In Naples, there is a new kind of gang ruling the streets: the paranze, or the children’s gangs, groups of teenage boys who divide their time between counting Facebook likes, playing Call of Duty on their PlayStations, and patrolling the streets armed with pistols and AK-47s, terrorizing local residents in order to mark out their Mafia bosses’ territory.
Roberto Saviano’s The Piranhas tells the story of the rise of one such gang and its leader, Nicolas—known to his friends and enemies as the Maharajah. Nicolas’s ambitions reach far beyond doing other men’s bidding: he wants to be the one giving the orders, calling the shots, and ruling the city. But the violence he is accustomed to wielding and witnessing soon spirals beyond his control—with tragic consequences.
FACT OR FICTION?
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