Peerless Sword

p_sword_adPeerless Sword is a forthcoming wuxia novel. It is a translation of the 1963 wuxia novel 《無雙劍》by Taiwan wuxia author Qin Hong (秦紅). The story follows Huang Bo, a child weiqi prodigy, as he sets out among the rivers and lakes to look for his father who went missing just before a big tournament on Mt. Huang which would decide who would claim the title of “Peerless Under Heaven” and be regarded as the best swordsman among the martial fraternity.

Peerless Sword will be the first official wuxia novel translation to be published since Gu Long’s novel The Eleventh Son was published by Homa & Seka Books in 2004.

As this is an independent publishing venture, your support of this translation is much appreciated. The success of the publication of Peerless Sword will hopefully pave the way for more official wuxia translations in the future.

Stay tuned to this blog for more updates on this project. When a publication date is set, it will be posted here. Thanks for your support!

About the author

Qin Hong (b.1936) is a wuxia novelist from Changhua, Taiwan. After seeing an interview in which wuxia author Xiao Yi told how much money he made writing wuxia novels (it was four times what Qin Hong was making at the Alcohol and Tobacco Board), Qin Hong decided to try writing a wuxia novel.

Previously he had written literary novels, but without much success. This time he spent eight months writing the first portion of what would become Peerless Sword, then submitted the incomplete manuscript to a publisher as part of a writing contest. He didn’t win the contest, but the editor liked the novel so much he decided to publish it anyway. Peerless Sword was published in July of 1963, thus beginning a career writing wuxia novels that spanned more than twenty years, until he put down his pen in 1986.

Qin Hong’s work belongs to the “New School” of wuxia literature, along with Gu Long. His work is humorous with witty dialogue, and he broke new ground in wuxia literature in Taiwan by writing in a more modern style, punchy, lively sentences, more modern terminology, and he even incorporated contemporary ideas and social elements into his work, connecting with readers in a more immediate way than more traditional wuxia novels, which emphasized ancient thinking and customs. His writing is more optimistic than is usual for wuxia: even in the heat of adversity his characters find a way to crack jokes and talk wise.

His work is also more compact, his plots more succinct than most wuxia literature. In his preparation he emphasized the structure of the story which led to tight plots and avoided the many loose ends and digressions that most wuxia novels have, a side effect of publishing serially in newspapers. As a result, a lot of his work is shorter than the average wuxia novel (which easily reaches 1,000+ pages in Chinese).

The humor, wit, and liveliness of his writing, as well as his modern dialogue, has led one scholar to proclaim that Qin Hong created for himself a unique style of wuxia: “Interesting Wuxia” (趣味武俠), and the style of his writing has led to his works to be referred to as “adult fairy tales. His novels paved the way for the “modernization” of wuxia in terms of writing style and technique,  a feat often credited solely to Gu Long, though Qin Hong actually began this style a few years before him.

All in all, Qin Hong wrote about forty or so novels, as well as numerous short stories. His work has seen publication in Taiwan, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the United States. Peerless Sword will be his first work translated into English.

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