The Family

The Family

by Mario Puzo

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

“Dazzling, passionate, a masterwork that ranks with Puzo’s best.”
—Nicholas Pileggi, author of Wiseguys

“One of his most satisfying works….A thoroughly entertaining posthumous present from one of the masters of popular fiction.”
Booklist

Mario Puzo’s final masterwork. A sweeping epic saga of corruption, greed, treachery, and sin, The Family is the ultimate crowning achievement of the #1 New York Times bestselling novelist who gave the world The Godfather, arguably the greatest Mafia crime novel ever written.  In The Family, Puzo—whom the Washington Post calls, “A serious American talent”—plunges reader into the colorful tumult of the Italian Renaissance, immersing them in the roiling intrigues and deadly affairs of the remarkable family whose name has always been synonymous with power, corruption, poison, and murder: the infamous Borgias.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062089151
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/29/2011
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 302,577
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Mario Puzo was the author of the international bestseller The Godfather and cowrote the screenplays for the Academy Award-winning trio of films based on the book. Puzo's other books include The Last Don and Omerta, both New York Times bestsellers.

Date of Birth:

October 15, 1920

Date of Death:

July 2, 1999

Place of Birth:

New York City

Place of Death:

Bay Shore, Long Island

Education:

Attended New York City's New School for Social Research and Columbia University

Read an Excerpt

Excerptfrom

Chapter One

The golden rays off the summer sun warmed the cobblestone streets of Rome as Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia walked briskly from the Vatican to the three-story stucco house on the Piazza de Merlo where he'd come to claim three of his young children: his sons Cesare and Juan and his daughter Lucrezia, flesh of his flesh, blood of his blood. On this fortuitous day the vice-chancellor to the Pope, the second most powerful man in the Holy Roman Catholic Church, felt especially blessed.

At the house of their mother, Vanozza Cattanei, he found himself whistling happily. As a son of the church he was forbidden to marry, but as a man of God he felt certain that he knew the Good Lord's plan. For did not the Heavenly Father create Eve to complete Adam, even in Paradise? So did it not follow that on this treacherous earth filled with unhappiness, a man needed the comfort of a woman even more? He'd had three previous children when he was a young bishop, but these last children he had sired, those of Vanozza, held a special place in his heart. They seemed to ignite in him the same high passions that she had. And even now, while they were still so young, he envisioned them standing on his shoulders, forming a great giant, helping him to unite the Papal States and extend the Holy Roman Catholic Church far across the world.

Over the years, whenever he had come to visit, the children always called him "Papa," seeing no compromise in his devotion to them and his loyalty to the Holy See. They saw nothing strange about the fact he was a cardinal and their father too. For didn't Pope Innocent's son and daughter often parade through the streets of Rome for celebrations with great ceremony?

Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia had been with his mistress, Vanozza, for more than ten years, and he smiled when he thought how few women had brought him such excitement and kept his interest for so long. Not that Vanozza had been the only woman in his life, for he was a man of large appetites in all worldly pleasures. But she had been by far the most important. She was intelligent, to his eye beautiful -- and someone he could talk to about earthly and heavenly matters. She had often given him wise counsel, and in return he had been a generous lover and a doting father to their children.

Vanozza stood in the doorway of her house and smiled bravely as she waved good-bye to her three children.

One of her great strengths now that she had reached her fortieth year was that she understood the man who wore the robes of the cardinal. She knew he had a burning ambition, a fire that flamed in his belly that would not be extinguished. He also had a military strategy for the Holy Catholic Church that would expand its reach, political alliances that would strengthen it, and promises of treaties that would cement his position as well as his power. He had talked to her about all these things. Ideas marched across his mind as relentlessly as his armies would march through new territories. He was destined to become one of the greatest leaders of men, and with his rise would come her children's. Vanozza tried to comfort herself with the knowledge that one day, as the cardinal's legitimate heirs, they would have wealth, power, and opportunity. And so she could let them go.

Now she held tight to her infant son, Jofre, her only remaining child -- too young to take from her, for he was still at the breast. Yet he too must go before long. Her dark eyes were shiny with tears as she watched her other children walk away. Only once did Lucrezia look back, but the boys never turned around.

Vanozza saw the handsome, imposing figure of the cardinal reach for the small hand of his younger son, Juan, and the tiny hand of his three-year-old daughter, Lucrezia. Their eldest son, Cesare, left out, already looked upset. That meant trouble, she thought, but in time Rodrigo would know them as well as she did. Hesitantly, she closed the heavy wooden front door.

They had taken only a few steps when Cesare, angry now, pushed his brother so hard that Juan, losing his grip on his father's hand, stumbled and almost fell to the ground. The cardinal stopped the small boy's fall, then turned and said, "Cesare, my son, could you not ask for what you want, rather than pushing your brother?"

Juan, a year younger but much more slightly built than the seven-year-old Cesare, snickered proudly at his father's defense. But before he could bask in his satisfaction, Cesare moved closer and stomped hard upon his foot.

Juan cried out in pain.

The cardinal grabbed Cesare by the back of his shirt with one of his large hands -- lifting him off the cobblestone street -- and shook him so hard that his auburn curls tumbled across his face. Then he stood the child on his feet again. Kneeling in front of the small boy, his brown eyes softened. He asked, "What is it, Cesare? What has displeased you so?"

The boy's eyes, darker and more penetrating, glowed like coals as he stared at his father. "I hate him, Papa," he said in an impassioned voice. "You choose him always..."

"Now, now, Cesare," the cardinal said, amused. "The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, is in its loyalty to each other. Besides, it's a mortal sin to hate one's own brother, and there is no reason to endanger your immortal soul over such emotions." He stood now, towering over them. Then he smiled as he patted his portly belly. "There is certainly enough of me for all of you...is there not?"

Rodrigo Borgia...

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The Family 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 77 reviews.
miss_dobie More than 1 year ago
A wonderful, thrilling story which captivates from the very beginning right thru to the end - and especially fascinating when read while viewing the Showtime series "The Borgias." All the characters come to life and the story flows smoothly. A great reading pleasure that makes me want to find more books about Renaissance Italy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Overall I enjoyed the book although there were many slow spots loaded with proper names of characters that were never developed that after a while I just skimmed because they didnt add to the story. However, the lives of the main characters were very interesting. It was even more fasinating when you find out its based on true events and historical figures. The book has elements of the Star Wars saga, mixed with the Godfather, see if you can point them out as you read. Warning very uncomfortable incest subplot that may give you the chills. Also if you are a devote Catholic, this book does not represent the office of the Pope in a favorable light.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Borgia and Corleon. Same people 500 year apart.
Browning-Babe More than 1 year ago
Excellent reading, Mr. Puzo does not disappoint!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i like how mario puzo captured the corruption of the vatican. hard to get past the incest though....
sunnhauntr More than 1 year ago
The sad truth is that this book is more biographical than fiction. The Borgia family, though corrupt, still has the power to mesmerize the ages and lure us into their wicked tale, and Puzo masterfully travels us back in time to the Renaissance age in which they lived. I thoroughly enjoyed his version of events.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well, The Family was such a thoroughly entertaining novel. When I first looked at the cover page I thought this book was going to be so boring. However, the first chapter alone sparked my interest. The story began with Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia and the papal elections. Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia became the new Pope Alexander. Throughout the book there were times where incest between his children Cesare and Lucrezia occurred. This began to eliminate rivals and leading his children to marry into alliances with the children of the noble families of France and Spain. Cesare wanted to be a soldier, and Lucrezia was more on the loving side with other dukes. Their differences stirred up conflict between the two siblings created chaos between their love lives. Also the history of the Renaissance is very much explained throughout the book. Mario Puzo does an excellent job teaching Renaissance Italy in an entertaining and interesting way. If you want to learn about Renaissance Italy and be entertain at the same time, I advise you to read The Family by Mario Puzo.
Guest More than 1 year ago
And I thought the Godfather was written brilliantly. The Family is an amazing book. It completely pulls you in from the first chapter and intrigues you to the point where you can't put the book down at all. Mario's imagination is one of a kind. I only wish there were more of his books to dive into. Mario is missed !
Guest More than 1 year ago
Its one of the best books I have ever read. Mario Puzo gave his all on the last book he ever wrote and I was mexmerized by the second chapter. The story of The borgia family has been told many times, but I think Mario puzo told it the best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is one of those you read in one go, one day, hardly able to put it down. I just loved the way it goes through almost 3 years of history in merely 300 pages.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This intelligently written story is thick with surprises and twists of all sorts. I found myself having a hard time reading for only an hour or two. I was lost in the world of the Borgias. This is definitely one of Mr. Puzo's best!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Puzo's novels in the past were ones that I coul'dnt put down. The family is such a snoozer, it had me falling asleep before the end of the first chapter.
Guest More than 1 year ago
loved the story, got lost in their world. A wonderfully visual look into the history of the Borgia family and early Italy. When completd, was saddened as I wanted more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Family transports the reader to the 15th Century when intrigue, sin, and the interplay between religion and politics were rampant. The authors ingeniously use the tone of language of the times in this well-constructed and well-developed historical novel. It is not for those readers who expect a 20th-Century Mafia-type book as in Puzo's previous styles. It is, however, for people who want to have an entertaining and better understanding of the infamous Borgia family, its connection with the Florentine strategist Macchiavelli, and how the Catholic Church developed during the Italian Renaissance. Very appealing and extremely well written with details of the religious extremism of the 15th Century that could easily be applied to certain religious groups today. Well worth the read and one of the best novels I have read in a long time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A sort of way to put historical facts into a non-history book. I enjoyed reading it because I could gain much knowledge on one of the first great families of crime. The book revolves around Alexander VI and his children. Very factual, though: no in-depth analysis. I was also disapointed to see they did not mention certain interesting characters who surrounded the real borgias's existence. Still, I recommend the book. Good ending.
JGolomb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book had the makings of something special. The Borgias are an original mob family. Instead of owning a territory or even a city...they owned nations and religions. In the hands of Puzo? WOW!I don't know at which point Puzo stopped writing and Carol Gino picked up. I can only guess that Puzo didn't get very far and/or the editors made a terrible mess of what was left. The story has absolutely no depth, and the characters have even less. The story, if one can call this narrative a 'story', is more of an outline than anything else I can describe. One can almost imagine the bullet points preceding each paragraph. I desperately wanted the early overview chapters to be a foundation upon which a masterful "Godfather"-like story would rest. Instead, I became desperate to put the book down. And so I did.Quite simply, this book is unreadable.
sloliveira on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've just read this book. I found it interesting, although some roles could have more depth. It seems accurate with the Alexander VII's known history. In the afterword written by Carol Gino, we found out that the book was written in a 20 years span. Perhaps that was the reason for a certain lack of unity in the book. After all, The Family is worth reading, in my opinion.
TommyB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While this book was somewhat interesting, it was written with such a detached point of view and such matter-of-fact prose that it was difficult to become involved in the book. This book is not nearly as good as some of his other works.
Ti99er on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Warning: If you are strictly devote to the Roman Catholic Church this book is most likely not your cup of tea. I picked up this gem in the "Friends of the Library" section of my local library. Having never read any of Puzo's work I decided to give this book a try. The back panel of this paperback contained the following passage as its only description. "We are family," Alexander told his children. "And the loyalty of the family must come before everything and everyone else. For if we honor that commitment, we will never be vanquished-but if we falter in that loyalty, we will all be condemned." Again knowing little of Puzo outside of his works on world renowned titles such as The Godfather and The Last Don I figured this book was another in the line of Italian Mob stories. Man was I off, by a couple of centuries no less.This story has none to do with a modern day crime family and all to do with a 15th century semi-ficticious Popes' reign. Although originally feeling baited and switched (more to my lack of research than the authors intentional misdirection) I was drawn into this story. I have not traditionlly been one to care for any story written before or about time periods prior to the 18th century. But I must say that Puzo's style drew me in quite quickly. Additionally, The Family was Puzo's last work as it was completed by his longtime girlfriend Carol Gino. I must say I cannot decipher the point where Puzo left off and Gino took over. As it turns out The Family was written over a 20 year period of time. Per my Catholic Faith warning at the heading of this review, this book is not for the unwillingly challenged faithful. This book is the story of an extremely sinful pope who uses his power more to benefit himself and his family (yes I said family, I will let you work that one out) than to that of the Mother Church to which he was appointed the vicar of Christ. Although the pages within contain acts of the utmost mortal sins committed by Pope Alexander VI, it is probably not all that far from the reality of the leaders of the church in that day. But without a doubt if this book were on any previewed reading list of the Vatican, it would certainly be reported back to the masses as a morally objectable piece of literature.If you are able to see past religious sanctioned murder, insest, treachery, and deciet, then you are in for a well written story. If not then it is my hope, that my review has prevented you from reading this treacherous work of heresy and has therefore saved you from eternal damnation.
kaelirenee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the most infamous women of the Renaissance, Lucretia Borgia seems to have a wealth of rumors surrounding her. This book examines the Borgia clan (papa the Pope, the caniving sons who seem ill-suited to their stations, and Lucretia-the beautiful pawn in her father's political games). Puzo does a wonderful job describing the culture, the time, and the thoughts that governed the Church and Europe in those times.
mramos on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is written to show us the beginings of the true Italian Crime family, of course they are Spanish. The Borgias are the essence of getting and keeping power for the family. I feel that the book was much longer than required. But this is probably to be expected, since Mr. puzzo was not able to finish his work. You can tell the author loved this period of time. He is trying to show us that Pope Alexander was not only the 1st Don but the greatest.The book contains 4 main story lines and several secondary tales as well. The Borgia Pope and his 4 children take center stage, and the quest to unite Italy is the book's theme. The battles that span most of Italy and even the Island of Elba should read at the pace of military battles and the campaign they entail. This would be my favorite part, but the battles are mostly just briefly mentioned and this is most evident when Cesare conquers Elba in a matter of a few hours and a handful of pages in the book. Though I understand that this is not a Military history book.Though not not my favorite book, it is worth reading. Espically if interested in that period and to see just how corrupt the church was at that time. I am glad that Carol Gino took on the task to complete this work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Keeps you on edge and wanting more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fine culmination in an extraordinary career. Better this was his swan song than Omerta.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago