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'Datang Youxia Zhuan' is a 'wuxia' novel by Liang Yusheng. It was first serialised between 1 January 1963 and 14 June 1964 in the Hong Kong newspaper 'Ta Kung Pao'. The novel is the first part of a trilogy, and is followed by 'Longfeng Baochai Yuan' and 'Huijian Xinmo'.
The novel is set in the Tianbao era (742756) of the Tang dynasty during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong. The emperor appoints the incompetent Yang Guozhong as chancellor because his cousin, Yang Yuhuan, is the emperor's favourite concubine. Nepotism and cronyism prevail as Yang Guozhong places his relatives and supporters in high-ranking posts in the Tang government, which becomes increasingly corrupt over time. The power-hungry barbarian An Lushan wins the emperor's trust through flattery and gets promoted to the position of 'jiedushi' (military governor) of Fanyang. An Lushan wields great power in his hands and secretly builds up his military forces in preparation for a rebellion.
In the 'wulin' (martial artists' community), the outlaw leaders Dou Lingkan and Wang Botong compete fiercely for the position of chief of the 'wulin'. Dou Lingkan and his brothers have the support of Duan Guizhang, a renowned swordsman who is also Dou's brother-in-law. On the other hand, Wang Botong cooperates with An Lushan to achieve his goal, recruits several followers, and sends his children to be trained by martial arts experts.
Duan Guizhang maintains a close friendship with Shi Yiru, a former bureaucrat. Their wives give birth to a boy, Duan Keye, and a girl, Shi Ruomei, respectively. An Lushan sends his men to bring Duan Guizhang to meet him but Duan was not in then, so Shi Yiru went in his place and ends up being held hostage in An's residence. Duan Guizhang and Tie Mole, Dou Lingkan's godson, go to rescue him. They fail and Shi Yiru dies while Duan Guizhang is seriously injured. They are saved from An Lushan's men by Nan Jiyun and Huangfu Song.
Kongkong'er, one of Wang Botong's henchmen, shows up and steals the baby Duan Keye in order to force Duan Guizhang not to side with Dou Lingkan. Dou Lingkan is killed by Wang Botong's daughter, Wang Yanyu, in a fight and loses his title as the chief of the 'wulin'. Tie Mole escapes with Nan Jiyun's help when the Dou family is destroyed and he vows to avenge his godfather. Duan Guizhang sends Tie Mole to learn martial arts from a reclusive master. Seven years later, after Tie Mole has achieved a certain level of prowess in martial arts, he returns to the 'wulin' but finds himself stranded in the chaos of the An Shi Rebellion.
Tie Mole embarks on a series of adventures. He undermines the support for An Lushan's rebel forces by capturing Wang Botong's stronghold, exposes the truth behind a 20-year-long mystery, and helps to clear Huangfu Song's name. At the same time, he also finds himself entangled in a love triangle with Wang Yanyu and Han Zhifen. He saves Emperor Xuanzong and flees with the imperial forces after the capital cities Luoyang and Chang'an fell to An Lushan's rebel armies. He is also involved in the incident at Mawei courier station, when the discontented Tang soldiers blamed Yang Guozhong for their plight, killed him, and demanded that Emperor Xuanzong execute Yang Yuhuan.
The Battle of Suiyang is featured in the later chapters and many heroes, including Nan Jiyun, sacrifice themselves to defend the city from An Lushan's forces. Tie Mole, Han Zhifen and the other survivors continue their legacy by recruiting heroes to assist the Tang government in suppressing the rebellion.
In 2008 the novel was adapted into a Chinese television series titled 'Paladins in Troubled Times' by producer Zhang Jizhong. It starred Victor Huang, Shen Xiaohai, He Zhuoyan, Liu Tianyue, TAE and Lu Chen.
Category:Novels by Liang Yusheng
Category:Novels set in the Tang dynasty
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