A swashbuckling adventure story that reveals for the first time how Diego de la Vega became the masked man we all know.
'Until that moment Diego had not been conscious of his dual personality, one part Diego de la Vega, elegant, affected, hypochondriac, and the other part El Zorro, audacious, daring, playful.'
Born in southern California late in the 18th century, Diego de la Vega is the son of an aristocratic Spanish military man turned landowner and a Shoshone warrior. From his maternal grandmother Diego learns the ways of her tribe, and from his father, lessons in swordsmanship and cattle branding. It is during his childhood, full of mischief and adventure, that Diego witnesses the brutal injustices dealt Native Americans by European settlers and first feels the inner conflict of his heritage.
At 16, Diego is sent to Barcelona for a European education. In a country chafing under corrupt Napoleonic rule, Diego follows the example of his celebrated fencing master and joins La Justicia, a secret resistance movement devoted to helping the powerless. With these tumultuous times as backdrop, Diego falls in love, saves the persecuted, and confronts a great rival who emerges from the world of privilege.
Between California and Barcelona, the New World and the Old, the persona of Zorro is formed, a hero is born and the legend begins.
After many adventures - duels at dawn, fierce battles with pirates at sea, and impossible rescues - Diego de la Vega, aka Zorro, returns to America to reclaim the hacienda on which he was raised and to seek justice for all who cannot fight for it themselves.