Monday, May 4, 2015

The Tale of Refining the Sword Like Cleansing The Flower - Gu Long

Published in 1964, the Indonesian version of this book has a simpler title: Mystery of the Ship with five-colour-sail. This book is one of the recommended titles among Khu Lung's works, but personally I still prefer The Legend of Chu Liu Siang.

This book has too many characters and I had difficulty to remember which is which. [It would be easier for me if the nicknames were in bahasa Indonesia - but they were not, they were in Hokkien]. It seems that all important people in the martial world are thrown inside. Some do not have names, and out of my head I remember that two of the lead characters are only called: The Man in White and Little Mistress.

The story begins with the arrival of The Man in White, a swordsman from eastern ocean, who challenges all swordsmen in China. One by one, master swordsmen dies in his hand; until he meets the master of the ship with five-coloured-sail: The Master in Purple Robe. The Man in White is defeated, but The Master in Purple Robe dies due to his wounds. However, The Man in White swears that he will come back in 7 years for a re-match. Who can fight him then?

The hero in this story is Pui Po-giok, who when the story begins is 11 years-old. He is very smart, but doesn't have any interest to learn kung-fu. His grandfather is one of the master swordsmen defeated by the Man in White, and the only one who is alive. The grandfather commands one of his students to look for The Master in Purple Robe, and he takes Pui Po-giok along.

The ending can be easily predicted, that Pui Po-giok will be the greatest swordsman in China and that he will defeat the Man in White. However between those times, there are many things happened and the twists are very good. There are many problems, tears and shames; that the journey of Pui Po-giok- who shall be the only one who will be able to defend China's good name and save uncountable lives of swordsmen - is not smooth; that many want to ruin him and kill him instead. In this case, the English title is more proper.

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