A Sicilian family struggles to survive the harsh injustices of nature, the Mafia and World War II.
When idealistic Antonino Daluci is murdered, it dooms his family members to live their lives at the mercy of forces beyond their control. Turi and Luciano, Antonino’s young sons, grow up under the mistaken belief that their father was a traitor to Sicily, though his true objective was to challenge Mafia rule and unite the peasants for the common good. The elder, Turi, embittered and disillusioned, often feuds with intelligent and optimistic Luciano. Neither, however, is prepared for the tangled world of the Mafia, where truth is what those in power declare it to be. As the brothers grow up and drift apart, they experience the duality that is Sicily, ultimately forced into fighting in World War II for a fascist regime neither supports. Turi, whose love for a pious woman has changed him profoundly, fights to return home to her and the son he has never met. Luciano fights simply to return home to the land he loves, where he has grand visions of achieving the same goals as his father. After returning to Sicily, Turi is betrayed and dies mere miles from his wife, without having the chance to meet his son. Luciano comes home to find Sicily a significantly changed place, an island in the midst of political and social upheaval. Dedicating his life to protecting his nephew, he soon finds that despite his best efforts, trouble and hardship are destined to tear his family–and Sicily–apart. Salamone’s sweeping, generation-spanning story is epic; heroes and villains, martyrs and persecutors, lovers and rivals–all are one and the same. The Sicilians could benefit from tighter pacing in spots, but that’s a minor quibble in light of the novel’s poignant grandeur.
A spellbinding, well-written tale of power, passion, love and betrayal.