Johnston McCulley


The Mark of Zorro (1919)



The Mark of Zorro (1919)

The Mark of Zorro

I had a Zorro book as a kid. I have no idea where it came from--I'm sure my mom didn't buy it for me. It may have been left at the house by the previous occupants, like the James Bond books I eventually read and loved. It was an older book, and I don't even remember the cover, but I do remember some details quite clearly, such as Zorro's servant being dumb--but not deaf--servant. Someone snuck up behind him to "test" to see if he really was deaf, and fired a gun directly behind him. Luckily the servant saw the person, and steeled himself not to flinch. I always wondered whether I--even knowing that a shot was going to be fired directly behind me--could keep from flinching.

So when I saw that there was a Zorro movie coming out--and it looked awful--I had a sudden yearning to read the story of my childhood. Of course the book is either completely lost, or in my parent's attic and unavailable until temperatures drop. So I searched to see if I could find the book, but discovered that I knew neither the author nor title. All I know was that it was a Zorro book.

What I ended up with was The Mark of Zorro (The Original Zorro) by Johnston McCulley with Zorro: The Masters Edition Vol. One on back order.

The Mark of Zorro is not what I read as a child. In The Mark of Zorro Zorro's identity is secret, which it wasn't in the book I read, so although that was a perfectly reasonable plot device, it obviously didn't work for me, since I already knew who Zorro was. And I knew that it wasn't going to be great literature or historically accurate.

But it was fun!

I love swashbuckling adventures. I can forgive a lot given a good fencing duel or sword fight.

However now I really want to read Zorro: The Masters Edition Vol. One, which is a collection of the Zorro short stories, to see if the story I remember is there. And because one of the things I liked about the Zorro was how hard he had to work to keep his secret identity. I found it fascinating, and assuming that the story I read was in fact a McCulley story, more thought was put into timing and how Zorro had to work to keep his identity secret.

So this wasn't a great book, but it was fun, and I'm looking forward to Zorro: The Masters Edition Vol. One.
Rating: 7/10