By Isabel Allende

      "A child of two worlds -- the son of an aristocratic Spanish military man turned landowner and a Shoshone warrior woman -- young Diego de la Vega cannot silently bear the brutal injustices visited upon the helpless in late-eighteenth-century California.  And so a great hero is born -- skilled in athleticism and dazzling swordplay, his persona formed between the Old World and the New -- the legend known as Zorro."

      "This is the story of Diego de la Vega and of how he became the legendary Zorro.  At last I am able to reveal his identity, which for so many years we kept secret, though I do so with some unease, since a blank page is more intimidating to me than the naked swords of Moncada's men.  With this document I intend to set the record straight before the slanderers who are determined to defame Zorro have their say.  Our enemies are many, as is often the case with those who defend the weak, rescue damsels in distress, and humiliate the powerful.  Naturally, every idealist attracts enemies, but we prefer to count our friends, who are much greater in number.  I am compelled to recount these adventures because it serves little purpose for Diego to risk his life for the sake of justice if no one knows of it.  Heroism is a badly remunerated occupation, and often it leads to an early end, which is why it appeals to fanatics or persons with an unhealthy fascination with death.  There are all too few heroes with a romantic heart and a fun-loving nature.  Let me say it straight out: there is no one like Zorro."

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