Posted by: vikingsinspace | March 12, 2012

VI.24. Read The Mark of Zorro

Date Accomplished: 3 July 2011

The Mark of Zorro

I needed a good book to read for a long flight that didn’t require my taking notes (such as my Sabatini, Pratchett and Medieval books do) so I opted for a book on my list that wouldn’t require much thought: The Mark of Zorro by Johnston McCulley.  I have enjoyed the swashbuckling type novels for some time, but my real interest in reading The Mark of Zorro came from my enjoyment of the Zorro television show produced by Disney in the 1950s.  I was introduced to the show by my girlfriend, and the two of us would watch an episode or two every night together (it was one of the rare television shows that we both liked).

The book itself was originally entitled The Curse of Capistrano when it was published in serial form.  The title was changed to match the first Zorro film, The Mark of Zorro staring Douglas Fairbanks and based off the book.  I need not bore you with any more details, as there is an excellent introduction in the Penguin edition which provides all the background material on the book and character of Zorro.

Guy Williams as Zorro

The book itself is an easy and entertaining read.  I think a part of it was ruined for me since I already knew the identity of Zorro through the television series.  The book leads up to Zorro revealing his identity at the end as one of the other characters in the novel, and while it may have been more enjoyable not knowing Zorro’s identity to begin with, I’m sure the astute reader would have figured it out without difficulty.

I was also surprised to find that the novel was not so much about Spanish-California “Robin Hood” type character, but was really the story of three different men (Zorro, Captain Ramón, and Don Diego Vega) and their attempts at courting the Seniorita Lolita.  This did not detract from the novel at all, but simply gave a romantic character to Zorro that is somewhat lacking (by necessity) in the Disney television series.  Despite this, there is still plenty of sword play and adventure to make it a fun and exciting novel.  I’d hate for my thoughts here to be taken as criticisms; they are really more surprises.  McCulley wrote many more Zorro stories after this one, and I may be tempted to read the some day, but for now, I have enjoyed this one, and must move on to other things.


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