A Sprawling Tale of Mafia Origins

The origins of the Mafia have always fascinated me. Loyalty explores the complex dynamics of good versus evil in a time of societal upheaval. Set in 19th-century Sicily, during the rise of the Mafia, the novel follows four main characters whose lives intertwine in unexpected ways:

– Franco Fiorvanti, a determined lemon grower with dreams of owning his own lemon grove. To prove his loyalty to his boss, Baron Zito, Franco agrees to arrange the kidnapping of a little boy, Dante, setting off a chain of events that shape the future of the world’s first Mafia family.

– Gaetano Catalano, an idealistic lawyer and member of the Beati Paoli, a secret society fighting corruption in Palermo. Gaetano becomes obsessed with finding the kidnapped boy.

– Lucia Pancari, a new mother who becomes an outcast because of superstitions surrounding her albino daughter.

– Alfredo D’Antonio, a reclusive goatherd hiding his Jewish identity, constantly fearing discovery.

Scottoline’s historical thriller brings 19th-century Sicily to life with vivid descriptions and well-researched details. The novel explores themes of ambition, loyalty, love, and redemption as the characters navigate a world of corruption and crime.

The premise sounds appealing, but there are issues. There are far too many characters—thankfully, they are listed at the beginning of the book. Overall, the plot is sprawling, and I easily lost interest. The writing didn’t thrill me either, but I found the historical tidbits fascinating.

There are a couple of cool twists and examples of what greed and power can do. I really wanted to like this more. 3 stars.

** Thanks to the publisher for a comp of this title. The opinions are my own.

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