L'inverno dei Leoni
(The Lions' Winter)
Casa Editrice Nord, May 2021, pp.688
The second and concluding part of the saga, which reveals in full the myth of the Florios, making us relive an era, a world and a destiny that has no equal.
The Florios, the Lions of Sicily, have won. Gone are the days of the modest putìa in central Palermo, the sacks of spices, of Paolo and Ignazio, who went there to escape poverty, with determination as their only wealth. Now, they own buildings and factories, ships and tonnaras, silks and jewels. Now, the entire city looks up to them, honours them and fears them. And young Ignazio fears no one. The destiny of Casa Florio has been his destiny since birth, it runs through his veins and drives him beyond Sicily, to Rome and political intrigues, to Europe and its courts, to the naval dominion of the Mediterranean, to buying the entire Aegadian Islands archipelago. Ignazio has a dazzling empire but a heart of ice, because, for the glory of Casa Florio, he had to give up the love that would have capsized his destiny. A love whose shadow never leaves him, even to the very end…
His son, Ignazziddu, on the other hand, is afraid when, at just over the age of twenty, he inherits all his father has built. He’s afraid because he doesn’t want to be enslaved to a name, to sacrifice himself on the family altar. He does his best, however, facing a world that’s changing too fast, shaken by new, violent and uncontrollable powers. He does his best but realises that having Florio blood isn’t enough to stand out. He needs something more, something his grandfather and his father had but which he lacks. But where, how has he gone wrong?
The Florios win everything, then lose everything. And yet this is only a part of their extraordinary story. Because this father and son, so different, so remote, have at their sides two women who are also very different and yet both exceptional: Giovanna, Ignazio’s wife, hard and fragile like crystal, filled with passion but starved of love, and Franca, Ignazziddu’s wife, the most beautiful woman in Europe, whose gilded life is shattered by the blows of a cruel fate.
It is these two women who trace the true trajectory – exciting and dreadful, glorious and tragic – of a family who, for a long instant, lit up the world. It is they who will make us understand why, after so many years, the Florios live on, unique and unforgettable, as the heartbeat of an island and of a city.
Casa Editrice Nord, May 2021, pp.688
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Stefania Auci was born in Trapani but for a long time now has been living in Palermo, where she works as a special needs teacher. Her novel I Leoni di Sicilia [The Florios of Sicily], which has enjoyed tremendous success (it was on the bestseller list for over a hundred weeks and is being translated in 32 countries), tells the story of the Florios until the mid 19th century and has conquered readers through the passion with which it’s been able to present the conflicting, enthralling vitality of this family. A passion that also runs through L’inverno dei Leoni, the second and concluding part of the saga, which reveals in full the myth of the Florios, making us relive an era, a world and a destiny that has no equal.