I really like the hero in this story, a member of Tay Ki (=Daqi) Clan, named Thiat Tiong-tong. He was not very tall, small built, had a black-skinned face and a pair of sharp eyes. He was very smart and loyal.
Tay Kin Clan had few members, but the rules were very strict. This little clan had a feud with five big families. Thiat Tiong-tong and his fellow brother, Im Ceng, broke the clan's rules and they were banished from the clan for three years. If after 3 years they could show that they were worth to be Tay Ki members, they could rejoin the Clan.
In his difficulties, Thiat Tiong-tong always be able to evade his enemies. He even be able to save others. Unfortunately, Im Ceng mistakenly thought that Thiat Tiong-tong had betrayed Tay Ki Clan and tried to kill him every time. When Im Ceng realized his mistake, it was a moving scene. He was told that 'surrounded by many enemies, Thiat Tiong-tong had a chance to save only one person. And he chose to save you, while he himself fell off a cliff.'
The relationship between Thiat Tiong-tong and Sui Leng-kong, the girl he loved, was unique and strong. He was, at first, afraid to develop his feelings for her because he believed that she perhaps was his cousin, his father's brother's daughter. [It was okay to marry her if she was his cousin from his mother's side.] This couple understood each other perfectly without saying any words.
I was surprised when I reached the end of the book. The enemies were eliminated by supporting characters, while our hero was trapped in an underground cave. Thiat Tiong-tong was learning the highest level of fighting skills but he didn't use it in this story because he was still trapped in a cave when the story ended. I know Khu Lung often ended his books badly, but this has gone too far, don't you agree?
There was still an addendum, though, a conclusion. [Is it written by the author or someone else?] Thiat Tiong-tong finally could escape from the cave after all, with helps from his friends. He married Sui Leng-kong and their son probably was the famous Coh Liu-hiang (=Chu Liu-hsiang).
First published in 1965, this book is one of Khu Lung's best works. Wish he had spent more time to write the ending, though.