You come to my page, on the day my daughter is to be married, and ask me to tell you about The Godfather book series, for free. You might be here after checking another site first. Reader, you’re my visitor and I love you. But don’t ever take sides against the Short Story Guide family again, ever.
The Godfather is one of the most popular stories of all time, whether in movie or novel form. This page looks at The Godfather book series, as well as a few related extras.
Some day, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me. Actually, this is the day, and I’d like you to read this article.
The Godfather Book Series
We start with The Godfather book series. There’s a separate section at the bottom for Mario Puzo’s other books, including his non-fiction.
How Many Volumes Are In The Godfather Book Series?
There are five Godfather novels, two of which were written by Mario Puzo with a third based on a screenplay of his.
Here they are in the story world’s chronological order. The publication date is noted, so that order can be easily seen.
Most of the links will take you to Amazon if you want to see the price or read the preview.
The Family Corleone by Ed Falco (based on a screenplay by Mario Puzo, 2012)
It’s the fall of 1933 in New York. Giuseppe Mariposa is one of the most powerful underworld figures in the country. With Prohibition coming to an end, he looks to position himself for even greater influence. To this end, he’s looking for Rosario LaConti, whose empire is disintegrating.
Some of Mariposa’s trucks are being hijacked. The Corleone family is one of the suspects, as is a small-time operator, Luca Brasi.
Meanwhile, Tom Hagen is in college, and Sonny Corleone looks to join the family business.
Time covered: 1933-34
The Godfather (1969)
Amerigo Bonasera’s daughter is in the hospital, badly beaten for resisting the advances of two young men. The perpetrators walk free. A baker, Nazorine, wants his daughter to be married to Enzo, a man in danger of being sent back to Sicily. In Los Angeles, a singer, Johnny Fontane, spirals into despair as his career and family life fall to pieces. They all know who they must go to for help—The Godfather.
It’s the summer of 1945 in New York. Don Corleone’s daughter, Connie, is getting married. The family’s huge property on Long Island will be full of old friends, for the festivities and to ask for favors.
Tensions are rising among the Five Families of New York. When Don Corleone turns down a business arrangement with Virgil Sollozzo, they take action.
In addition to Don Corleone, some of the prominent players are his three sons, Santino, Fredo and Michael; consigliere Tom Hagen; and capos Clemenza and Tessio.
And now, I’m gonna make you an offer you can’t refuse: much of the first chapter can be read in the Amazon preview.
Time covered: 1945-55
The Godfather Book Series, Cont’d
The Sicilian (1984)
Michael Corleone is in exile in Sicily due to the events covered in The Godfather. Things have been settled in America, but instead of returning home immediately, he’s been given an important job by his father.
Michael is to meet with Don Croce, the Boss of Bosses in Sicily. They’re going to arrange the escape to America of a bandit, Salvatore Giuliano. First, Michael meets the three men who will escort him—Father Malo, the Don’s brother; Inspector Velardi, head of the Sicilian Police; and Michael’s cousin, Stefan Andolini.
The people love Giuliano, but his position has become untenable. Five thousand soldiers and police search the mountains for him. To complicate matters, he’s been betrayed many times and no longer trusts anyone, not even Don Croce, who’s supported him for years. Their mission is to find him and convince him to leave with Michael.
Time covered: 1950
The Sequel to The Godfather (Book Series, Cont’d)
The Godfather Returns by Mark Winegardner or The Godfather: The Lost Years (2004)
It’s the spring of 1955 in New York. Michael Corleone summons Nick Geraci to meet him in Brooklyn. Michael’s betrayer was supposed to bring him to two men who would kill him. News of all the recent events hasn’t yet reached Geraci, but he’s able to figure out the basics of what’s going on. Tessio was his mentor.
It’s not Michael, but Peter Clemenza, who arrives for the meeting. Geraci gets a bit worried, but Clemenza assures him it’s not that. The would-be assassins are dead, but Tessio is still alive.
As you can see, this story takes up immediately after the events of The Godfather. The events of the second movie also take place at the same time as some of this novel, but it covers other things.
Time covered: 1955-62 and a flashback from 1920-45 on Michael’s life.
The Godfather Book Series, Cont’d
The Godfather’s Revenge by Mark Winegardner (2006)
Internally, Michael Corleone suffers from guilt over the killing of his brother Fredo.
An old rival who has successfully eluded the Family reappears with vengeance as his aim. Michael wants him dead, and the authorities want him for their own purposes.
The U. S. Attorney General declares war on organized crime. Carlo Tramonti, a New Orleans crime boss, is deported to Cuba, where the authorities claim he’s from. He’s not the kind of man to let go of a humiliation like this.
Meanwhile, Tom Hagen works to broker a deal to save the Family, and finds himself in personal peril.
This novel starts up shortly after the events of The Godfather Returns and takes place about 15 years before The Godfather Part III film.
Time covered: 1963-64
The Godfather Trilogy Books: 1, 2 and 3
As you’ve probably noticed, if you’re interested in reading the Godfather trilogy that’s presented in the movies, it’s not really possible. The extended story in the Godfather book series doesn’t parallel the films.
The closest you can come is to read The Godfather, the novel from 1969. This covers the events of the first film. It also includes the backstory on Vito Corleone that is in the second film, but not the rest of the narrative. There is no novel version of the third movie.
The Godfather Returns by Mark Winegardner mentions some events from the second movie, but focuses on other story lines.
The Last Godfather Book
The last novel in the the Godfather book series timeline is The Godfather’s Revenge, which takes place after the second movie.
The last novel to be published is The Family Corleone, which takes place about 11 years before the first movie.
In What Order Do You Read The Godfather Book Series?
Of course, any order is fine, but the two that make the most sense to me are the published order or chronological order. Another way that sounds good is to start with the original Godfather book from 1969 and then go back to the chronological beginning and read from there.
The Godfather First Edition
If you’re a big fan of this book, you might want a first edition. Don’t rely on a seller’s listing alone to determine if it’s genuine. How can you identify a first edition of The Godfather?
It will have an uncluttered copyright page with these three things at the top:
- The copyright date of 1969 and author name
- A short paragraph beginning with “All rights reserved.”
- The Library of Congress Catalogue # 69—11465
At the bottom of the page, it will have two lines indicating it was printed in the US by American Book—Stratford Press.
Note that other editions will also have this information. A first edition will only have these things on the copyright page, and nothing else.
Other things to look for:
- The price on the inside of the front flap is $6.95
- At the bottom of the inside front flap is 6903 (indicating it was published in March of 1969)
- First edition means only the first printing. Any other number of printings or impressions isn’t a first edition.
The Godfather Family Album by Steve Schapiro
This beautiful book features behind-the-scenes pictures from the set of the Godfather trilogy.
Liliana Battle and Stacey Tyzzer bring us the recipes for authentic Italian meals inspired by The Godfather.
The Godfather Book Series Set
Unfortunately, the five novels that opened this article don’t seem to come packaged together. But you can get The Godfather, The Sicilian and The Last Don as a set.
Books Like or Similar to The Godfather
Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. For novels that are similar in that they deal with organized crime families, see organized crime books.
Mario Puzo Books in Order
The Dark Arena (1955)
Walter Mosca has left America and heads back to Germany, but it feels like he’s going home. Mosca had returned from WWII after three years to a warm but awkward welcome from his mother, brother and girlfriend, Gloria. He was a different man and had trouble readjusting. Gloria has waited for him and there’s a wedding planned, but there was some tension between them. Mosca’s family confronted him about how he was treating her. There was a girl in Germany, and Mosca decided to go back.
Half the train’s passengers are soldiers and half are civilians from the U.S. Mr. Gerald, the most important civilian on board, is loud, boastful and condescending. One of the soldier’s rebukes Mr. Gerald for his incessant talk and, shortly after, takes an action against him. Mr. Gerald is tended to, and the lieutenant takes the offending GI, Mulrooney, into custody.
In Germany, Mosca deals with love, intrigue, and finds himself fighting a different kind of battle in a ruthless world.
The 1st chapter can be read in the preview of The Dark Arena.
The Fortunate Pilgrim (1965)
Italian immigrant Lucia Santa leads the Angeluzzi-Corbo family in New York. Her first husband, Anthony Angeluzzi, was already in America. The marriage was arranged by their fathers. Being very poor, she didn’t have any other options. Anthony was killed in an accident, leaving her with three children. Only one friend, Zia Louche, stood by her during this difficult time. She later married Frank Corbo, and they had three more children.
Lucia Santa’s first three are grown up now. Her oldest son earns money for the household. Her daughter, Octavia, wants to become a teacher. Lucia Santa sits with the neighborhood women and gossips, often about how different young people are in America. Tonight, Frank plans on leaving the city and his family.
You can read into the 2nd chapter in the preview of The Fortunate Pilgrim.
Mario Puzo Books In Order, Cont’d
In this children’s novel, a couple that goes on a round-the-world vacation plans to leave their son, Davie, with his grandparents and at his uncle’s farm. Instead, Davie has a traveling adventure with his horse Mustang, as he looks for his parents.
There isn’t a lot of information available on this book and, as a bit of a rarity, it can be expensive.
Six Graves to Munich (as Mario Cleri) (1967)
Michael Rogan enters a lurid nightclub. It’s dark, loud and crowded. A waitress identifies him as an American, which annoys him. He feels the blood pounding in his head—against the silver plate that holds it together. He needs to finish this job fast so he can relax. He’s looking for Karl Pfann, a man he hasn’t seen in many years. Michael hears a voice calling to one of the girls and it’s unmistakably Pfann’s. He sits at the table next to him and prepares his pistol.
Michael was an intelligence officer captured by the Nazi’s in WWII. He and his wife were tortured and experimented on. Now, his only purpose is to find the guilty men.
You can read into the 3rd chapter in the preview of Six Graves to Munich.
The Godfather (1969)
See description above.
The Godfather Papers and Other Confessions (Non-fiction, 1972)
This book contains some autobiography, behind-the-scenes information on writing The Godfather and on planning and filming the movie, a few book reviews and two short stories. There are also essays on gambling, Italian Americans, bankruptcy, the relationship between men and women, two chapters from The Runaway Summer of Davie Shaw, and journal excerpts.
This one can also be expensive.
Inside Las Vegas (Non-fiction, 1977)
As a gambling enthusiast, Puzo gives an in depth look at the world of Las Vegas gambling, with many stories of Vegas life and over 150 pictures.
Mario Puzo Books In Order, Cont’d
Fools Die (1978)
Four new friends—Jordan, Merlyn, Cully and Diane—hang out and gamble in Las Vegas at the Hotel Xanadu. They’re all degenerate gamblers except for Diane, who shills for the casino, using house money for her bets.
Jordan’s wife has left him and taken the kids. He can’t sleep and pills give him nightmares. His appearance has deteriorated in the last three weeks. He’s had some luck and his jacket is loaded with cash and chips.
Jordan has another good run at the crap table, which catches the attention of the owner, Alfred Gronevelt. He makes some calls about Jordan, including one to Cully, who assures him Jordan will just lose the money right back. Jordan’s luck continues at the baccarat table; he wins so much his friends insist he get out of Vegas immediately so he doesn’t lose it.
The story continues in the worlds of writing and Hollywood, organized crime, Vegas, and behind-the-scenes deceptions.
The Sicilian (1984)
See description above.
The Fourth K (1991)
Francis Xavier Kennedy is the President of the United States. His sincerity and optimism are eroded by political realities. He has always kept his uncles’ assassinations in mind.
On Good Friday, Oliver Oliphant—a hundred years old, very wealthy and wise—prepares for his party on Easter Sunday to be hosted by President Kennedy. He’s sad that it will be his last appearance as the center of attention.
Meanwhile, seven terrorists prepare to assassinate the Pope. Yabril is an experienced and merciless revolutionary who doesn’t fear death or pain. He walks to the safehouse of his confederate, Romeo, whose cadre is in place. His own people will arrive tomorrow. In this final meeting, Yabril and Romeo go over every detail of the upcoming operation. After, Romeo briefs his cadre on the mission.
Killing the Pope is only the first step in a complex scheme.
You can read into the 2nd chapter in the preview of The Fourth K.
Mario Puzo Books In Order, Cont’d
The Last Don (1996)
Don Domenico Clericuzio wants his family to be legitimate, and is ready to set his plan in motion. He’s just won a costly war against the Santadio. He retires from most of his interests and turns the New York business over to his underboss, Ballazzo, who will form his own Family. His oldest son, Giorgio, will be his successor and go to business school. His nephew, Pippi, is going to Las Vegas to look after their interest in the Xanadu Hotel. His youngest son, Vincent, will open a fine restaurant. His other son, Petie, will run the soldiers from the Bronx Enclave and a construction company.
Don Clericuzio divides other ventures between the other families; in return, he will be paid a commission for handling their money and will use his influence to help them. He wants to keep the future of the Family, including his young grandson Dante and his grandnephew Cross, out of the illegitimate world.
Before his death, the great Don Zeno of Sicily turns over the care of his young son Astorre to Don Aprile of New York. He raises the boy as his own son, and he sees in him the qualities needed to take over the Family business. Many years later, Don Aprile retires. He has survived the FBI crackdown of the 90s, eluding the head, Cilke, who had been pursuing him for twenty years. He keeps his banks but divides his other interests among his rivals and friends.
His three grown children are successful in legitimate careers. In retirement, he even improves his relationship with them. On a December Sunday, he attends the confirmation of his grandson. While all seems well, the Sturzo twins have been hired to take out Don Aprile.
You can read into the 2nd chapter in the preview of Omerta.
The Family (with Carol Gino, 2001)
Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, vice-chancellor to the pope, goes to the home of his mistress, Vanozza, to get three of their children—Cesare, Juan and Lucrezia, and shortly after they’re joined by the youngest, Jofre. They’re given the best education, and Borgia acknowledges them as his own.
After a failed assassination attempt, Borgia sends for his nephew, Don Michelotto, to protect the family. Cesare pursues academics while Juan trains to be a soldier.
When Pope Innocent dies, the conclave of the college of cardinals has the job of electing the new Pope. Rodrigo Borgia’s chances are slim, as he’s not Italian but Spanish. He places third in the voting, but no one received enough to be elected. After some backroom dealing, Rodrigo emerges victorious and becomes Pope Alexander VI. His priorities are to restore order to Rome, establish an army to regain control of the Papal States of Italy, and to secure the futures of his children.
You can read into the 4th chapter in the preview of The Family.
I hope you enjoyed this look at The Godfather book series and Mario Puzo’s other books.
Now, leave the gun. Take the books.
Reader, if you’re going to exit this page, I have to ask: What have I ever done to make you treat me so disrespectfully?