What do you think of when someone says Isabel Allende? The House Of The Spirits? Nice solid family saga type storytelling? Eva Luna?


I know. That’s why I picked it up at the library. What was Isabel Allende doing writing something called Zorro The Novel. Not a adaptation of recent films, no real tie in to previous cinematic versions (no credit on Zorro’s creators). Just a new novel about the origin of Zorro, still Don Diego de la Vega, and his adventures California. What was she playing at.

Well. Having read it, and being aware of its ilk (the comics origin story) it is both remarkably faithful to what has come before and yet a very contemporary take. The nearest thing I could compare it to is Batman Begins, another painstaking origin explanation which is at leisure to do the pre-Batman action as much as the pointy ears. Indeed every aspect of Zorro’s skills, persona and outfit are given more than cursory attention (almost to Power Girl boob shot levels) and this reducto is almost ad absurdum level. And yet this is (here comes the word) a rollicking good romance. There is adventure, derring-do from the moment Zorro’s mother (I told you it goes back a long way) attacks the local mission. She also manages to get away with the biggest problem with a character whose adventures tend towards the episodic – namely an ending. For much like Batman Begins, her ending is the beginning.

In short, Zorro The Novel, is a whole heap of fun and more literary authors should be pumping out stuff like this.