The “Lord of the Rings” of Chinese literature is finally being translated into English

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. It’s a world familiar to many readers of wuxia (martial-arts related fiction) writer Jin Yong, a pen name for Louis Cha, the best-selling author in the Chinese-speaking world. Though Cha’s fantasy worlds rival J.R.R. Tolkien’s every bit in creativity, breadth, and depth, his works remain relatively unknown to English readers because of a conspicuous lack of translations. Now his Condor Trilogy (1957), arguably the most celebrated of the 93-year-old writer’s works, is finally getting translated into English. Like Tolkien, the themes of justice and heroism are also central to Tolkien’s works. But unlike the British writer’s fantasies about hobbits, elves, and orcs, Cha’s world is in fact rooted in China’s past, a sort of historical fiction that reimagines alternative “what if” scenarios in history. Legends of the Condor Heroes , the first book of the Condor trilogy, is set in 1205 in the Southern Song Dynasty of China, at a time when […]

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