“One of America’s greatest storytellers.” – Stephen King
“No one fuses action with emotion like Winslow.” – The Times
The new thriller from the #1 international bestseller – the start of a brand new trilogy
‘Superb. This is storytelling with a keen edge. City on Fire is exhilarating to read.’ — Stephen King
A Times Best Book for 2022
Providence, RI, 1986.
Twenty-nine-year-old Danny Ryan is a hard-working longshoreman, loving husband, loyal friend, and occasional “muscle” for the Irish crime syndicate that oversees much of the city. He yearns for something more and dreams of starting over fresh, someplace far away.
But when a modern-day Helen of Troy triggers a war between rival mob factions, Danny is embroiled in a conflict he can’t escape. Now it is up to him to step into the breach to protect his family, the friends who are closer to him than brothers, and the only home he’s ever known.
Exploring classic themes of loyalty, betrayal, honour, and corruption on both sides of the law, City on Fire is a contemporary Iliad from Don Winslow, “one of America’s greatest storytellers” (Stephen King).
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 22 members
5/5 - Quite simply Outstanding
A huge fan of The Cartel Trilogy and many other Don Winslow stand-alone books, I was extremely excited to get early hands on this new read and first In a trilogy featuring the Irish and Italian mobs.
Set on the 80s in Providence, a quiet area, away from the real made men of New York and Tough , unforgiving Irish Mob in Boston , a quiet war brews between factions at an acceptable truce,
But as old moves to new, things change and tempers flare in this stunning gangster tale from the king of this genre,
Violent, emotional, angry and just super Storytelling, this is an epic story that spans a generation in transition.
I can wax lyrical. But I won’t, all i can say is this is the best read of the year, and it won’t be bettered.
This book is so much more than a story of gang warfare. When Danny, the main character in the book, sees a beautiful woman emerge from the sea he knows it means trouble. Little does he know how much trouble. Like Helen of Troy her beauty and ,some men’s inability to resist it, is deadly. I loved this book. Beautifully written and Danny is such a sympathetic lead.
Don Winslow is a fantastic author, his cartel Trilogy (The Power of the Dog (Don Winslow book 1)
The Cartel & The Border) was an astonishing achievement amongst the best I have ever read, the skill the scale, cast of characters and timelines dealt with was brilliant.
City on Fire was one of the most eagerly anticipated books of 2021 and has become one of the most eagerly anticipated books of 2022.
A quote from Homer's Iliad commences the beginning of this trilogy set in the 80s in Providence, Rhode Island, The main character is Danny Ryan part of the Irish contingent who along with the Murphys end up going to war with the Morretti family and the Italians. There is a vibrancy, brutality and brevity to this narrative that makes this first instalment fly past and Winslow's skill at pulling the plot this way and that is wonderful to behold. Decisions are made, people die and danger lurks around every corner not to mention that as this is not set in a major conurbation (eg Boston, Chicago, New York) other powers loom in the background that may come into play before too long.
An excellent story which leaves me hoping the nest instalment does not take too long to arrive.
Thank you NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an impartial review.
If I could give this six stars then I most certainly would. Don Winslow hits the bullseye yet again with the first of a planned trilogy on the Mafia/Irish gang wars f the 80s and 90s.
I won't divulge the plot as many others have intimated what occurs but quite simply Winslow along with Micheal Connelly and Dennis Lehane writes better than pretty much any thriller writer I can think of.
He cuts to the quick, his prose is lean yet so descriptive and the characters are brilliantly drawn and depicted. As always our hero is deeply flawed but so credible and likeable as well.
The action is non stop and suitably violent and the sense of time and place palpable.
Just read it. it is wonderful.
City on Fire has been one of the most eagerly anticipated books of 2022 and as ever Don Winslow doesn't disappoint.
Set in Providence,Rhode Island in 1986 the book is the first in a trilogy with the whole being Don Winslow's latter day take on Homer's classic poem the Iliad. You don't,however, need to know anything about Ancient Greek poets, or the Trojan War to enjoy it.
Danny Ryan is a hardworking Longshoreman married to the daughter of John Murphy leader of the local Irish crime syndicate and a lifelong friend of the whole family. Despite that, and being "muscle" for them when required he's frustrated that despite paying his dues he's never been invited to the "top table", the inner circle of John Murphy's criminal empire.
Tolerating the Irish Mob in Providence is the Italian Mafia ,not as powerful as the New York or Las Vegas gangs but a lethal force nonetheless. The crews keep to their own territory and for everyone's sake avoid confrontation or stepping on each other's toes until,as in the Iliad, a beautiful woman causes friction and it's war...and Danny Ryan finds himself in the middle of it.
This book won't disappoint anyone, it's Winslow on top form with complex and believable characters and a great plot,albeit based on Homer's equally great plot!
There's action all the way, shootings,bombings,ambushes,plots,schemes ,twists and the odd bit of laugh out loud humour. Being a massive Don Winslow fan I demolished this in one hit and did little else but read for 2 days of my life.
The only negative to this book is the wait for the next one in the trilogy,great stuff.
Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC of this novel. Don Winslow is a master storyteller and this is no exception. Whether witing about drugs cartels, Californian surfers or crooked cops his stories always come to life and head inexorably to a satisfying conclusion - City On Fire is no exception. It tells the story of Danny Ryan, of Irish descent from Dogtown , which is, to all intent & purposes shard between the Irish and the Italian gangs in an uneasy truce. True to form a crooked cop shows up here as well and his & Danny's lives move towards an inevitable coming together. Danny is yet another in a long line of Don Winslow's unforgettable characters as this book is up there with his best and that is a recommendation if ever there was one.
1986, Providence, Rhode Island and the Irish Murphy and Italian Moretti crime syndicates have an arrangement to share the organised crime spoils of the city. The Italians have gambling, drugs and protection rackets while Irish have the docks, the unions and the loan sharks. Some of the alcohol and cigarettes the Murphys liberate from the docks even ends up in the Moretti protected clubs so that everyone gets a cut. The arrangement was brokered by the heads of the families, Jacky Moretti and John Murphy but now the next generation, sons Pat and Liam Murphy and Peter and Paul Moretti, are flexing their muscles and wanting more. All it takes is one spark to start a gang war that will shatter the peace and burn everything in its path.
The spark that ignites the war is a beautiful woman, who Winslow compares to that of Helen of Troy and her role in the Trojan war. The minute he saw her Danny Ryan, a member of the Murphy clan, knows she’s going to be trouble. She arrives at the annual clambake attended by both gangs, in the company of Paul Moretti and immediately Liam Murphy sets his sights on her. Somehow, he steals her away and the payback and bloodshed that results from this threatens to destroy both families.
Danny Ryan, married to Pat and Liam’s sister finds himself elevated from a minor member of the Murphy clan to being very much in the centre devising strategies for a fight he feels they are going to lose. He loathes all the fighting and killing and dreams of being able to walk away and take his seriously ill wife and baby somewhere safe.
Winslow is a master story teller and spins a superb tale with a gripping pace and a large cast of interesting characters. The focus is mostly on the men, with the women staying very much in the background, even as their sons and husbands are being killed. As this is the first novel of a trilogy, it may be that some of the stronger female characters will step up in the future. Recommended for those who enjoy a riveting tale.
Absolutely loved this. I'm a big fan already, so the anticipation levels had been building, and it didn't disappoint. Such a vivid setting for the cast of characters to be dropped into - I could picture it playing out fantastically well on a screen.
Magnificent gangster thriller full of brooding threat between two families one Irish and the other Italian. Starting at a peaceful time with both parties in one another’s company at a Summer beach party the appearance of a beautiful woman is the start of a war. The older wiser heads control it at first but when the Italian head retires to Florida things explode. The main character Danny Ryan is married into the Irish family but has never been appreciated but with the violent death of the elder son he becomes essentially the leader. Full of devious plotting and backhanded deals this atmospheric tale never lets up. The best gangster thriller I’ve read since the Godfather. Superb.
Providence, Rhode Island, 1986: The Irish and Italian mobs have been coexisting in peace, with territories and businesses split up, without letting the outsiders from bigger cities interfere, for quite some time. Naturally, there are issues that lie beneath the surface, but the general amiability holds, to a large extent due to the influence of Pasco Ferri, the soon-to-be-retired mob boss who commands respect from both parties. But the veneer of peace cracks one August evening in a family gathering at Ferri’s place attended by both the mobs—the Morettis and the Murphys—when the playboy-ish Liam Murphy misbehaves with the new superhot girlfriend of Paul Moretti. Danny Ryan, son of the Irish top dog of yesteryears and a lieutenant of the Murphys, witnesses the crack fast developing into an all-out war, and must fight it out in order to ensure his own survival, and that of the people whom he cares about. In addition to the mayhem and misfortune brought about by the gang war, fate deals Ryan multiple misfortunes that put his strength—physical and mental—to test.
City on Fire, the first in the new crime thriller trilogy by Don Winslow is another absorbing mob thriller by the master of the sub-genre. His characters are interesting, layered and lifelike, with all the strengths and vulnerabilities that make them human. The way he narrates it, the manner in which the violence escalates rapidly from a petty, nothing incident to a war that consumes numerous lives feels entirely believable. The sharp dialogues, the crisp descriptions and the brisk plot will keep the reader glued to the pages until the end which, being the first in a trilogy, leaves the field wide open. There are a few characters that, though having little to do in this book, I hope will play bigger, more important roles in the coming volumes.
I enjoyed City on Fire a lot and would like to devour its sequels as soon as possible! My heartfelt thanks to Don Winslow and HarperCollins Publishers for the e-ARC through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.