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Blood Washes Blood: A True Story of Love, Murder, and Redemption Under the Sicilian Sun

by

Blood Washes Blood: A True Story of Love, Murder, and Redemption Under the Sicilian Sun Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Against the sweeping backdrop of western Sicily, seasoned reporter Frank Viviano pieces together his own harrowing family legacy of betrayal and redemption — and the truth behind a murder mystery and conspiracy of silence that spans four generations. His riveting seven-year quest is haunted, from cryptic beginning to stunning end, by an ancient Sicilian proverb, Lu sangu lava lu sangu, "Blood washes blood": the torrent of unforgiving vengeance that flows from an unforgivable offense.

More than a century ago, Viviano's namesake and great-great grandfather, Francesco Viviano, was shot to death at a lonely rural crossroad in Sicily. He had been a revolutionary and a thief, a legendary bandit who traveled by night in the robes of a friar. Sicilians called him "the Monk."

Six months before his death in 1993, Viviano's ninety-six-year-old grandfather whispered to him the name of the Monk's killer: "Domenico Valenti." A name he had never heard before. A name that meant nothing to him.

Pursued by the demons of his own rootless life as a foreign correspondent, Viviano journeys to his family's ancestral village in Sicily. He sets out to unlock the mystery that killed the Monk and drove his family to America. But from his first day there, he is confronted by a maze of other interlocked mysteries, where everything — names, identities, motives — falls under the same enigmatic veil as his grandfather's final words to him.

The search eventually carries Viviano deep into the shadowy Sicilian netherworld, to the cataclysmic origins of the Mafia and the labyrinth of codes, blood feuds, family loyalties, and impenetrable silences that have defined the island's tortured history for a thousand years. Until past and present finally merge into a single story with a shattering climax.

A gripping family epic and relentless detective narrative, Blood Washes Blood is a deeply personal odyssey into the tangled roots of power, violence, and ultimately love. It holds a mirror to the past and, for one man, changes the way he views his family's evocative history, as well as himself.

Review:

Come for the blood-and-vengeance motif, stay for the sunny, breezy, lemon tree-scented Sicilian setting. This enjoyable, surprisingly brainy and deep book manages to live up to its shamelessly base-covering subtitle ("A True Story of Love, Murder and Redemption Under the Sicilian Sun"). Viviano, a foreign correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle who has covered major world events ranging from Tiananmen Square to the conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo, puts so many balls into the air that Blood Washes Blood takes a couple of chapters to settle into itself. When it does, you can sit back and enjoy its fast-moving parade of themes and stories.

There's historical suspense: Viviano sets out to solve an old family mystery, the identity of the man who killed his great-grandfather, his namesake, in 1860s Sicily. There's an absorbing multigenerational saga: the history of Viviano's immigrant family as it travels from Sicily to New York to Detroit. Blood Washes Blood is blissfully short on sentimentality and long on sharp considerations of the meaning of family bonds. Along with the more personal material, Viviano offers a fascinating account of the ruthless, bloody Mafia wars that took place in Sicily in the early '90s. The trial of notoriously brutal Mafia boss Antonio "Toto" Riina, who had ordered the car-bomb murder of Judge Giovanni Falcone, an anti-Mafia crusader who had split open the Sicilian underworld, took place as Viviano was in Sicily researching his family history, and he was transfixed by the trial along with his Sicilian neighbors.

And finally, there's a satisfying dose of Sicily itself, which comes alive in Viviano's descriptions of its twisty, always partly hidden history and equally portentous present. In clear reporter's prose that occasionally approaches a sort of brusque poetry, he gets to the paradoxical heart of the patient yet explosive Sicilian character: "Extraordinary events transpired there — the phenomenal mayhem of Riina's struggle with Badalamenti, the consolidation of a global underworld empire — while it seemed that nothing happened at all." Maria Russo, Salon.com

Synopsis:

Prize-winning journalist Frank Viviano's new book is a harrowing, evocative true story of family, murder and betrayal in the old country. As the result of a seven-year quest, haunted by an ancient Sicilian proverb that "blood washes blood", one family has unforgiving vengeance stemming from another family's unforgivable offense.

Synopsis:

Against the sweeping backdrop of western Sicily, seasoned reporter Frank Viviano pieces together his own harrowing family legacy of betrayal and redemption — and the truth behind a murder mystery and conspiracy of silence that spans four generations. His riveting seven-year quest is haunted, from cryptic beginning to stunning end, by an ancient Sicilian proverb, Lu sangu lava lu sangu, "Blood washes blood": the torrent of unforgiving vengeance that flows from an unforgivable offense.

More than a century ago, Viviano's namesake and great-great grandfather, Francesco Viviano, was shot to death at a lonely rural crossroad in Sicily. He had been a revolutionary and a thief, a legendary bandit who traveled by night in the robes of a friar. Sicilians called him "the Monk."

Six months before his death in 1993, Viviano's ninety-six-year-old grandfather whispered to him the name of the Monk's killer: "Domenico Valenti." A name he had never heard before. A name that meant nothing to him.

Pursued by the demons of his own rootless life as a foreign correspondent, Viviano journeys to his family's ancestral village in Sicily. He sets out to unlock the mystery that killed the Monk and drove his family to America. But from his first day there, he is confronted by a maze of other interlocked mysteries, where everything — names, identities, motives — falls under the same enigmatic veil as his grandfather's final words to him.

The search eventually carries Viviano deep into the shadowy Sicilian netherworld, to the cataclysmic origins of the Mafia and the labyrinth of codes, blood feuds, family loyalties, and impenetrable silences that have defined the island's tortured history for a thousand years. Until past and present finally merge into a single story with a shattering climax.

A gripping family epic and relentless detective narrative, Blood Washes Blood is a deeply personal odyssey into the tangled roots of power, violence, and ultimately love. It holds a mirror to the past and, for one man, changes the way he views his family's evocative history, as well as himself.

About the Author

Frank Viviano, at-large foreign correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle, has covered events ranging from the fall of Marcos in the Philippines and the Tiananmen Square crackdown to the collapse of the Soviet Union, civil wars in Nicaragua, the Caucasus, Bosnia, and Kosovo, and organized crime in Europe, Central Asia, and China. His articles have appeared in more than two hundred newspapers and magazines internationally. A two-time recipient of the World Affairs Council's Thomas Storke Award for Achievements in International Reporting, he is the author of six previous nonfiction books.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780671041588
Subtitle:
A True Story of Love, Murder, and Redemption Under the Sicilian Sun
Author:
Viviano, Frank
Author:
Viviano, Frank
Publisher:
Atria
Location:
New York
Subject:
Murder
Subject:
Mafia
Subject:
Europe - Italy
Subject:
Vendetta
Subject:
General True Crime
Subject:
Murder - General
Copyright:
Series Volume:
537
Publication Date:
20010501
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9.58x6.44x.98 in. 1.13 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Crime » True Crime
History and Social Science » Europe » Italy » General

Blood Washes Blood: A True Story of Love, Murder, and Redemption Under the Sicilian Sun Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.50 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Pocket Books - English 9780671041588 Reviews:
"Review" by , Come for the blood-and-vengeance motif, stay for the sunny, breezy, lemon tree-scented Sicilian setting. This enjoyable, surprisingly brainy and deep book manages to live up to its shamelessly base-covering subtitle ("A True Story of Love, Murder and Redemption Under the Sicilian Sun"). Viviano, a foreign correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle who has covered major world events ranging from Tiananmen Square to the conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo, puts so many balls into the air that Blood Washes Blood takes a couple of chapters to settle into itself. When it does, you can sit back and enjoy its fast-moving parade of themes and stories.

There's historical suspense: Viviano sets out to solve an old family mystery, the identity of the man who killed his great-grandfather, his namesake, in 1860s Sicily. There's an absorbing multigenerational saga: the history of Viviano's immigrant family as it travels from Sicily to New York to Detroit. Blood Washes Blood is blissfully short on sentimentality and long on sharp considerations of the meaning of family bonds. Along with the more personal material, Viviano offers a fascinating account of the ruthless, bloody Mafia wars that took place in Sicily in the early '90s. The trial of notoriously brutal Mafia boss Antonio "Toto" Riina, who had ordered the car-bomb murder of Judge Giovanni Falcone, an anti-Mafia crusader who had split open the Sicilian underworld, took place as Viviano was in Sicily researching his family history, and he was transfixed by the trial along with his Sicilian neighbors.

And finally, there's a satisfying dose of Sicily itself, which comes alive in Viviano's descriptions of its twisty, always partly hidden history and equally portentous present. In clear reporter's prose that occasionally approaches a sort of brusque poetry, he gets to the paradoxical heart of the patient yet explosive Sicilian character: "Extraordinary events transpired there — the phenomenal mayhem of Riina's struggle with Badalamenti, the consolidation of a global underworld empire — while it seemed that nothing happened at all."

"Synopsis" by , Prize-winning journalist Frank Viviano's new book is a harrowing, evocative true story of family, murder and betrayal in the old country. As the result of a seven-year quest, haunted by an ancient Sicilian proverb that "blood washes blood", one family has unforgiving vengeance stemming from another family's unforgivable offense.
"Synopsis" by , Against the sweeping backdrop of western Sicily, seasoned reporter Frank Viviano pieces together his own harrowing family legacy of betrayal and redemption — and the truth behind a murder mystery and conspiracy of silence that spans four generations. His riveting seven-year quest is haunted, from cryptic beginning to stunning end, by an ancient Sicilian proverb, Lu sangu lava lu sangu, "Blood washes blood": the torrent of unforgiving vengeance that flows from an unforgivable offense.

More than a century ago, Viviano's namesake and great-great grandfather, Francesco Viviano, was shot to death at a lonely rural crossroad in Sicily. He had been a revolutionary and a thief, a legendary bandit who traveled by night in the robes of a friar. Sicilians called him "the Monk."

Six months before his death in 1993, Viviano's ninety-six-year-old grandfather whispered to him the name of the Monk's killer: "Domenico Valenti." A name he had never heard before. A name that meant nothing to him.

Pursued by the demons of his own rootless life as a foreign correspondent, Viviano journeys to his family's ancestral village in Sicily. He sets out to unlock the mystery that killed the Monk and drove his family to America. But from his first day there, he is confronted by a maze of other interlocked mysteries, where everything — names, identities, motives — falls under the same enigmatic veil as his grandfather's final words to him.

The search eventually carries Viviano deep into the shadowy Sicilian netherworld, to the cataclysmic origins of the Mafia and the labyrinth of codes, blood feuds, family loyalties, and impenetrable silences that have defined the island's tortured history for a thousand years. Until past and present finally merge into a single story with a shattering climax.

A gripping family epic and relentless detective narrative, Blood Washes Blood is a deeply personal odyssey into the tangled roots of power, violence, and ultimately love. It holds a mirror to the past and, for one man, changes the way he views his family's evocative history, as well as himself.

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