Based on a true story, a fictional character is employed as a uniting thread without affecting the historical facts, this cross-genre piece, (Historical/True Crime/Drama/Action), deals with what is certainly one of the least kwn chapters in t only the history of New York City, but WWII and the history of organized crime as well. Operation Underworld was initiated 24-48 hours after the sinking of the S.S. Normandie by a fire in New York Harbor in February of 1942, this event acts as the inciting incident of The Merger. However, records and details of the incident which followed the spectacular fire and subsequent sinking were still being uncovered as late as ten years ago, and it is the deeply engrossing chain of events which followed with which The Merger concerns itself. In this, his first in a six volume set of the Building of Empire series, Paddy Kelly, the son of a Sicilian mother and an Irish father, was educated in New York City universities and lived in New York for over 30 years. An authority on historical drama, he specializes in stories of immigrants who came to New York and ultimately had a profound influence on the course of American history. Mr. Kelly has t only thoroughly researched the factual aspects of this story, incorporating actual White House and military correspondence, and in some cases actual conversations based on newspaper and documented testimony, but has captured the disposition and mood of an event, that taken in context of the newly imposed war atmosphere which was only just descending over America, ranks with the Triangle Factory Fire and the Great Labour Strikes of the thirties. With a frame-of-mind orientating Prologue and an engrossing Epilogue the story is nicely bookended with a deuement which will satisfy the most inquisitive of readers from critical historians to casual page turners sitting in the subway. In her first ten months of the war, America lost nearly 500 ships. The retooling of her factories was estimated to take at least a year, and even before it could be completed, the men who worked in those factories had become Marines, sailors and soldiers. The U.S. Navy was in trouble. To compound their problems, the most famous luxury liner in the world at the time, S.S. Normandie, which was being refitted as a troop ship, had just been set alight and burned to the water-line initiating near hysteria in fear of German saboteurs. At the same time Charlie Lucky Lucia, the alien master criminal kwn as The Boss of Bosses , was serving a thirty to fifty year sentence in a maximum security prison in New York for a crime that warranted ten while he was concurrently fighting deportation from America to an enemy nation, Italy, where Mussolini had a death warrant on him. In one of the most characteristically ironic decisions of the war, the Federal Government requested this founder of organized crime to join forces with America's most secret service, Naval Intelligence, while in the same breath telling him that he must remain in prison with chance for compensation or parole after the war. Although he died in 1962 Charlie Lucky Lucia still touches the lives of millions in literally every country on the planet by having established what is w kwn as the International Drug Cartel and the plan started with the sinking of the Normandie. It's completion was accomplished with the unwitting help of the U.S. Navy. Whether you believe the link between the Federal Government and organized crime is a slender thread, or as Mario Puzo, (The Godfather), wrote, ...contemporary America, where law and organized crime are one and the same. , you will learn how the cornerstone of the International Drug Cartel was laid. You will come to understand what the Italians mean when they say, 'Due Facce della stessa Medaliglia'. Two sides of the same coin.