Undoubtedly this is one of the best series I've read in this genre.
Like with all of Aleksandr Voinov's stories there is a shroud of darkness, and an edge to the characters and the stories he tells that make them unique. No one else is saying what Voinov is saying, and even if they are trying, they are not doing it this well. I really really respect a writer that GETS where he can shine, that understands where his voice can really have depth and brilliance. Voinov knows his sweet spot, and with this series IT SHOWS.
Overall this arc kept me on my toes, it pushed my sensibilities, it kept me guessing, I was in love with the characters from the start and it was set phenomenally. I've said before this felt like an opera to me, and when the curtain went down on this one, I was a satisfied customer.
Unlike the other volumes in this series, the acts in Volume 5 felt a lot less like individual stories. One flowed into the next seamlessly, which I guess was the point.
So, we open this story and meet Sebastiano Beccario, US Attorney, he is a man that has a bone to pick with the Cosa Nostra and as luck would have it he might have a chance to bring down the Marino Family. There is obviously a lot more to Beccario than what we see at first, and more than a little of it seems to be a deeply personal grudge.
We come back to Silvio and Stefano when they have already begun a relationship. Stefano is certain of what he feels and wants with Silvio, but as always Silvio can't express what he wants, much less how he feels about Stefano.
Stefano understands that Silvio needs permanence that abandoning him will be too cruel, but he can't get a handle of where he stands with Silvio. At the same time there is Donata. His wife, the woman he loves. He is not divided between them, he loves them both, but he is fearful that one will cost him the other.
Things are getting difficult outside of Stefano's love life as well. There is betrayal brewing in his organization and Sebastiano Beccario has him in a spot that he can only get out of by becoming a traitor or a martyr. NOT VERY GOOD PROSPECTS...Even for a mafioso.
But Stefano is a realist he knows where he stands, and he makes his choices. He accepts the truth of what his life, his "Family" and the people he loves mean to him. It is a hard path and it is painful. Feeling like a traitor, or a weakling are not things that sit well with a man like Stefano. But he admits to who he really is, and decides he will just have to live with the consequences of his decisions.
As always with Voinov the characters made the story, they were layered and surprising. Stefano was increasingly sincere and expressive. He was willing to say what he needed to, so that Donata and Silvio could be certain in the love he had for them. Donata was always a likable and interesting character, but in this volume we finally got to know her. I LOVED that she was not a silly little wife, with a blind eye to what her life was or who she married. She assimilated her situation, she made her decisions with intelligence. But she was not selfless either, she took for herself too. I loved that.
Silvio...What can I say? One of the most powerfully enigmatic characters I've read, and yet the key to him...SO VERY SIMPLE. Who he was became clear in the blink of an eye. BRILLIANT. Because once Stefano knew what it was about Silvio that made him different, then I knew they could be alright.
Sebastiano Beccario...The catalyst, the guy who brought the house of cards down. He was a disconcerting character to me, I did not understand his intentions too well, but he had a role to play in this book that was pivotal. He opened doors for Stefano not just for a new life, but to Silvio's mind. Again BRILLIANT.
The ending was tidy, yes. But I was reading a love story, with characters that were written for me to LOVE. I don't like to see characters I love broken and in the wind when I come to the end of my time with them...I like hopefulness and I like fresh starts. There was nothing in this story that cut corners or went for the convinient...Nope it was just right.
Fantastic Series, one of the best I've read. Recommend one thousand times over.