Zorro, by Isabel Allende. Swashbuckling without the swagger.

Zorro, By Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende’s tale of the legendary defender of justice, the famed masked crusader Zorro, takes its time in the telling. In addition to following his life from birth to old age, Allende sprinkles her text with historical background, commentary about the ways of men, women and governments. While it is a story worthy of the time it takes to read, it does require a certain patience and taste to appreciate fully.

Refreshingly centered on a character who hales from a Hispanic heritage, this story meanders from the shores of Alta California, when Los Angeles was a mere pueblo, to the battlefields of Europe during the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte and back again, coming full circle, as the “eye-witness” first-person narrator peers omnisciently into the minds of characters historical and fictitious. Reading the motives and thoughts of all, we are privy to the pure and impure thoughts of everyone we meet. Nevertheless, the story remains firmly grated, allowing for the steamiest of scenes to occur “off-screen” and leaving them open to the reader’s interpretation.

Although there is a lot of sword-play, and some very real discussions of the horrors of the slave trade, the mistreatment of Native populations in both the Caribbean and the American West, and war, the violence is tame.

The only disappointment rests in its failure to recount the true adventures of daring-do familiar to fans of Zorro as recounted in other popular versions of the story.

Sex = S

Violence = V

Questionable Behavior = 0

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