This book is a pleasant read but certainly not amongst the author's better efforts. The translation perhaps does not do justice to the original work in Chinese. Anyway, if you can, grab The Deer and The Cauldron, of which 2 books were already released in the trilogy, (Oxford University Press in HongKong, not the other OXford Univ. Press sites which do not do justice to this great book by not listing it.). Another wonderful read in this genre is the Blades From the Willows trilogy by HuanZhuLouZhu (publisher: Wellsweep, in UK, sold in US by Cheng and Tsui), translater: Robert Chard. Again 2 of the 3 books are available, although only 1 is available in the US. If you can grab a hold of either of these gems, be prepared for a treat. I have read many, many science fiction and fantasy books, from Tolkien to McCaffrey to Pratchett etc., and found that the Chinese Martial Arts novel genre is just as engrossing and entertaining as any I've read. Works like these should not be limited to the Chinese-literate but be translated to English to be enjoyed by the Chinese-illiterate as well.