“The Family” by Mario Puzo, completed by Carol Gino (Regan Books, 2001)

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From the mind that created the renowned Godfather series, Mario Puzo posthumously brings us The Family, where the mafia world all began.  A novel that was over a decade in the making, completed by one of Puzo’s close friends, it serves as a sad finale for this well-known author.

In The Family we are taken back to fifteenth-century Rome, the land of the Vatican and the immensely powerful popes.  Our lead character, Rodrigo Borgia, is made Pope Alexander VI, whom Puzo calls the first Don and the beginner of the mafia world.  Borgia is the one who will change and improve Rome and the Vatican, rid it of corruption and death, and bring it back to its former glory.

Sadly, the novel is little more than a collection of boring scenes taking us through Alexander VI’s reign, like a deck of cards, one falling on top of the other, with little change in interest.  What is lacking is a life in this writing, with little suspense or emotion for that matter; perhaps this is merely indicative of Puzo’s former state, near the novel’s completion.

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Originally published on February 4th 2002.

Originally published in the Long Beach Union.