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Godfather

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“THE GODFATHER IS A STAGGERING TRIUMPH...THE DEFINITIVE NOVEL ABOUT A SINISTER FRATERNITY OF CRIME...”

--Saturday Review
“YOU CAN’T STOP READING IT, AND YOU’LL FIND IT HARD TO STOP DREAMING ABOUT IT!”

--New York Magazine THE GODFATHER

THE GODFATHER Mario Puzo

Copyright © Mario Puzo 1969 All rights reserved

For Anthony Cleri

THE GODFATHER

BOOK I
Behind every great fortune there is a crime.
--BALZAC

Chapter 1 Amerigo Bonasera sat in New York Criminal Court Number 3 and waited for justice; vengeance on the men who had so cruelly hurt his daughter, who had tried to dishonor her. The judge, a formidably heavy-featured man, rolled up the sleeves of his black robe as if to physically chastise the two young men standing before the bench. His face was cold with majestic contempt. But there was something false in all this that Amerigo Bonasera sensed but did not yet understand. “You acted like the worst kind of degenerates,” the judge said harshly. Yes, yes, thought Amerigo Bonasera. Animals. Animals. The two young men, glossy hair crew cut, scrubbed clean-cut faces composed into humble contrition, bowed their heads in submission. The judge went on. “You acted like wild beasts in a jungle and you are fortunate you did not sexually molest that poor girl or I’d put you behind bars for twenty years.” The judge paused, his eyes beneath impressively thick brows flickered slyly toward the sallow-faced Amerigo Bonasera, then lowered to a stack of probation reports before him. He frowned and shrugged as if convinced against his own natural desire. He spoke again. “But because of your youth, your clean records, because of your fine families, and because the law in its majesty does not seek vengeance, I hereby sentence you to three years’ confinement to the penitentiary. Sentence to be suspended.” Only forty years of professional mourning kept the…...

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