The epic Chinese classic and phenomenon published in the US for the first time!
A fantastical generational saga and kung fu epic, A Hero Born is the classic novel of its time, stretching from the Song Empire (China 1200 AD) to the appearance of a warlord whose name will endure for eternity: Genghis Khan. Filled with an extraordinary cast of characters, A Hero Born is a tale of fantasy and wonder, love and passion, treachery and war, betrayal and brotherhood.
And then a hero is born...
After his father, a Song patriot, was murdered, Guo Jing and his mother fled to the plains and joined Ghengis Khan and his people. Loyal, humble and driven, he learned all he could from the warlord and his army in hopes of one day joining them in their cause. But what Guo Jing doesn’t know is that he’s destined to battle an opponent that will challenge him in every way imaginable and with a connection to his past that no one envisioned.
With the help and guidance of his shifus, The Seven Heroes of the South, Guo Jing returns to China to face his foe and carry out his destiny. But in a land divided by treachery and war, betrayal and ambition, he’ll have to put his courage and knowledge to the test to survive.
About the Author
JIN YONG (pen name of Louis Cha) was a true phenomenon in the Chinese-speaking world. Born in Mainland China, he spent most of his life writing novels and editing newspapers in Hong Kong. His enormously popular martial arts novels have become modern classics and remain a must-read for readers looking for danger and adventure.
ANNA HOLMWOOD is a producer and translator from Chinese and Swedish into English. She is co-founder of the Emerging Translators' Network in the UK.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The book would be a good fit for teenage boys craving action and adventure, and is reminiscent of martial arts movies. While I personally am not a huge fan of these flicks (and by extension, this book), one can’t help but get caught up in the story. Guo Jing is like a leaf in the wind, being blown from one event to the next. Many of the scenes feature detailed battles, some of which go on for pages. It is easy to envision exactly what is happening, and the book flies by on a breakneck pace. The action and the plot form a cohesive element that powers the book from beginning to end. Don’t look for deep characterizations here, it’s just not that type of book. Energy is focused on the entertainment, both in the battles as well as the participants. Groups of fighters are known by their individual as well as their group names. The Four Daemons of the Yellow River should strike fear in the heart of any of their enemies, and there was no way I was not going to get involved with The Seven Freaks of the South. I would recommend not reading the CHARACTERS section in the beginning of the book. The list of names might seem overwhelming, and it really didn’t help me with reading the book. However, if you get caught up in the series, it will be a helpful reminder of who everyone is, as the individual descriptions are short but illuminating. The book seemed to end, not necessarily as a cliffhanger, but certainly with a lot of strings left unraveled. I am guessing this is because there will eventually be twelve books that will tell the entire story, and where “A Hero Born” stopped must have been the most logical spot. I am not an expert on translated works, but since nothing in the text seemed jarring or out of place, I would consider the work to be satisfactory. Fun read, especially for those fans of kung fu movies. Five stars. My thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advance electronic copy of this book.
I was so excited to see this amazing book translated into English! Chinese culture is so fascinating to me and who better to read about it from that a native Chinese citizen? I found the world building to be so wonderfully written and even though the translation was a little skewed at times, how can you blame the translator for trying to embody Chinese ideas and words into an entirely different language? Stupendous and such a wonderful way to spend your time! I enjoyed every moment of this book! I can't wait for more of Yong's books to be translated into English so I can enjoy more of his world building! I was given an advanced copy of this translated work through NetGalley.
I liked the basic storyline of this book and I felt it had plenty of potential. However, in my opinion, the book was kind of hard to read. The flow of words seemed clunky and that really made it hard to get fully into the story. I also felt that there was a severe lack of excitement to the fight/battle scenes. I thought that it was difficult to pin down the actual identity of this book. I anticipated epic fantasy but often ended up thinking B-movie or video game (which I both enjoy, by the way). I'm not sure if this was caused simply from it's translation or from tweeks that had been made to make it more modern and mainstream.
Kung-fu Chinese fantasy novel - not for everyone This is the first of twelve volumes in this fantasy Kung Fu series by a celebrated Chinese author, Jin Yong. This novel centres around two sons of martial art heroes and their fate. Guo encounters a variety of martial art experts and the text is full of fights and Kung fu moves. There’s some historical context but the whole experience is long and not particularly engaging, unless you’re a fan of that sort of thing. The fact that I found this easy to put down says a lot. I completed it, hoping for a bit more inspiration but unfortunately it didn’t happen. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.