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Authors rally against underworld death threat

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The book he wrote unleashed a death threat against him. Ever since its publication he has been living in hiding. His name? Not Salman Rushdie, but Roberto Saviano.

In 2006 Saviano published "Gomorrah," an examination of the Camorra (the powerful Neapolitan crime syndicate). The nonfiction work is a book so hard-hitting and chilling that it has been called "a literary scream."

Not surprisingly, "Gomorrah" did not go down well with Naples's crime bosses and Saviano was placed under a death threat. He has been living in hiding ever since.

Now, several high-profile British and American writers are joining a drive launched by six Nobel-Prize winners (including peace laureates Mikhail Gorbachev and Desmond Tutu) to collect signatures on a petition that urges the Italian government to do more to protect Saviano. American writers Jonathan Franzen and Jonathan Safran Foer and British authors Martin Amis and Ian McEwan are among 100,000 signatories of that petition.

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