THE SPANISH SMILE by Scott O'Dell

THE SPANISH SMILE

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

It's difficult to remember that this island castle, domain of the fanatical tyrant Don Enrique de Cabrillo y Benivides and prison for his beautiful daughter Lucinda, is a contemporary setting. That is the intent of Don Enrique, who won't allow electricity, radio, or newspapers on the island and forbids his daughter to visit the mainland or read anything published in the 20th century. Don Enrique also boasts of having sealed up his wife's lover in her closet (the stone wall he had built still stands, though the wife has fled), and he has imported a succession of pretty young gringas, none of whom has met his standards for a mistress. In the course of the story, after Lucinda has made one unsuccessful attempt to escape the island, and after the eighteenth gringas has been sent off (her offense was playing a modern record on a forbidden player) and a nineteenth, more promising replacement arrives, Lucinda becomes aware that all is hot right: The eighteen rejected gringas have not been sent home but lie in eighteen crystal caskets in the castle cellar vault; and--between importing conquistadors' bones for reburial and ordering a nineteenth casket--Don Enrique is currently plotting to seize a nearby atomic power plant as part of his plan to regain the land from Spain and effect revenge upon the gringos. After all this, Lucinda's shock of recognition comes across as a bit anticlimactic: "At this moment, as I met his gaze, all of the suspicions that had built up in me during the past weeks suddenly came together in one unshakable truth. My father, Don Enrique de Cabrillo y Benivides, was deranged." The melodrama comes to a head when Don Enrique is killed by the deadly bushmaster snake that guards the caskets, and Lucinda, aided by a coast guard cutter and a young anthropologist in her father's employ, must battle Don Enrique's island army and his sinister henchmen to gain control of the island and her own future. Hokey extravaganza with a vengeance, but sure to find its breathless audience.
Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 1982
ISBN: 0449700941
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1982




MORE BY SCOTT O'DELL

ChildrenTHUNDER ROLLING IN THE MOUNTAINS by Scott O'Dell
by Scott O'Dell
ChildrenISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS by Scott O'Dell
by Scott O'Dell
ChildrenMY NAME IS NOT ANGELICA by Scott O'Dell
by Scott O'Dell