chief of Random House.

Winegardner, who read the original novel when he was just 11-years-old, reread the book and watched the movies, looking for ways to develop the storylines.

He said that as his deadline approached he took to sleeping every other night.

Puzo, who died in 1999, refused to write a follow-up to his classic but never ruled-out allowing another writer to move the story on.

The Godfather: The Lost Years by Mark Winegardner is published by William Heinemann, part of Random House.

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