Mighty Dragon Crosses the River (hereafter Mighty Dragon) was published in 1984. It’s a pretty typical novel for Yun Zhongyue, as it is set in the Ming dynasty and features historical figures and/or organizations. Yun Zhongyue is known for his acute attention to historical detail. Thus, his novels are more “realistic” than most. He even pays attention to the travel permits required during the Ming dynasty to move from one place to another. The lack of such a permit often becomes a source of conflit his characters have to overcome. Because Yun Zhongyue’s characters are not supernaturally powerful; they can’t take out swathes of men by themselves. A mass of government troops is still formidable than even the strongest single martial arts expert.
And Yun Zhongyue’s protagonists are often not part of the martial fraternity or the jianghu at all at the beginning, but get drawn into that world for one reason or another. Mighty Dragon is a bit different in this regard because the main characters are already martial arts experts of the martial fraternity. But many of his novels feature regular people struggling to get by and survive the world they’ve been thrust into. And needing a job is something his characters have to deal with. His novels are not like most where characters wonder around without any money or belongings, yet somehow never find it difficult to pay for things or otherwise survive. Mighty Dragon is also the only one of Yun Zhongyue’s eighty novels (yes, you read that right, and he wrote every one himself without the help of a ghostwriter–by hand) to feature a group of main characters: The Retribution Gods of the Four Seas. His other novels feature a single protagonist.
The excerpt below is a small portion of the first chapter, starting from the beginning. I will post more about Yun Zhongyue in future releases. He’s one of my favorite wuxia authors, and unfortunately he is grossly underrated. But if you want good, detailed historical wuxia, no one does it better.