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Zorro: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 3, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1st edition (May 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060778970
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060778972
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #718,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. 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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

The fictional Zorro debuted in Johnston McCulley’s serialized potboiler in 1919; since then, he’s made some dramatic comebacks. By recasting this swashbuckling hero in the context of his personal history, Allende follows in the path of her recent historical fiction like Daughter of Fortune (1999) and Portrait in Sepia (2001). Critics agree that while Zorro is light and entertaining, it is also a serious piece of literature—even if some reviewers were confounded by Allende’s mix of history and reality. Allende inserts a postmodern bent into her traditional storytelling, drawing feminist and racial themes and presenting a narrator with a hidden identity. Critics mainly disagreed about Zorro. Most thought him convincingly contradictory, while a couple viewed him as one-dimensional. Despite these complaints, most agree that Zorro is a captivating, modern version of the famed legend.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.


More About the Author

Born in Peru and raised in Chile, Isabel Allende is the author of eight novels, including, most recently, Zorro, Portrait in Sepia, and Daughter of Fortune. She has also written a collection of stories; three memoirs, including My Invented Country and Paula; and a trilogy of children's novels. Her books have been translated into more than twenty-seven languages and have become bestsellers across four continents. In 2004 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Isabel Allende lives in California.

My thoughts on Kindle en Español:

"El impacto de los libros electrónicos es formidable y está remeciendo a la industria del libro tanto como a los lectores. Aunque todavía la idea es relativamente nueva en español, ya se ha extendido en otras lenguas tan dramáticamente, que muchos autores nuevos publican en versión digital, saltándose a las editoriales. Confieso que soy adicta a mis Kindle y mi IPad, donde leo con letra grande y clara, en una pantalla liviana. Antes viajaba con una maleta de libros, ahora llevo mi biblioteca en la cartera y puedo adquirir nuevos libros en cualquier parte del mundo en pocos segundos. Dicen que los jóvenes le tienen miedo al papel y no tienen el hábito de leer - lo cual no es totalmente cierto - pero ahora pueden leer en sus pantallas. También dicen que la ficción desaparecerá, pero eso jamás ocurrirá, porque la humanidad necesita historias tanto como necesita oxígeno. Tal vez en el futuro el libro, ese compañero maravilloso, será un objeto de coleccionistas y de bibliotecas y nosotros, simples mortales, leeremos en pantallas. Pero seguiremos leyendo, de eso no tengo dudas." Isabel Allende

Customer Reviews

A great airplane book or summer read.
J. Marren
As nice as it is to read a well-written, fun story about "Zorro", some facts are hard to overlook.
Biblibio
Her writing is heavily narrative with little character development.
coyotewillow

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

108 of 110 people found the following review helpful By Heidi Anne Heiner VINE VOICE on May 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Isabel Allende reinvents the character first introduced by Johnston McCulley in his "The Mark of Zorro" many years ago. Here we have a Zorro firmly planted in his own time, but relevant to our time and sensibilities. Through Allende's masterful prose, Diego de la Vega, aka Zorro, becomes a hero of flesh and bones, courageous and human. She vividly recreates him and other characters we can believe in. I found myself able to overshadow the overpowering memories of Antonio Banderas, Tyrone Power and Errol Flynn in the role as I read. She also describes the landscapes and settings and makes them important characters in their own right. The story is intriguing and hard to set down when other responsibilities beckon you away and back into regular living.

More often reinterpreted on the movie screen than in literature, this book, along with a few other recent treatments of Zorro, will hopefully inspire more authors to explore this interesting character, one of the United States' own Robin Hood characters.

The novel has wide appeal, literary and well-written for those wanting a richer reading experience while exciting and heroic for those wanting a light summer read. It's a healthy reading indulgence.
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Format: Hardcover
Historically, whenever and wherever oppression exists, the people who are subject to it look for a heroic figure to defend them and to punish their persecutors. Such a paladin was Robin Hood, another is the legendary Zorro. One of my favorite authors, Isabel Allende, has reached deep into her ample well of talent and brought forth a hero who is more human than demigod. She has breathed fresh life into the Zorro of myth, and gifted him with a heart, a soul, a good mind, an indomitable spirit and human fallibilities. This beautifully told tale of adventure and classical romance is chock-full of swashbuckling swordplay, ocean voyages, pirate attacks, Native American lore and rites, detailed fencing episodes, social injustice, secret underground societies, evil villains, duels at dawn, damsels in distress, unrequited love, gypsy camps, noble drawing rooms, drama, rollicking humor, vivid characters, tremendous energy...and so much more. The story's narrator is even a mystery person whose identity is not revealed until the conclusion. Ms. Allende's "Zorro" is a glorious literary adventure which will provide hours of entertainment for young and old alike.

Don Diego de la Vega was born in Alto California at the end of the 18th century to a Spanish aristocrat, and the daughter of a Shoshone shaman and a Hispanic soldier turned deserter. Diego is raised alongside Bernardo, the son of his Indian wet nurse, and the two milk brothers remain inseparable throughout their lives. Although born into privilege, Diego becomes aware of social injustice at a very early age because of his mestizo blood and his bonds of friendship and brotherhood with Bernardo.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Isabel Allende's enchanting new novel, "Zorro," traces the origins of the legendary folk hero, who evolved from a privileged and foolish young man into an intrepid warrior. Zorro's mission was to use his wits, agility, and formidable fighting skills to defend the poor and downtrodden in early nineteenth century Spain and California. Allende laces her narrative liberally with humor, irony, wit, and dozens of colorful characters.

The story begins with the birth of Zorro's alter ego, Diego de la Vega, in Alta California. We follow Diego to Barcelona, Spain, where he changes from a playful and callow youth into a passionate young man. The author enlivens her story with intrigue, sword fights, romance, treachery, adventures on the high seas, prison breaks, and fascinating historical background about the relationship between the Native Americans, the Spaniards, the French, and the Catholic Church during those turbulent times. There is never a dull moment in this nearly four hundred page book, and the translation from the Spanish by Margaret Sayers Peden is excellent.

Without compromising the spirit of fun that permeates her tale, Allende makes it clear that the Indians in North America were victims of genocide. The Spanish conquerors came to the New World, greedy for land and treasure, and they murdered the Indians, burned their villages, and enslaved those who survived. Allende creates a number of unforgettable Native American characters.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Scott Masterton VINE VOICE on May 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is the first time that I have read anything by Isabel Allende. Initially, her narrative style put me off a bit. I'm used to a lot on dialogue that describes the situations rather than a lot of narration telling me what is happening. HOWEVER, within a couple of chapters, I was completely pulled into the story by Isabel Allende's tremendous ability to invite her reader into the world that she so adroitly creates. I found myself smiling as each piece of the puzzle that makes up the story I know so well fell into place. Allende allows her readers to observe young Diego De La Vega as each of his skills, personality traits and burning desires snap neatly into place. None of the characters motivations are left to chance, which makes for wonderful story telling.

Her detailed descriptions of early California, Barcelona and Panama make the reader believe that Alende actually has seen and experienced the 18th century world that she describes. Also, she pulls no punches when it comes to her description of the indians and their mistreatment by early European aristocrats. The deep rifts between the upper class and lower class that is currently still in place in Mexico is made clear.

Although the world of 18th century California is detailed, this story is character driven. Diego De La Vega (Zorro) is an extremely three dimensional character that runs the gamit of human emotion and Allende allows her readers to see his flaws as well as his attributes (as is so often true, the two are one and the same). Bernardo, who in previous incarnations of the Zorro story is a typical "sidekick", is anything but a "sidekick" in this novel. Bernardo is a complex, spiritual young man that in many ways is the moral superior of Diego.
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