First published in 1978, there is a 1996 movie version of this book, the [english] title is the same as Shaw Brothers' Liok Siau-hong movie made in 1978 with different story (the SB one is about the Embroidery Bandit): Clan of Amazons. I wonder why the marketing people liked the idea of giving an impression that they were lots of s3xy girls in both movies.
103 martial art heroes and 35 million gold taels disappeared in one night. The only witness at first was found alive, although gravely wounded, but later he was murdered in a tight guarded room, along with two trusty guards. The shipping expeditions (such a big job couldn't be handled by one company) responsible of course had to reimburse the lost, but they didn't have such money. One of the leaders decided to ask Liok Siau-hong's help before the deadline ended. He couldn't find Liok Siau-hong because our hero had sailed away to Japan.
But did Liok Siau-hong really go to Japan? The ship he had boarded swept away by a violent storm and he was stranded in a deserted island. After a month living like Robinson Crusoe and eating banana, he found a village (ha-ha!). The people there were high-level skilled heroes, led by a genius little old man. This old man was the brain behind the disappearance of the 103 heroes and 35 million gold taels. After meeting Liok Siau-hong, the old man wanted to hire him to assassinate the recent emperor, because none would believe Liok Siau-hong would do such a thing, therefore Liok Siau-hong would never be caught. The old man wanted Liok Siau-hong to become an invisible killer. Our hero refused to cooperate, of course, so the bad guys kidnapped his lover, a beautiful woman named Sha Man, whom he met in the island. Liok Siau-hong must save Sha Man and find the missing men and gold taels, because now the imperial guards wanted him, for they had thought he was the one who had stolen the gold taels.
The old man had a son and a daughter. The daughter loved to cook and eat beef soup. The son, Kiong Kiu (Kiu=nine, see the title. Phoenix refers to 'hong' in Liok Siau-hong), was more genius and dangerous than his father, but he had this strange s3xual problem: he liked to be wh1pped. Kiong Kiu would became the Emperor after Liok Siau-hong assassinated the recent one. Liok Siau-hong would use Kiong Kiu's problem/weakness to get rid of him.
This story also told that one of Liok Siau-hong's friends, known as Honest Monk, was not honest. Honest Monk joined
the old man to seek pleasure of life.