Oh, what fun!!! Allende has invented a beginning for the Zorro stories. I remember the TV series and I was totally smitten with the swashbuckling, mysterious avenger. Okay, I was just a kid, but the TV Zorro was a much more convincing character than any other swashbucklers I’d seen—Errol Flynn and Gene Kelly, to name them all. So to learn the family background and early history of this grande—and in the marvelously literate, slyly humorous manner of Allende’s unidentified narrator—was a great treat!!
In the early 1800s, as Diego de la Vega of Alta California reaches the appropriate age, he’s sent off to Spain to learn to be a true Spanish gentleman. He’s a teenager and he likes mastering physical challenges—acrobatics, magic, horses and swords, especially. After arriving in Spain he encounters despotism of a Napoleonic nature and, as events progress, he slowly begins to realize a purpose—a unique and satisfying purpose—for all his energy and drive, as well as his great sense of Justice. His destiny . . .
Being a book, Allende must describe action and feats of daring. And she was very aware that the age of film may have spoiled some people, but for the readers with imagination her descriptions are every bit as thrilling as seeing them on the screen. In the hands of a lesser writer, this might not have worked. But it works for Allende!!!
And it’s great to read of Justice triumphant!!