Hot Book Du Jour: Don Winslow’s ‘City On Fire’ Is First In Mob War Trilogy On Italian-Irish Mobs In Boston

Author Don Winslow has set his first three-book series since his bestselling Border Trilogy that focused on the battle between the DEA and Mexican Cartels. Winslow’s City On Fire sets off a different criminal war, when it gets launched September 2021. The sequel City of Dreams comes September 2022, followed by the third and as yet untitled book that follows a year later in fall 2023, all from William Morrow/Harper Collins.  All three books are finished, and they will be shopped for screen shortly after the Memorial Day holiday.

The trilogy focuses on two criminal empires – one Irish, the other Italian – that control all of New England, until a modern-day Helen of Troy tears them apart and starts a brutal war. The main character, Danny Ryan, is forced to grow from a street soldier into a ruthlessly efficient leader to protect his friends, his family and the home he loves. Fighting the Mafia, the local cops, the Feds – everyone – Danny builds a dynasty.

But per Winslow, City on Fire is more than just a crime story – it’s a retelling of the classical Iliad.

“The ancient Greeks gave us all the themes we still use in modern crime fiction – honor, courage, cowardice, loyalty, betrayal and tragedy,” Winslow said. “I wanted to see if I could tell that story in a modern context and still have it stand on its own.”

The plot of City On Fire directly tracks that of Homer’s epic. Each character and plot point have analogies in the Iliad, the Aeneid ,the Odyssey, Greek tragedy and classical mythology. Winslow has created an entire world, taking stories that are 2,000 years old and melding them with contemporary crime fiction. The first book introduces Ryan and takes him across years and from New England to Hollywood to Las Vegas.

Winslow has set The Border Trilogy at F/X; Satori is set up at Warner Brothers with Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way; The Force has James Mangold and Matt Damon attached at Disney, with a Scott Frank script; Winslow’s Neal Carey Series is set at MRC with Rian Johnson, and several of the novellas in his latest title, Broken, are in the process of landing. He’s repped by The Story Factory and CAA.

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