For more than 80 years the story of Zorro, created in 1919 as a serial-thriller hero by Johnston McCulley, has been revisited in books, films and on TV. In her latest novel, bestselling author Allende offers her own vivid retelling of the masked hero's tale. As recounted by Allende, Diego de la Vega, the man who would become Zorro, was born in California in 1795 to a half Shoshone mother and a Spanish nobleman. De la Vega is a product of conflicting cultures; raised to enter Spanish society, he prefers the lessons taught by his shaman grandmother. After witnessing the settlers' mistreatment of Native Americans, he develops a sense of justice that he hones in Barcelona, where his father sends him to finish his schooling.
Here de la Vega creates his alter ego Zorro—the masked hero who rescues victims of political tyranny with dazzling swordplay. His double life continues after he returns to California, where he battles a ruthless Spanish colonizer. But while Zorro is filled with daring missions and narrow escapes, it's no mere page-turner; as always, Allende's literary craftsmanship is impeccable. De la Vega is beautifully drawn, and Allende uses a lively narrative voice to create intimacy and suspense. Equal parts adventure, historical novel and family saga, Zorro is a moving portrait of a hero who is heartbreakingly human.