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Tuesday, 2 May, 2000, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK
Harry battles The Godfather

Harry Potter's latest adventure is hotly anticipated
Harry Potter is set to do battle with the Godfather in US bookshops when the fourth in JK Rowling's series appears at the same time as Mario Puzo's much-anticipated final Godfather novel.

Both Harry Potter and the Doomspell Tournament and Puzo's book Omerta are scheduled to hit the bookshelves in early July.

That wizard's going to be wearing cement shoes by the end of the summer

Mario Puzo's publisher, Jonathan Karp

The Potter book has been in online bookseller Amazon's top 10 for several months - even though it is not yet available.

But it could face stiff competition from Puzo's third and last book Mafia book, which he completed before his death aged 78 last year.

Fans hope it will follow the lead of its predecessors which have sold 20 million copies each.

Potter frenzy

Mario Puzo
Mario Puzo completed Omerta just before his death

Publishers traditionally avoid putting out major releases at the same time as books as strong as Harry Potter.

This is both to avoid the risk of lost business and to prevent an otherwise popular publication being deprived of the publicity of being at the top spot.

However, Random House - Omerta's publishers - said it was not put off by the fearsome reputation of the Potter books about a fictional teenage wizard.

"We're not going to be intimidated by some little kid's book," commented Jonathan Karp, Puzo's editor.

"That wizard's going to be wearing cement shoes by the end of the summer."

JK Rowling
JK Rowling has hinted at the plot for her fourth book

But for all Karp's fighting talk, the three earlier Harry Potter books have flown out of US book shops.

Rowling has been whetting appetites for the latest instalment by saying it will feature the death of one character and the awakening of the young wizard's interest in girls.

Puzo's short novel follows on from 1969's The Godfather and The Last Don, which came out in 1996. It tells the story of a Mafia prince and his mentor.

Big game

Random House is taking its promotional campaign quietly, planning no major publicity until shortly before it comes out. Karp is unfazed by a relatively low number of pre-orders.

Marlon Brando in The Godfather
Marlon Brando starred in the first Oscar-winning Godfather movie

"We're basically following the same marketing plan we used quite successfully with The Last Don,' he said.

"Mario would be perfectly content with being number two as long as the royalty cheque comes. I'm sure he would have enjoyed the competition. He saw it all as a big game."

The Godfather became the basis for Francis Ford Coppola's film of the same name.

Puzo and Coppola co-wrote the screenplays for The Godfather and its two sequels, earning Academy Awards in 1972 and 1974 for their work.

The Last Don was made into a TV mini-series and Miramax Films is also said to be planning a movie version of Omerta.

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01 Apr 00 | Entertainment
Harry Potter books vanish from shelves
01 Feb 00 | Entertainment
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03 Jul 99 | Americas
Godfather creator dies
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