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Zorro: A Novelby Isabel Allende
Synopses & Reviews
A child of two worlds — the son of an aristocratic Spanish military man turned landowner and a Shoshone warrior woman — young Diego de la Vega cannot silently bear the brutal injustices visited upon the helpless in late-eighteenth-century California. And so a great hero is born — skilled in athleticism and dazzling swordplay, his persona formed between the Old World and the New — the legend known as Zorro.
"Allende's lively retelling of the Zorro legend reads as effortlessly as the hero himself might slice his trademark 'Z' on the wall with a flash of his sword. Born Diego de la Vega in 1795 to the valiant hidalgo, Alejandro, and the beautiful Regina, the daughter of a Spanish deserter and an Indian shaman, our hero grows up in California before traveling to Spain. Raised alongside his wet nurse's son, Bernardo, Diego becomes friends for life with his 'milk brother,' despite the boys' class differences. Though born into privilege, Diego has deep ties to California's exploited natives — both through blood and friendship — that account for his abiding sense of justice and identification with the underdog. In Catalonia, these instincts as well as Diego's swordsmanship intrigue Manuel Escalante, a member of the secret society La Justicia. Escalante recruits Diego into the society, which is dedicated to fighting all forms of oppression, and thus begins Diego's construction of his dashing, secret alter ego, Zorro. With loyal Bernardo at his side, Zorro hones his fantastic skills, evolves into a noble hero and returns to California to reclaim his family's estate in a breathtaking duel. All the while, he encounters numerous historical figures, who anchor this incredible tale in a reality that enriches and contextualizes the Zorro myth. Allende's latest page-turner explodes with vivid characterization and high-speed storytelling. Agent, Gloria Gutierrez at Agencia Literaria Carmen Balcells (Spain)." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Allende's mesmerizing narrative voice never loses timbre or flags in either tension or entertainment value. To describe her as a clever novelist is to signify that she is both inventive and intelligent." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Allende's tale risks but resists descending into melodrama at every turn. The up-to-date, even postmodern ending makes for a nice touch, too, and will gladden the heart of anyone ready in his or her heart to carve a few Zs into the bad guys." Kirkus Reviews
"Allende is a beguiling storyteller, and Zorro provides a rich palate for her customary embellishments." Library Journal
"This is a full-blooded retelling of the old masked-man legend, and it crackles with action." Fort Worth Star-Telegram
"Zorro is a light and ripe adventure yarn, a female-friendly variation on an already famous figure of boy-driven pop culture. (Grade: B+)" Entertainment Weekly
"One of those rare and perfect matches of subject and author....A picaresque novel with postmodern flourishes...the sinfully entertaining Zorro is serious fiction masked as a swashbuckler." Chicago Sun-Times
"Rippling with humor and energized with a storyline so robust that it swings from the chandeliers, Zorro is great fun....[A] big, sprawling story, superbly told. Allende...succeeds in breathing new life into this decades-old character..." Miami Herald
"While reading Zorro...you are sure that you are enjoying the story of the best kind of hero....So you turn the pages, cheering on the masked man. You love him. You want him. But then Allende nudges you, and you aren't quite so sure." Los Angeles Times
"It is not possible to sum up the surprises, rescues from prisons, flirtations...but the book has plenty of what Hollywood would call non-stop action, and this is told with a pleasure so keen on the author's part that it's difficult not to be swept up in it." Craig Nova, The Washington Post Book World
"Equal parts adventure, historical novel and family saga, Zorro is a moving portrait of a hero who is heartbreakingly human." People
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, Diego de la Vega is a child of two worlds. His father is an aristocratic Spanish military man turned landowner; his mother, a Shoshone warrior. At the age of sixteen, Diego is sent to Spain, a country chafing under the corruption of Napoleonic rule. He soon joins La Justicia, a secret underground resistance movement devoted to helping the powerless and the poor.
Between 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.
A swashbuckling adventure story reveals how Diego de la Vega became the masked man Zorro, champion of the powerless and the poor.
About the Author
Born in Peru, Isabel Allende was raised in Chile. She is the author of seven novels, a collection of stories, three memoirs — most recently, My Invented Country — and a trilogy of children's novels. Allende lives in California.
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