Audie Award Nominee, Romance, 2013
Based on Johnston McCulley’s The Curse of Capistrano first published in 1919.
Set in Los Angeles during the era of early 19th-century Colonial Spanish California, the story introduces us to wealthy, young aristocrat Don Diego de la Vega, son of the richest ranchero in the country. Don Diego is an idler who has never concerned himself with more than the cut of his clothes. Unlike other full-blooded youths of his age, he presents himself as a fop, lacking in vigor, vitality, and strength. But Vega’s timorous reputation is merely a mask to conceal his alter ego—El Zorro. As Zorro, dressed in black and wearing a mask, he is transformed into a cunning swordsman who fearlessly pulls off dashing and daring escapades in his quest to avenge the helpless, aid the poor and oppressed, and punish cruel officials. Deemed an outlaw by California’s corrupt governor, he is ever-hunted by the Commandante of La Reina de Los Angeles, Capitan Ramón, and his henchman, Sergeant Pedro Gonzalez.
Forced to find a wife or lose his inheritance, Diego sets off to romance the fiery, outspoken Lolita Pulido, the most beautiful señorita in Los Angeles. Unimpressed with Diego’s passionless efforts to win her affections, Lolita finds herself attracted to the dashing and courageous Zorro. With the Pulido family having been impoverished by the corrupt governor, her father would see her married to the rich Don Diego. At the same time, the nobly born but morally dissolute Captain Ramón has also taken an interest in the fair señorita, making matters worse. As tensions heighten between Ramón and the Pulido family and pursuit of the masked avenger intensifies, Zorro leaves his mark on those who would perpetrate injustice.
The Mark of Zorro, masterfully adapted into a full-cast audio drama by the award-winning Hollywood Theater of the Ear especially for Blackstone Audio, is an exciting, action packed, swashbuckling adventure that will have listeners on the edge of their seats.
©2010 Zorro Productions, Incorporated (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“A succession of thrills from first page to last…Original…Captivating.” (Boston Traveler)
Full of humor, snark and action, this audiobook is well worth the listen, though it alters a few things from McCulley's original version. The most notable alteration, and the only reason I gave this particular version 4 stars instead of 5, is that it entirely skips the d??nouement, 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 fun recording.
I grew up on Golden Age Radio, and while I love to read, I typically consume more books via audio thanks to a job that lets me listen while I work. As an aspiring writer, I try to read a great deal of non-fiction in addition to a variety of fictional genres. I especially love history, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and old-style gothic horror.
It's sometimes easy to forget just how much fun Zorro really is, even with all the cheese of the genre and the naivete of the story. But as a lifelong fan of the character, I keep coming back time and again to sample the different versions, and invariably I walk away with a big grin when I find one like this. Zorro is best when played straight, even if the story around him is over the top, and Val Kilmer deserves high praise for pulling it off in classic style. If you know the story, have fun with this take on it. If not (how is that possible?!), this is about as good of an introduction as you could ask for.
One of the best! An amazing cast including Val Kilmer mixed with music and great sound effects. I gave this a listen after I noticed it was nominated for a Grammy and it did not disappoint!
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