A grand, sweeping international best seller that captures the many lives of Italy's most notorious family, the Florios, from their humble origins as impoverished shopkeepers to their reign as the uncrowned kings of Sicily.
Vincenzo, who lost his father at eight, builds an empire from the docks of Palermo. Driven by an insatiable desire to rise above his station and fueled by a nobility that scorns him, Vincenzo sacrifices family and love to transform his tiny spice shop into a trading empire. The name, Florio, soon instills fear and respect. The men of the family are stubborn, arrogant, philanderers, and slaves to passions. Paolo shrewdly fights his way out of an earthquake-striken Bagnara to start anew in Sicily. Ignazio II rejects his one true love to fulfill his destiny as the head of a trading empire.
Not to be outdone, the Florio women unapologetically demand their place outside the restraints of caring mothers, alluring mistresses, or wounded wives. Giula, though only a mistress, is fiercely intelligent and wins over politicians and businessmen alike. Angelina, born a bastard, charts her own future against the wishes of her father. In this epic yet intimate tale of power, passion, and revenge, the rise and fall of a family taps into the universal desire to become more than who we are born as.