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Book Review: The Last Don by Mario Puzo

‘The Last Don’ is a piece of extraordinary caliber, and Puzo is at his best. The Last Don is a masterful tale narrating how mafia life is linked to the needs of Hollywood in America. The novel marvelously shuttles between the aging Don Clericuzio’s family that holds a deep-buried secret, Las Vegas Strip Casinos, Hollywood, and some throwbacks from Sicily.

The novel takes its readers to New York, Las Vegas, Hollywood, and Sicily of Italy through a web of interesting characters. The last line of the novel highlights the cruel reality of the world in one simple go – “Oh, what a wicked world it is that drives a man to sins.”

Dante – the Don’s grandson is the point of ‘jocular moods’ throughout the novel, though he is equally danger and an able antagonist in the book. His traits lead superb climaxes in the book. He is one of the best characters in the book and simply hilarious. The book has also showed the pathetic condition of writers who are involved into making the great movies of Hollywood. But, unfortunately they get screwed by producers, rarely getting their legal shares. One such an interesting character, in the face of writer, is Vail, who commits suicide to seek avenge from a greedy film studio.

Cross, son of Pipi De Lena, is a protagonist of the novel, much opposite to Dante. Once Pipi in his youth days wiped out the Santadio family, an arch rival of Clericuzio family. Throughout the novel Clericuzio family and the Don tries to legit their family business as the Don is too old and prefers safeguarding his family from the odds of the society before his death. So, the novel has focused more on his retirement plans and his benign thinking.

The Don apparently chooses Dante as his heir for the Clericuzio family. But Dante has the ferocity of mixed bloods: Santadio and Clericuzio. His mother was from Clericuzio blood and his father was from Santadio blood. By killing Pipi De Lena, he avenged the murder of his father. Later, in more pursuits of greed and power, he plans to kill Cross, son of Pipi De Lena, for that he takes company of Jim Losey, a police cop.

Cross is a veteran player, however. He has learned great tactics from his master- father Pipi. Cross with the help of his some close men, hidden from the Don, kills both Dante and Jim Losey. Later in a confession, the Don relieves him from all duties and sets him free. Then, he plans to live a peaceful life with the Hollywood actress Athena, since they both were in love for some time.        


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