As Frank Costello looks back over his life as head of the most powerful crime family in America, he doesn't focus on the triumphs of his bootlegging empire, his nationwide gambling network, or his de facto control of Tammany Hall. Instead, Costello—the politically connected "Prime Minister of the Underworld"—remembers the lies he's told, the mistakes he's made, and his fateful decision to testify before the televised Kefauver hearings investigating organized crime in America. The novel reaches its climax as Costello—in a naïve attempt to preserve the patina of respectability he's spent his life creating—tries to defend himself before senators out to expose the full extent of the Mafia's reach. The result is a humiliating, very public lesson about who holds the real power in America. This is an historically accurate work of fiction told in Costello's imagined, bitter, street-wise voice.