"Gomorra" author to flee Italy after death threat

Wed Oct 15, 2008 11:22am EDT
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By Stephen Brown

ROME (Reuters) - The author of the best-selling book "Gomorra" about the mafia in Naples, which has been made into a hit movie, wants to leave Italy to try to have a more normal life after reports that the mob wants him dead by Christmas.

After reports that the "Camorra," as the Naples mafia is known, has added urgency in its threat to kill Roberto Saviano, the 29-year-old who has been in hiding for two years said he was tired of being a "prisoner" of his book's success.

"I'm going away from Italy, at least for a while, then I'll see," he told La Repubblica newspaper.

"Right now I don't see why I should keep living like this, as a prisoner of myself, my book, my success," said Saviano.

"I want to take a walk, get some sun, walk in the rain, meet my mother without scaring her and being afraid."

First published in 2006, the gritty chronicle of how the Camorra dominates life around Naples and makes its money -- by a local boy who saw his first murder victim at 13 -- has sold 1.2 million copies in Italy and been translated into 42 languages.

Saviano worked in a textile and building firm controlled by the mob to research his book, which narrates the Camorra's involvement in protection rackets, drug trafficking, smuggling and even illegal waste disposal.

Now "Gomorra" has hit the big screen and is a candidate for the Oscars, the mafia is said to be even angrier and wants Saviano killed by the end of the year.   Continued...

<p>Italian script writer Roberto Saviano attends a news conference for the film "Gomorra" at the 61st Cannes Film Festival, May 18, 2008. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier</p>