The story begins with Don Roberto Luciano agreeing to break the mafia code of silence and testify against Paul Carolla, from another mafia family. He does this because he knows that Carolla organised the murder of Luciano’s oldest son, Michael.
The book then takes us back in time to the building of the Luciano empire, a relatively clean (ie no drugs) mafia family business. This part of the book is very much a family saga, showing how the Luciano women became part of the family.
Graziella is from a family with no mafia connections, but falls in love with and marries Roberto, very much against her family’s wishes. They have four sons, Michael, Constantino, Alfredo and Frederico. Sophia has a long and complicated association with the Luciano family (I won’t spoil the story by elaborating). Teresa has brains but not much beauty and marries into the family to establish a family connection to her own family. Moyra is a dumb blonde casino worker who tricks Frederico into marrying her. And, Rosa is Teresa’s daughter.
Back to the present, the night before Rosa’s wedding, and shortly before Carolla’s trial, all male members of the Luciano family are murdered, including Sofia’s young sons. The other mafia families immediately move in to take possession of the Luciano property and money. The women have been protected from the truth and don’t know as much about the family as they thought they did. But, they fight to regain the family wealth and to take revenge on those who are responsible for the death of their men. And, in the process, they find out what their family was really all about.
Eventually one of the women proves strong enough to become the new leader of the Luciano family and take control of all aspects of being the head of a mafia family.
I enjoyed both the family saga, first part of the book (I found myself really getting to know the characters – or I thought I did) and the thriller last part of the book. Some of the outcomes were certainly not what I was expecting.
This book is very different from Lynda La Plante’s series books but is a great read and worth reading slowly and savouring.
Book Published 1990