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The Mark of Zorro

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  2,489 ratings  ·  161 reviews
Old California, in a bygone era of sprawling haciendas and haughty caballeros, suffers beneath the whip-lash of oppression. Missions are pillaged, native peasants are abused, and innocent men and women are persecuted by the corrupt governor and his army.

But a champion of freedom rides the highways. His identity hidden behind a mask, the laughing outlaw Zorro defies the tyr
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Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 15th 1998 by Forge Books (first published September 13th 1919)
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The Three Musketeers by Alexandre DumasThe Princess Bride by William GoldmanThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre DumasTreasure Island by Robert Louis StevensonThe Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dfordoom
Johnston McCulley’s The Curse of Capistrano, serialised in the pulp magazine All Story Weekly in 1919, marked the first appearance in print of Zorro. The character was destined to become one of the iconic adventure heroes of course, but while the novel was quite successful what really got the ball rolling was the 1920 movie adaptation.

The movie changed the title to The Mark of Zorro and was a huge hit, propelling Douglas Fairbanks to superstardom. It was so successful that the original novel was
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Chris
Ah Zorro. As a kid, I remember really enjoying Disney's Zorro series with Guy Williams. More recently I've had a lot of fun with the new Antonio Banderas movies. However, I'd never read any of the original adventures so I decided it was high time I change that. Being very familiar with the character as presented in TV and film, I found a few things surprising as I read his first adventure The Mark of Zorro.

Firstly, I was a little bummed that I already knew about the character because the author
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Judy
I LOVE this story! Take The Scarlet Pimpernel and add healthy heaping of Spanish flavor and voila! The Mark of Zorro. I can see myself listening to this again in a few years. Even though it was predictable, it was fun and entertaining.


More reviews on My Blog.
Felicia
I finally read one of the early Zorro books. Generally, those old adventure classics are pretty great (The Prisoner of Zenda is fantastic, as is Captain Blood). Anyway, The Mark of Zorro was great! While it was one of those books where the hero never even gets wounded, still it was a fun romp. I definitely recommend it to classic adventure fans.
Morris Graham
Since I had read the recent version of the Zorro tale by Chilean author Isabel Allende published in 2006, and watched all of the movies on TV and even the recent Antonio Banderas versions, I decided to go back to the past and read the original. I can't deny it. I love the Zorro tale, a swashbuckling, courageous defender of the weak and helpless. So now to review the original published in 1919.

The original story had multiple punctuation errors, namely placing a period in front of words that did n
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Dhuaine
May 28, 2009 Dhuaine rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: mix
I have been a fan of Zorro since I was... 8? Maybe even younger... Anyway, in my teen days (16? 17?) I found The Curse of Capistrano in district library. It looked a bit suspicious to my eyes - thin and with illustrations inside - but I carried it home anyway and merrily gobbled down in two or three hours.
I was sorely disappointed. The plot was thin, full of unbelievable and unrealistic twists; the characters were either black or white. Basically, everything in it screamed either 'young adult',
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Alice
I first encountered Zorro as a character in an old movie my parents liked. Since then, I've sought out the stories when I could. When I discovered a number of them as radio plays through Audible, I had to pick them up.

This is the book that introduced the character of Zorro in 1919, originally titled, "The Curse of Capistrano." Johnston McCulley changed some aspects of the character since this first publication, but the sense of adventure and heroism is all there. As is the character's thirst for
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K.
Picked up at Newton library. I know. What was I thinking? Zorro? Hee hee.

Fun though. This is the ORIGINAL Zorro written in 1919-yep the one that started it all.

I almost bagged it in the beginning, because the writing leaves something to be desired. Lots of braggadocio and one already knows the story and all that.

However, Don Diego grew on me and the story actually wasn't exactly what we've always seen and it turned out to be a fun read.

More of a Spanish "Scarlet Pimpernel" than I remembered.
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Robert
I am frustrated because I do not know enough (yet) to decide whether this is a great or terrible book. The author is either a genius or an imbecile and the story is either a cultural prototype or painfully derivative. I just don't know.

Is the stilted language an insightful imitation of a badly translated story or merely bad?

Is the plot stunningly original or numbingly repetitive?

Are the characters the brilliant progenitors of stereotypes or only shadowy successors?

Bob Kane admits the Zorro inf
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Thom Swennes
Johnston McCulley created a super-hero that inspired a generation. In his novel The Curse of Capistrano McCulley introduced the world to Zorro. I remember watching Guy Williams portraying the masked swordsman as he fought injustice in Spanish California. I must admit that the film character outshined the original in this book but I could still see the inspirational base. In The Curse of Capistrano, Don Diego de la Vega is portrayed as a lazy eunuch uninterested in exerting any physical action an ...more
melissa1lbr
My thoughts: This was a good old fashioned, swashbuckling story. I love Zorro stories (though I've never read one, so I'm basing it on the movie), but this one was just perfect, complete with do-gooder outlaw, beautiful lady, and corrupt leaders. While the story is a bit simplistic, black and white, and just plain obvious, I think it is meant to be that way. And it still is charming. I really liked the full cast narration (Val Kilmer was not hard to listen to). The accents and the voices and the ...more
Leah Good
Robin Hood meets The Scarlet Pimpernel in this tale of Spanish dominated California. While the government has grown more and more oppressive a hero has been training himself to right wrongs. Now Zorro rides the countryside, stealing from soldiers what they have stolen from the people and punishing those who have dealt unjust punishment. It is this man who captures Lolita Pulido. At the same time the rich but languid Don Diego Vega has also asked for her hand. Can Zorro bring justice to the south ...more
Witbeckja
IL have read this book this quarter and i feel very different when i read this. I dont know why, but i just feel like doing something nice for someone and not let anyone know who i am or why i did it. It makes me think of cops and charities. I think of cops because they help innocent people just like zorro. I think of charities because he does it for free and he helps the people who cant help themselfs. I love zorro because he is very kind and he doesnt even care about getting all the fam. Part ...more
Phil Clymer
An exciting mix of Superman with Audie Murphy. Good prevails over evil. All is right with the world.
Kat
Jul 12, 2011 Kat rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of caped crusaders
Shelves: 2011
An excellent page-turner of an adventure story, though the audio version alters a few things from the original version of The Curse of Capistrano. The most notable alteration, and the only reason I gave this particular version 4 stars instead of 5, is that it entirely skips the dénouement, a.k.a. the last couple pages of the written version. Audio listeners thus miss out on Zorro's reveal, which entirely changes the end of the story. It's a shame, really, because this is otherwise a gloriously f ...more
Nola
The story of the first serialized action hero started off in pulp magazines, and the flavor definitely remains. This is not to say the story lacks skill; it would not be the success it is without it. But in many ways it remains the precursor to the comic book hero - the characters are rather flat and generally stereotypical, the deception is relatively easy to guess (though of course I have my childhood knowledge of the identity behind the mask), and the thing that keeps you reading is the page ...more
Juliette
The Kindle edition was not so great. It wasn't the worst Kindle story I've read, but there were enough issues to throw me off once in a while. (numbers in place of letters, "die" instead of "the", etc.)

A goodreads friend rated this as fun and entertaining and I needed that after finishing a true crime book. So I picked it up and was not disappointed.
Nancy
I listened to this as 9 podcast installments by B.J. Harrison who produces and narrates The Classic Tales Podcast. These are old novels presented to interest the public in classic literature. I listen to them because they are "good for me," to expose me to works I have missed along the way. Usually I find the older style of writing a bit tedious and less than engaging. However, I was pleasantly surprised by The Mark of Zorro.

Generally I listen to episodes of these old tales in between more conte
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Amanda
Jul 05, 2008 Amanda rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: romantics and action fans
Recommended to Amanda by: Myself
Really good so far!

Okay, I finished it, and -- SPOILER! -- I really liked his double identity as Don Diego Vega, a caberello, and Senor Zorro, a highwayman and thief. Really different from the movie, though.
Erika
Fast-paced story of, Zorro-defender of justice(yay), Lolita-California beauty(aww), and Captain Ramon-the bad guy (boo). The original Zorro!
Michaela
This book is... wow, amazing! I absolutely LOVED it! I recommend to everyone ages 9/10 and up. Such a wonderful book! :)
Phil Jensen
HECK YEAH!!! Behold the adventures of Zorro- avenger of the oppressed, master of swordsmen, and king of romance. In this masterpiece, Johnston McCulley serves up a relentless swashbuckling cheese parade, and I love every page of it.

Some people suggest that this book is identical to The Scarlet Pimpernel. Bah! Are grape juice and red wine one and the same? This book is full of manliness, and that book is full of crumpets. I can even imagine women enjoying this novel, if they can withstand the sm
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Dan 1.0
This isn't a bad book. There just aren't any surprises if you know Zorro's true identity before you go in.
Bill Meeks
It was great to revisit this one. I haven't read it since I was a teenager and it definetly held up. The first dozen or so chapters are a little repetitive: Diego chats, runs off, Zorro appears, repeat. Once the Señorita Lolitia and Zorro begin their affair the plot speeds along. By the time he's assembled his Avengera I couldn't put it down. I spent an extra hour on the eliptical to finish!

A true classic that inspired and informed modern superheroes. Spanish style, a dramatic flair, and a heart
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Yukina Sawada
12/17-1/7 60 minutes
The Mark if Zerro
Macmillan readers

7 words summary
1 Knight 2 Fight 3 Protect 4 The weak 5 Carve 6 Mark 7 Z

DQ
Have you ever support someone who were in a trouble?

MA
I have help a old lady who couldn't carry a heavy luggage at the station.

1/8-1/14
85 minutes
7 word summary
1 Spain 2 Land 3 Won 4 Love 5 Last 6 Disclosed 7 Character

DQ
Do you have someone you know but you don't know about whom or who hides his or her character ?

MA
I know a lady who lives near my house. But almost all o
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Suzannah
So this book is basically a retread of The Scarlet Pimpernel, only in Spanish California. The oppressive government is being terrorised by Senor Zorro, a masked caballero who dashes about righting wrongs, scaring baddies, and giving back the taxes as fast as the Governor's men can take them. Secretly admired by all right-minded inhabitants of the little pueblo of Reina de Los Angeles, Zorro is hunted by the authorities. Which of the local dons is behind the bold highwayman's mask? Certainly not ...more
Bt
Dec 22, 2014 Bt rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Bt by: It's famous, and I wanted to read something from the 1920s
Shelves: victorian-novels
Zorro always seemed to me like this really cool exciting adventurer, which is just the kind of thing I like. But somehow, I don't know... he just didn't quite do it for me. I didn't particularly like him as a character, and the story was just ok.

Some bones I have to pick with Zorro:

-He overdoes the secret identity thing to the point where he is just messing with his friends' minds. He upsets them so much unnecessarily! I would say he's actually cruel to them! He puts his girlfriend through a lot
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Jeff Miller
This is the first Zorro novel and I ran across on Project Gutenberg.

So far I am really enjoying it since it is quite a fun read. This first telling of the story of Zorro contains the adventure you would expect, but also a lot of situation humor as Zorro once agains mocks those who would capture him while defending the poor and seeking romance.

Kind of a lone Robin Hood taking care of injustices to the poor and others.

Reading this story it has so many elements that remind me of the comic book supe
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Jenn Ravey
From thepickygirl.com:

El Zorro, the Curse of Capistrano, is, according to the government, a highwayman, a vicious bandit who steals from the hardworking. But the caballeros, friar, and poor know the truth. El Zorro is a hero. Defending the defenseless and meting out justice in a corrupt government is Zorro’s mission, but he does it with such aplomb, he wins the hearts of the just, including Senorita Lolita Pulido, the daughter of a man with good blood who has been disgraced by the governor.

El Zo
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Sam
Not too profound love adventure with some highlights.

Interessant, diese teilweise filmische Darstellung, vor allem von humorvollen Szenen (wie die Schafherde, die erst von Zorro und dann von seinen Verfolgern auseinandergetrieben wird, sodass der Schäfer ganz verzweifelt ist).


Leider sonst sehr durchschaubar - der Clou der Geschichte war von Anfang an offensichtlich; das hätte man durch einen anderen Aufbau sicher besser verdecken können (oder man hätte den Leser als Mitwisser mit einbeziehen kön

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Why is it so difficult to find original Zorro stories aside from this? 3 12 Jul 30, 2013 09:30AM  
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“Zorro also is part of the bandido tradition, most closely associated with the possibly mythical Joaquin Murrieta and the historical Tiburcio Vasquez. As well as these local California legendary figures, Zorro is an American version of Robin Hood and similar heroes whose stories blend fiction and history, thus moving Zorro into the timeless realm of legend. The original story takes place in the Romantic era, but, more important, Zorro as Diego adds an element of poetry and sensuality, and as Zorro the element of sexuality, to the traditional Western hero. Not all Western heroes are, as D. H. Lawrence said of Cooper's Deerslayer, "hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer," but in the Western genre the hero and villain more often than not share these characteristics. What distinguishes Zorro is a gallantry, a code of ethics, a romantic sensibility, and most significant, a command of language and a keen intelligence and wit.” 1 likes
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