The Silican by Mario Puzo
In this novel, the spelling of Salvatore Giuliano’s name was intentionally changed by Puzo to “Guiliano”. This novel, though a work of fiction, is based on the real life exploits of Giuliano.
The bulk of the novel focuses on the life of Salvatore Guiliano and how he rose to his legendary status as a bandit and hero to the Sicilian people. He was born in the village of Montelepre, west of Palermo. His godfather, Hector Adonis, a small man tormented his entire life for his small stature, was a professor of history and literature at the University of Palermo. He is a very close personal friend of the Guiliano family, a mentor for Turi, and a man who caters to the Friends of the Friends (the word Mafia is rarely spoken in Sicily)
These are the principal characters that drive the plot of the story, many of whom are based on real-life figures.
- Salvatore Guiliano – A legendary bandit. Conceived in America and born in the small Sicilian village of Montelepre, Salvatore Guiliano is a tall and handsome young man living a relatively normal life for the first twenty years of his life, loved dearly by his friends and family and the inhabitants of his tiny village, who know him affectionately as their “Turi”. A day after the end of the local annual festival, however, while smuggling food and drink to prepare for the wedding of his sister, Guiliano and his childhood friend, Aspanu Pisciotta, are accosted by the corrupt Italian police, the carabinieri, and after being shot by a sergeant, Guiliano kills the sergeant with a single shot from his pistol. Helped by Pisciotta, theseverely injured Guiliano is taken to the nearby monastery, where the primary priest,
- Gaspare “Aspanu” Pisciotta – The childhood friend and cousin of Salvatore Guiliano. A sly, thin and handsome young man, suffering from tuberculosis, Aspanu Pisciotta was the closest and most trusted friend of Turi Guiliano, who trusted him with his life. As Guiliano’s fame and reputation increases, Pisciotta gradually feels less and less significant and after much of his advice is ignored by Guiliano, Pisciotta is approached by Don Croce, who convinces him to betray his childhood friend Turi Guiliano.
- Michael Corleone – The son of the famed Don Vito Corleone and heir to the Corleone family. Spending a four-year exile in Sicily, Michael is eager to return home to his family in New York, but is told by his father, Vito, to escort Turi Guiliano safely back to America with him. As he learns more about the reputation and exploits of the legendary Guiliano, Michael becomes extremely intrigued to meet him.
- Don Croce Malo – The extremely powerful Capo dei Capi who wields power not only in the entire island of Sicily but also in Rome and with the Italian government. A legendary negotiator, Don Croce quickly rises to the head of the Mafia and early into Turi Guiliano’s career, is eager to make Guiliano the heir to his Mafia empire, but is unable to do so, due to Guiliano’s deep hatred of the Mafia. As Guiliano’s daring exploits increase and after Guiliano assassinates six prominent Mafia leaders and severely damages his interests, Don Croce takes the decision to kill Guiliano.
- Hector Adonis – Professor of Literature in the University of Palermo and Padrino to Turi Guiliano. A diminutive man, Adonis is an elegantly dressed and extremely intelligent academic, who commands influence amongst the Mafia. He loved and cared for his godson Guiliano, whom he taught literature in his childhood and for whom he often brought many books to read while visiting him #source: wikipedia
Originally published: November 1984
Author: Mario Puzo
Preceded by: The Last Don
Followed by: The Godfather Returns
Publisher: Random House
Genres: Thriller, Crime Fiction