PULLING GOD’S TEETH (1882-1886)
Twenty-four-year-old Carlo Como goes out fishing one dawn on the wide river near his northern Italian village of Castrubello. The Pirino has provided a living for the Como family for generations, but this morning Carlo hauls in a very different catch: three large white rocks known as “God’s Teeth.” The valuable stones, coveted by local ceramic-makers, will allow him to marry his love, Tonia Vacci, a worker in the town’s dismal silk mill.
But the fisherman’s good fortune is resented by estate manager Baldassare Gaetano, greedy both for Tonia and the profit from the stones. Carlo’s discovery unleashes a chain of love and jealousy, courage and betrayal, violence and perseverance that will define the Como and Vacci families for decades to come.
Tonia’s brother, Ettore, is determined to advance through life on his own merits and bids farewell to Castrubello. With a hot-headed partner, he forms a construction company and heads south to carve The King’s Road through the mountains of Campania. Ettore soon finds himself fighting an impossible deadline and a band of cut-throat brigands led by the murderous “Corsicano”, who swears to halt the brazen intruder threatening his mountain lair.
PULLING GOD’S TEETH is the first volume of The Last Italian, A Saga in Three Parts, a gripping tale that begins in 1882 Italy and spans more than six decades of social and political tumult. Three generations of the Como and Vacci families face rapacious landowners, deadly epidemics, harrowing warfare, perilous immigration, and Fascist brutality during the Kingdom of Italy’s final sixty-three turbulent years. Throughout, as the characters balance their commitments to love, loyalty, and honor against the harsh demands of physical survival, inscrutable Fate forever stands ready to randomly intervene.