Omerta introduces a new Mafia family worthy of the Corleones and the Clericuzios: the family of Don Raymonde Aprile. Their story begins in Sicily in 1967, when the dying Don Vincenzo Zeno—"the last of the true Mafia chiefs"—entrusts the young Raymonde Aprile with the task of raising his soon-to-be-orphaned two-year-old son, Astorre. Following this brief prologue, the novel moves forward nearly 30 years to the world of contemporary New York. Don Raymonde is now retired and has realized one of the great dreams of the career criminal: He has become legitimate. In the grand tradition of the American robber barons, he has extricated himself from all illegal activities, helped his children establish themselves in safe, prestigious professions, and become "a gentleman banker and pillar of society." Three years after his retirement, he is shot to death on the steps of St. Patrick's Cathedral by a pair of professional hit men.
Omerta is a kind of mafia story, well told by Mario Puzo, as his another novel, The Godfather. Both novels have interesting plot, and strong characteristic, although I like Michael Corleone way better than this Don Astorre. The story is started when Don Zeno, a great mafioso, is dying, and worrying about his only son's future. He decided to ask one of his three musketeers to look after his son, and raise him as good mafioso.
Don Aprille, one who was chosen, took Astorre to America, introduced him as long cousin. Astorre is great singer, he loves riding horses, and Aprille gave him a macaroni factory to be taken care of. Astorre live wealthy, together with Aprille children, until he grows up, and Aprille start to take him to Sicilia, and tell him that he should start to learn to be a Mafioso.
And, when someone try to kill Aprille, and succeed, Astorre use his resources to find the killer, no matter what it takes. He has to face federal corruption, wild police, and he doesn't know who's really fair and honest, and who's trying to kill him. And, when he's finally find who must be responsible to Aprille's murder, he must struggle with revenge, mercy, and protection to Aprille's children.
Mafia's characteristic is extraordinarily contradiction. In one side, mafia is sadistic murder, no mercy, powerful businessman, and tough negotiator. But in another side, mafias often have good heart, limitless kindness to everyone, young, old, poor, and rich. I have to say,this is really a good book, although in my opinion. Puzo never had successfully pictured a mafia's behavior development as he wrote about Michael Corleone. But by reading this book, you'll be stunned by Sicillian Law, how mafias keep their promise to each other, and how they could do a sweet revenge when someone of them get hurt. Another good job, Mr. Puzo!