Omerta

I did an easy read for Mario Puzo’s Omerta, one of his last novels, in the Mafia series.

Unlike his previous novels, Omerta is much shorter and focuses on a single event, with fewer characters and less extent into psychology.

We are presented with the life of an old Don, Raymond Aprile, who took into care a small child from his old mentor who passed away, Astorre. We see glimpses of Astorre’s childhood, how he was raised in America, but also in Sicily, and learns the ways of the Mafia, and it’s unwritten rule book, the Omerta.

Don Aprile is the owner of a dozen banks, and cleans out his business, and keeps his three children away from his life. He prepares Astorre for what he believes will happen, and actually does: his enemies try to force him to take away his banks for drugs money laundering. He pushes his children to follow successful careers, and helps Astorre to grow his own small business. All until one day, when he is assassinated in front of his children.

Astorre begins a very patient and long term plan, to protect his cousins and to avenge Aprile’s death. He tries through several connections to uncover the plot for the assassination, and discovers on the way that Portella, the strongest drug dealer Don and the FBI are also involved.

We see here the measure of a man, what a profoundly correct man, the FBI agent that is the artisan of catching all Mafia leaders, can do to achieve his goals. We are asked the question of how far the end goal excuses the ways, as we find out that FBI allowed Aprile to be murdered to get more information and to be able to have evidence against Portella.

Then we see a mastermind at work, Astorre, who uses his girlfriend to seduce his uncle’s killers and bring them to his own justice. Then we see his weakness, he won’t allow innocent to be killed for his goals, he unveils Portella’s plans and turns him against the FBI.

In the end we see one determined man, educated in the old Omerta way, that avenges his uncle, protect his beloved, and finds a way to be eventually happy, to move to old Sicily where he felt at home, and find his happiness.

Omerta is clearly written for television, sometimes moving very quickly from subject to subject, without clear depictions, it looks a bit unfinished, and more like a movie script. The story is a bit faded, Mario Puzo tries his best to recreate something similar with his masterpiece The Godfather, but, this novel is only a small reflection of his Mafia series.

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