A Novel

Book - 2005
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A swashbuckling adventure story that reveals for the first time how Diego de la Vega became the masked man we all know so well

Born in southern California late in the eighteenth century, he is a child of two worlds. Diego de la Vega's father is an aristocratic Spanish military man turned landowner; his mother, a Shoshone warrior. Diego learns from his maternal grandmother, White Owl, the ways of her tribe while receiving from his father lessons in the art of fencing and in cattle branding. It is here, during Diego's childhood, filled with mischief and adventure, that he witnesses the brutal injustices dealt Native Americans by European settlers and first feels the inner conflict of his heritage.

At the age of sixteen, Diego is sent to Barcelona for a European education. In a country chafing under the corruption of Napoleonic rule, Diego follows the example of his celebrated fencing master and joins La Justicia, a secret underground resistance movement devoted to helping the powerless and the poor. With this tumultuous period as a backdrop, Diego falls in love, saves the persecuted, and confronts for the first time a great rival who emerges from the world of privilege.

Between California and Barcelona, the New World and the Old, the persona of Zorro is formed, a great hero is born, and the legend begins. After many adventures -- duels at dawn, fierce battles with pirates at sea, and impossible rescues -- Diego de la Vega, a.k.a. Zorro, returns to America to reclaim the hacienda on which he was raised and to seek justice for all who cannot fight for it themselves.

Publisher: New York : HarperCollins Publishers, 2005
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780060778972
Branch Call Number: F All


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Also available in Spanish

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WVMLStaffPicks Jan 19, 2015

In this swashbuckling adventure story, Allende retells the story of the famous masked man who can slice his famous trademark 'Z' on the victim's cheek with a flash of his sword. We follow his adventures as a young boy misusing his Indian grandmother's medicines for childish pranks, to Spain where he grows into the mysterious noble hero who rescues damsels from distress, frees prisoners from the deepest, darkest dungeons and hoodwinks pirates and generals. Lyrical, humorous and ribald -- a real page-turner.

Jul 27, 2013

For Allende to take an interest in the Zorro story proves it's really outgrown the Johnston McCulley pulp piece - and Allende understands the mythos and its possibilities way better than McCulley.

Jan 11, 2013

This is an utterly fantastic read. Beautiful, emotional, funny. It follows the life of Diego before he becomes Zorro and it is riveting.

misterpeabody Jan 23, 2012

see the staff picks blog about this title:http://blogs.jocolibrary.org/staffpicks/01/2012/boutrosk/7537/

Nov 16, 2010

The legend of Zoro isn't something that has ever held much interest for me, but I picked up this book because of my love for all of Isabel Allende's books. Unfortunately, I really didn't enjoy this one. I had a hard time getting involved in the story and didn't finish it.

Jun 23, 2009

Zorro is every bit as legendary as the Three Musketeers. This crafty eighteenth-century revolutionary is more than a swashbuckler; he?s also an early type of the mask-and-cape superhero with a secret identity (Zorro, in fact, was first invented as a new caped crusader for a 1919 pulp magazine). In this retelling, we get the origin story of colonial California?s very own Robin Hood. Diego de la Vega is the son of a wealthy Spanish officer and a beautiful Native American woman. Always conscious of his mixed heritage, young Diego witnesses first-hand the shameful inequalities native Californians (including his good friend Bernardo) suffer at the hands of the ruling Europeans. Diego is sent to Spain to complete his education and recruited to La Justica, a secret society dedicated to fighting the powers of oppression and injustice. When Diego returns to California to fight for the rights of the land and the people he loves, the legend of the masked avenger Zorro is born. Author Isabel Allende believes that the glory of this swashbuckler lies in the history behind the hero, everything from childhood dreams to duels with his fencing master to a desperate love affair. There are modern touches as well to endear us modern readers to the old-fashioned tale?social reform, class differences, and a richly detailed historical context that make us love this rapier-wielding, Z-slashing mystery man even more. Allende is a highly accomplished, award-winning, critically-acclaimed novelist, and with Zorro she?s all that and a rousing adventure story.


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