On 11 April 2006, a crack police team broke into a tiny shepherd's hut in the mountains above Corleone, and arrested Bernardo Provenzano, boss of the Sicilian mafia. Provenzano had been one of Italy's most wanted crime bosses for 43 years, but while sightings were reported all over Europe and as far as London, he had never gone far from home. After his arrest, one of his few requests was to marry his devoted long-time companion, Saveria, who had stood by him through the years on the run. An enigmatic figure known variously as the Tractor, the Accountant, Uncle Bernie and even the Axe Man, Provenzano is a master of reinvention. In the broken down shepherd's hut where he was arrested, there were silk shirts and cashmere sweaters in the wardrobe, two handguns, and a manual typewriter where he wrote his extraordinary letters, revealing the workings of a criminal mastermind. When he took over, Cosa Nostra was on its knees after a disastrous policy of all-out war on the state. Provenzano set about restoring the organisation's power, with a strategy that took the mafia underground and infiltrated business, law enforcement, and politics at the highest levels.This is the story of how he did it, told by the investigators who tracked him down, the spies in the system who worked for him, the police officers who arrested him, and the men closest to him inside Cosa Nostra.
Clare Longrigg was born in England in 1963. She is a journalist, who has worked on the Guardian and the Independent. She has written widely about the Italian mafia and published two books, Mafia Women, based on the stories of women in Italian organised crime, and No Questions Asked, about women in the US Cosa Nostra. She lives in London.