“The Hong Kong writer, Louis Cha, writing under the pen name Jin Yong from the mid-1950s through the rise of a movie star named Bruce Lee, created what have become the world’s greatest and most beloved martial arts novels. When he passed in 2018, he left behind epic stories of betrayal and honor, intrigue and amour, slashing blades and flashing fists, and a dazzling parade of indelible characters that hundreds of millions of readers have come to love. The arrival of the U.S. edition of The Legends of the Condor Heroes is a major event. Welcome to the world of Jin Yong. Once you’ve entered, you may never want to leave.” Jeff Chang, National Book Award Winner and author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation
"Full of noble heroes and pitched battles, Cha's stories were epic, featuring not just fantastical kung fu swordsmen who can fly and walk on water, but also complex characters and plots woven into dramatic historical events." – CNN
"Widely known by his pen name, Jin Yong, his work, in the Chinese-speaking world, has a cultural currency roughly equal to that of 'Harry Potter' and 'Star Wars' combined." - The New Yorker
"[A Hero Born is] actually one of the most famous works by author Louis Cha (commonly known as Jin Yong), a Hong Kong writer beloved across the Chinese-speaking world." – NPR
"...his works were loved by generations - both in China and worldwide." - BBC
"A Chinese Lord of the Rings." - Irish Times
“The world’s biggest kung fu fantasy writer.” – The Guardian
“In Anna Holmwood’s spirited translation, this action-packed and ideas-laden saga is as revealing of modern as of ancient China.” – economist.com
“…the novel makes use of hundreds of characters to create an epic world of martial arts and entangled human stories, not just about familial bonds and romance, but also brotherhood and patriotism.” – Global Times
“A Hero Born reads like…an early legend, such as the Death of King Arthur.” - GeekDad
“A Hero Born is a stirring epic, full of gravity-defying kung fu, treachery, loyalty and love.” – The Times
“The plot includes betrayal and allegiance in different martial arts schools, and the rise and fall of dynasties.” – Telegraph UK
“…[Jin Yong’s novels have] become a touchstone for generations of readers, and an influence on authors such as Ken Liu.” – The Verge
“The world imagined by Chinese writer Jin Yong is one which celebrates loyalty, courage, and the triumph of the individual over a corrupt and authoritarian state – carried out by no less than heroes who fly through trees and deliver deadly blows to their enemies with a single finger.” – Quartzy.com
“You’ll be rooting for the heroes to the end.” – SFX Magazine, 4 starred review
“Cha…created an imaginary world in his 15 novels – one featuring martial arts, poetry and plots with deep roots in Chinese history, culture and beliefs.” – South China Morning Post
“Prepare to be swept along as our champion gallops towards his nemesis and destiny.” – Daily Mail
"Jin Yong's stories have been passed down in the East from generation to generation and thus nurture people of all ages." - Yan Lianke, Man International Booker-shortlisted author
Kung fu epic from one of the world's bestselling authors, translated for the first time into English.
Jin Yong, the pen name of Louis Cha, was a Hong Kong-based journalist who died last year at 94. Between 1955 and 1972 he wrote 14 novels in the genre called wuxia, historical fiction with lots of martial arts brawling and "the clanging of metal." In this book, the first of the Legends of the Condor Heroes tetralogy published in 1957, he puts all the conventions of the genre to work. A somewhat simple-minded young man named Guo Jing, raised by his mother after his father's untimely death, grows up in a world torn apart by palace intrigues and stewing political factions behind the Great Wall. On the other side, there's a vast Mongol army led by none other than Genghis Khan, or Temujin, who enjoys a good massacre: "His heart quickened, and a laugh bubbled up from within. The earth shook with the shouts of his men as they withdrew from the bloody field." Fighting their way across the landscape with Guo are bands of Song dynasty patriots and traitors as well as legendary martial artists with names like The Eastern Heretic Apothecary Huang and Double Sun Wang Chongyang—oh, yes, and the Seven Freaks of the South (one is blind, one 3 feet tall, one deft at chopping up enemies with a butcher's knife), who would prefer to be known as the Seven Heroes. Jin Yong draws on a body of legend, history, Taoist precepts, and various martial arts traditions to serve up a tale of stylized contests ("Nan threw a bone-piercing awl and Gilden Quan shot a concealed arrow from his sleeve") and good/evil binaries that ends on a satisfyingly cliffhanging note. Though Jin Yong's epics have been likened to Tolkien's and George R.R. Martin's, think Darth Vader's message to Luke Skywalker, "I am your father," as filtered through Jackie Chan and Chow Yun Fat.
Fans of sword-and-sorcery fantasy and historical fiction alike will enjoy this hard-hitting yarn.
Guo Jing is born to be a hero—some day. His father, Skyfury Guo, was a Song patriot, and when he was murdered by those loyal to the occupying Jin army, his mother fled to the land where Ghengis Khan and his people reside, giving birth to Guo Jing. Taken in by the warlord, Guo Jing is raised as a loyal follower of Khan and plans to avenge his father through the army. However, wandering the lands are the Seven Heroes of the South, sworn to find Guo Jing and train him in martial arts. Guo Jing is fated to face an opponent who will test his strength and determination and is connected to the past his mother left behind. The cast of characters, their backgrounds and futures are woven into a pivotal time in Chinese history, providing readers an epic wuxia fiction. VERDICT Newly translated into English, the "Legends of the Condor Heroes" series is an epic, fantastical tale filled with betrayal, brotherhood, and kung fu energy. The first in the series shows the depth of Jin Yong's writing, and the sobriquet of "China's Tolkien" is well deserved. [See Prepub Alert, 3/17/19.]—Kristi Chadwick, Massachusetts Lib. Syst., Northampton