A series of murders opens David’s story, confused memories from when he lived in Sicily, when he wasn’t yet blind and belonged to the Cortello family clan which lorded over the territory. David departs, and on the long train journey back to his roots, he meets Father Leonard, an African-American priest. They have a past and a present in common, and on the train there is also a mysterious woman who plays a part in the priest’s past.
The two men introduce themselves and start to talk:
Father Leonard asks a lot of questions out of curiosity, but also
because he senses that the man seated opposite him has something
weighing on his mind that links the two together.
There is a series of recollections that go back a few years. David and his friend Vito make a living from petty thievery until one day David gets up the courage to present himself to Don Michele, the Cortello family boss, who takes him in along with his pal Vito. The family recognises at once that Vito is very courageous but most of all capable of pulling a trigger, something David doesn’t have the nerve to do, he can only deal drugs and not much else; moreover, he has a nasty habit of talking to priests too much. In the meanwhile, something serious is happening not only in Sicily but
also on the other side of the ocean: Dan Mancino has recently arrived in Agrigento, standing in for Don Federico, a prominent member of an
emigrant family in New York. Federico is also crazy: he likes to tie
his enemies to a chair and read or recite Koranic verses to them before killing them, even though they aren’t Muslim. While the Cortello family is busy collecting protection money, even murdering a recalcitrant baker, Dan Mancino watches and starts taking over.
When the Cortello family realises what is happening, it is too late to call in other families, so a war, or more accurately, the massacre of the Cortello family, breaks out. Apart from being strong and clever enough to turn any situation to his advantage, such as making the murdered baker’s wife one of his own… Dan Mancino discovers that David is Federico’s half brother, so without letting anyone know, he convinces David to betray the Cortellos and come over to Mancino’s side.
At this point, power in both Sicily and New York rests in Don Federico’s hands; David loses his eyesight in an accident and flees to Rome, abandoning his half brother.
On the train, Father Leonard also tells David his own
tale: before becoming a priest, he was dealing with a certain Williams, whom he kills one evening after the theatre; the woman on the train turns out to be William’s wife.
The long journey comes to an end, Father Leonard alights, David continues on, and while sleeping, has a nightmare in which Don Michele kills him. While David is about to reach
his destination, we see on the other side of the ocean Don Federico,
who is leaving for Sicily.