The Godfather Returns is a novel written by author Mark Winegardner, published in 2004. It is the sequel to Mario Puzo's The Godfather, which was originally published in 1969, and The Sicilian (1984). As the original novel covered the years 1945 to 1955, and included significant backstory on Don Vito Corleone's life since childhood, Returns covers the years 1955 to 1962, and includes significant backstory on Michael Corleone's life prior to the first novel.
The story picks up immediately after the end of the first novel. The events of the film The Godfather Part II take place within the time frame of this novel, but are only mentioned in the background. Many of Puzo's characters are expanded upon, especially Fredo Corleone, Tom Hagen, and Johnny Fontane, and new characters like Nick Geraci and Francesca Corleone are introduced. The other half of the novel goes deeper into Michael's role as Don and his dream of becoming legitimate. The novel expands on Michael's service in World War II as well as his brother Fredo's secret life; it is revealed in this novel that Fredo is a homosexual, which drew significant disapproval from many fans of the series. The novel shows how Sonny, Fredo and Tom Hagen join the family business, as well as the deaths of Pete Clemenza and Sal Tessio.