I actually finished The Further Adventures of Zorro a little while back, but I’ve been neck deep in book edits, I didn’t have a chance to write up my thoughts on it. So it’s a bit late, but as the Joker says…
The Further Adventures of Zorro is the sequel to Johnston McCulley’s Zorro debut, The Curse of Capistrano. Spoiler alert for those who have read the first Zorro book — he gets unmasked at the end. So everyone knows who Zorro is. That eventually would chance in future stories of Zorro, but not in this sequel. Everyone knows Zorro is the young and dashing Don Diego de la Vega. /End Spoiler.
At the start of the book, Don Diego is out about town with a bunch of other young caballeros celebrating. Don Diego has hung up his mask and sword. Zorro has retired in favor of Don Diego getting married to the beautiful Lolita the next day. “I am done with roistering and adventure,” Don Diego says.
What could possibly go wrong, right? Well, that wouldn’t be much fun to read then, now would it? Thankfully for us and unthankfully for Don Diego and his blushing bride to be, Captain Ramon makes a deal with a bunch of pirates to steal Lolita away and kill Don Diego. The pirates succeed in whisking away Lolita, and Zorro sets forth to fight the pirates and save his future wife.
That’s pretty much it for the plot. It’s a straight forward pulp action novel. It does feel a bit repetitive at times. Zorro fights the pirates, gets captures, and then makes a miraculous escape on numerous accounts. Once or twice is fine for the genre, but McCulley was beating a dead horse with that motif. But to be fair to McCulley, The Future Adventures of Zorro wasn’t written as a stand-alone book but was serialized for the Argosy All-Story Weekly. For six issues — May through June of 1922 — the story unfolded to readers. So the repetitiveness makes sense in terms of how it was being presented to readers.
Overall I enjoyed this story. It was fun to read another original Zorro tale and to have old familiar faces return on the pages. The villains are villainous, the heroes heroic, the damsels in distress (which is actually also a negative), swords flashed and flickered in the air, wind billows the sails of the pirate ships. There’s sword fights on land and on sea, daring escapes, and moments of dashing heroism.
My only real complaint is the repetitiveness of the story (which is a real minor one, especially in context of the publication process) and the fact that Lolita is little more than a plot device for the story. That’s not surprisingly either considering the genre and the era it was written. Doesn’t make it great, though, but Lolita does have her moments of being a little more than a damsel in distress.
I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys serialized stories, pulp adventure tales and, of course, fans of the Fox.