Sunday, March 17, 2024

Stefania Auci's The Triumph of the Lions continues her saga about a prominent Sicilian dynasty

This second in a trilogy (after The Florios of Sicily, 2020) about a real-life Italian industrialist dynasty opens in 1868, as thirty-year-old Ignazio Florio takes the reins after father Vincenzo’s too-early death. “Swear to me that you will never put work before your family,” Ignazio’s grieving mother Giulia demands, but despite their opposing temperaments, Ignazio resembles Vincenzo in his dedication to the firm above all else.

Ignazio succeeds beyond anyone’s greatest plans, establishing a shipping empire alongside existing achievements in tuna canning and marsala wine. The Florios’ power, plus Ignazio’s marriage to Giovanna, a young baroness who adores him unrequitedly, guarantees their societal acceptance.

Business and family are deeply interlinked here, and Auci’s smooth narrative explores this dynamic from multiple angles, depicting the inner workings of business deals alongside personal triumphs and romantic regrets. Giovanna, a greatly sympathetic character, suffers marital neglect while raising their children, and we later see the torch pass again from father to son.

A diverting, informative saga and detailed tour of Sicily, from bustling Palermo to the picturesque outlying islands.

The Triumph of the Lions, which was translated from Italian into English by Katherine Gregor and Howard Curtis, was published by HarperVia, HarperCollins' imprint for international voices, on March 12th. I wrote this review for Booklist's March 15th issue. The Lions of Sicily is a new TV series on Hulu (which I haven't yet seen) that's based on this internationally bestselling series. There will be a third book, The Fall of the Florios, out in late August.


  1. I began watching the Hulu adaptation of Lions of Sicily, but got distracted by trip planning -- I'm far and away behind on my television watching. Ha! I'd, um, these days it seeems, um far rather read. Um.