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The Mark of Zorro: 10/04/08
Tonight I reach a milestone in my book reviews. The Mark of Zorro is my 1000th review!
Twenty years before Batman started patrolling Gotham City at night, Señor Zorro, the "Curse of Capistrano" was protecting California. He first appeared in the serial The Curse of Capistrano by Johnston McCulley in 1919. A year later he burst onto the silver screen, brought to life by Douglas Fairbanks. If you ever have a chance to see the film with live music, do it!
After the success of the film the book was republished in 1924 with the title of the film, The Mark of Zorro. The book came "illustrated with scenes from the photoplay" in the form of three photographs of Douglas Fairbanks: one as Don Diego Vega and two as Zorro. The book has since been republished (as you can see from the cover art) but I was lucky enough to read the 1924 version.
Let's face it, I'm not going to be able to write a dispassionate review this time. I grew up passionate about three superheroes: Zorro, Batman and Superman. Nearest and dearest to my heart is Zorro because he's the only one who's looking out for my home state.
The focus of the novel (more so than the film) is on Lolita Pulido and her search for a husband. Her three options are Captain Ramón, Don Diego Vega and Señor Zorro. What she doesn't know is that Vega and Zorro are the same man. How could she? Vega acts as if "his blood runs with water" whereas Zorro is a man of action. Vega only wears a blade as part of his formal dress while Zorro is a master swordsman and a marksman with his pistol.
The one place where the story is weakest is in Diego's motivation for risking life and limb as a bandito when he is the son of the most influential nobleman in California, one that even the Spanish appointed governor has to curry favor to. Don Diego isn't tragically orphaned by mobsters like Bruce Wayne. Fortunately though the book rarely dwells on this in lieu of the romance and the derring-do. It's only in the last chapter that Don Diego explains himself and his hinting at 10 years of study starting at the age of 15 was later expanded upon by Isabel Allende in her novel aptly called Zorro. While her novel was a noble attempt to fill in the blanks of Don Diego's life, I think she missed the mark.
Comment #1: Sunday, October, 5, 2008 at 17:52:25
Congrats on your 1000th review! That's awesome!
Comment #2: Sunday, October 5, 2008 at 23:00:52
Comment #3: Sunday, October, 5, 2008 at 20:09:04
Comment #4: Sunday, October 5, 2008 at 23:02:40
Thank you! Stick around for the next 1000. :)
Comment #5: Sunday, October, 5, 2008 at 21:50:37
wow! that's a lot of books just to read, let alone, write reviews, congrats on your 1000th review!
Comment #6: Sunday, October 5, 2008 at 23:04:13
Comment #7: Wednesday, October, 8, 2008 at 14:22:54
way to go!!!!
Comment #8: Thursday, October 8, 2008 at 11:16:45
Comment #9: Friday, September, 10, 2010 at 17:26:25
I came here following your comment at my Free Listens blog. I thought your readers might like to know that Librivox now has a free audio version of this book, and the narrator for it is great.
Comment #10: Saturday, September 18, 2010 at 13:39:27
Thank you for the information.