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|This article is about the novel. You may be looking for The Last Don.|
The last plan of Don Domenico Clericuzio, an aging mafia boss, is to eventually make his family enter the legitimate world and melt into American society. The Don's daughter Rose Marie marries Jimmy Santadio, the child of the Don's rival, who is killed on his wedding night in return for the Santadio's killing of Silvio, the Don's favourite son, along with Don Santadio and his entire family. Twenty-five years later, the Don's grandson Dante and his grandnephew Cross make their way through life, and the eighty-year-old Don is half retired.
Cross, who holds a majority share in a Las Vegas casino, is supposed to become the strong arm of the family. However, when he refuses to take part in the murder of an old friend, Dante is left to be the sole tough guy. Dante's greed for power and blood, and desire to avenge himself on his father's killers lead him to plan the elimination of his relatives, who are an obstacle to the desire to become as powerful as the old Don himself. This leads him to murder Cross's father Pippi, the Don's old hatchet man, and Jimmy's murderer. Meanwhile Cross becomes involved with Athena Aquitane, a famous Hollywood actress, killing her brutal ex Boz Skannet and ensuring her participation in Messalina, an epic motion picture written by his sister Claudia. Cross, who is aware of being on the black list, precedes Dante and catches him in a trap.
Having acted against the family, he waits for the Don's vendetta, but, to his own surprise, his life is spared and he is only condemned to exile. The story concludes with the revelation that the Don had planned this outcome all along for the long term survival of the family.
The Last Don is the basis for the 1997 CBS television miniseries of the same name written by Joyce Eliason and starring Joe Mantegna, Danny Aiello, and Daryl Hannah. In 1998, this was followed by The Last Don II.