The Godfather Returns= MAJOR SPOILERS

As I said, major spoilers, so if you intend to read the book but haven’t yet and don’t want to know what happens, don’t read this thread. If you do want to know what happens, here’s a coded synopsis, but after this I won’t use spoiler tags.

[spoiler]The book attempts to be the Don of the Gaps from the movies. The first part takes place between Godfather I & the Michael portions of GODFATHER II, actually beginning with Tessio’s execution. The events of GODFATHER II are covered in a matter of a very few (maybe 5) pages, then the remainder takes place after (the Michael portions of) GODFATHER II save for a flashback to Michael’s childhood, young adulthood and Navy years.

The key “villain” in this piece is Fausto “Nick” Geraci (pronounced juh-RAY-see, nickname “Ace”), an exceptionally capable Corleone capo who for reasons the book semi-addresses but never really makes clear, Michael (sometimes) wants dead. Geraci is connected (from his pre-Corleone days) to the Cleveland and, by extension, the Chicago mafias. (The Chicago mafia officially has hegemony over anything west of Chicago, though enforcing this is difficult.)

Michael has a plane Nick is piloting with two West Coast dons hijacked, causing a crash that kills the dons (who are enemies of the Corleone’s western expansion). Nick survives (something Michael didn’t count on) and discovers it was Michael who was responsible, though he never lets Michael know he knows. He takes revenge by helping the Chicago and Cleveland dons lure Fredo (who is, for reasons that I’m sure exist somewhere in the writer’s mind, a bisexual in this book) into treachery.

Pentangeli is never mentioned, though Clemenza’s death (which in the book really is from a natural heart attack) is covered. Much of the book is a sideplot concerning Sonny’s daughter Francesca, who grows up in Florida thinking her father was a civilian who was killed in a traffic accident. She gradually discovers that he wasn’t and she married William Van Arsdale III, a Waspy Florida citrus heir, who impregnates her. Only after years of marriage and two children (the second one stillborn) does she learn that he only married her when she became pregnant because Michael had his leg broken.

Part two of the book concentrates on the family and presidency of James Kavanaugh, the Irish Catholic son of an prohibition American bootlegger and petty crimeboss multi-millionaire who appoints his brother Attorney General and, after bungling several attempts to oust Castro, begins to crack down on organized crime in spite of using mafia connections to get elected. (Does Winegardner actually think any figure like that ever could have existed?) The book ends in 1962 with Michael, finally forgetting about going legitimate, returns to NYC to be head of his family. Geraci, whose chosen assassin failed to kill Castro (he blew away a body double instead), is ousted by Michael and by the CIA and escapes an ambush set up by the Corleones to return to Sicily, thereby setting up the sequel.)[/spoiler]

Generally I thought this book didn’t quite suck. Anybody else read it or have any opinions?

I thought it was funny that he did use the following from the movies:

Oranges before death

Thunderclap to signify falling in love

The phrase “Make him an offer he can’t refuse”

Fanucci & the Colombo family (the ones whose landlords young Vito “convinced” to not evict and to let them keep their dog)

I was irritated that it never mentioned:

Frank Pentangeli
the Rosato Brothers (other than in passing)
Hyman Roth (other than in passing)
Gardner Shaw (who married Francesca in the second movie)
Connie (exactly what made her return to the family bosom?)
I thought that having Anthony witness the execution of Fredo was a good move that actually explains why Michael doesn’t seek custody and the breech. There’s also the implication that he’s going to be gay.

Are any more like this planned? While not terrible exactly, it could have been soooooooooooooo much better and more like the movie.

Uh, would somebody ask a Mod to fix my spoiler tag above, please?

I sent 'em an email, Sampiro.

All fixed. Of course, you did (rightly) put a warning in the title, so it’s hard to imagine people complaining if you have open spoilers in the thread.