The Book and the Sword is a wuxia novel by Jin Yong (Louis Cha). It was first serialised between 8 February 1955 and 5 September 1956 in the Hong Kong newspaper The New Evening Post.
Set in the Qing dynasty during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1735–1796), the novel follows the quest of the Red Flower Society, a secret organisation aiming to overthrow the Qing government, and their entanglements with an Islamic tribe in northwestern China. The “book” in the title refers to a Qur’an that was stolen from the tribe while the “sword” refers to a sword given to the protagonist, Chen Jialuo, by his first romantic interest, Huoqingtong. Historical figures such as the Qianlong Emperor, Zhaohui (兆惠), Heshen, Zheng Xie and Fuk’anggan also make appearances or are mentioned by name in the novel. One of the female protagonists, Princess Fragrance, is loosely based on the Qianlong Emperor’s Fragrant Concubine.
This novel was Jin Yong’s debut, and it quickly established him as one of the new masters of the wuxia genre.Alternative English titles of the novel include Book and Sword: Gratitude and Revenge and The Romance of the Book and Sword.
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