The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber is a wuxia novel by Jin Yong, and the third installment in the Condor Trilogy. It was first serialised from 6 July 1961 to 2 September 1963 in the Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao. Jin Yong revised the novel in 1979 with a number of amendments and additions. A second revision was published in early 2005, incorporating later thoughts and a lengthier conclusion. It also introduced many changes to the plot and cleared up some ambiguities in the second edition, such as the origin of the Nine Yang Manual. As is typical of some of his other novels, Jin Yong included elements of Chinese history in the story, including figures such as Zhu Yuanzhang, Chen Youliang, Chang Yuchun, Zhang Sanfeng, and organisations such as the Ming Cult. The political clash between the Han Chinese and Mongols is also prominently featured in the plot.
During the Yuan Dynasty, a denomination of a certain “Sacred Fire” religion of Persia is set up as the “Ming” sect headed by Yany Po-tien. With him, he has a few assistants who are all highly skilful martial artists. But later when Yang Po-tien commits suicide, the sect soon breaks into pieces without
a head. Meanwhile, a famous swordsman of “Wu Tang” has committed suicide and has left an eight-year-old son Chang Wu-chi who is seriously wounded by one of his enemies. He then goes to Hu Ching-niu, an expert of medicine, for medical treatment. However, after nine years’ time, he is still not completely cured.
One day, a disciple of “O Mei”, Chi Hsiao-fu, is wounded by a mysterious killer, Lady Chin Hua, and is escorted by her daughter to seek medical treatment from Hu Ching-niu. However, both Hu Ching-niu and his wife commit suicide after a serious quarrel and before his death, he tells Chang Wu-chi that there would be a lot of troubles since Lady Chin Hua has re-appeared again.
At that time, the head of “O Mei”, Abbess Mieh Chueh, with her seventeen-year-old diciple, Chou Chih-jo, arrives. She kills Chi Hsiao-fu because Chi has had an affair with Yang Hsiao, one of the assistant directors of the “Ming” sect and has gave birth to a daughter, Yang Pu-hui.
Chang Wu-chi then leads Yang Pu-hui back to her father Yang Hsiao while he himself wanders off. In his dangerous adventures, he finds The Book of Chu Yang and acting according to its directions, he becomes immortal.
Meanwhile, Abbess Mieh Chueh, with her “Heaven Sword”, set out to revenge on the “Ming” since Yang Hsiao has seduced her disciple. She has also asked the other six sects such as Shaolin and Wu Tang to go with her. On their way, Abbess Mieh Chueh captured Chang Wu-chi and Yin Li but the two are soon released.
However, Yin Li is soon being kidnapped again by the assistant of the “Ming”. But then Chang Wu-chi learns that Yin Li is actually his cousin. Later, Chang helps the “Ming” to drive away their enemies and is elected head. However, they are soon attacked by the Yuan government troop and they escape
through a secret subway where they found the members of the other seven sects all murdered. Chang realizes that somebody must has done this in order to put the blame on the “Ming”. In order to find out the truth, he quickly goes to Shaolin only to find that everybody is already killed. Moreover, he finds written on the wall: “We destroy Shaolin first, then O Mei”. Chang then quickly goes to O Mei….
Do you want to know what would he find and who is behind all these intrigues? The Part II of “The Heaven Sword And Dragon Sabre” would explain all this.
The young martial artist Chang Wu-chi has met four ladies in his lifetime;the poor little Hsiao Chao, his cousin Yin Li, the daughter ofYang Hsiao-Yang Pu-hui and the disciple of O-Mei society Chou Chih-jo. Meanwhile, Chang has survived the Sacred Fire Society from danger of being vanished by other martial art groups and is thus elected the Head of the Society. Chang, as the Head, orders to re-organise the society on one hand and on the other,he with to welcome Shih Sun, the ex-leader of the society who is driven mad when his wife and daughter are raped and killed by Yuen Jin, the monk of Shaolin.Furthermore, the dragon sabre is with Shih Sun. On the way to receive Shih Sun, the leader of Wu Tang-Chang San-feng is being poisoned by a mysterious lady-Chao Ming. In order to survive his life, Chang Wu-chi has to promise Chao for anything she wishes for exchanging the redeemed medicine.
However, another bad news comes simultaneously that all martial artists of the six martial arts groups are being poisoned and are dragged by the Yuen army to a temple where they are surrounded by Yuen army who then burn the temple, leaving the martial artists without choice but to fight against the Yuen army and they succeed. Abbes Mieh Chueh attempted suicide in that incident and she succeed as well, leaving Chou Chih-jo to lead O-Mei society.
To fulfill his promise, Chang Wu-chi has to accompany Chao Ming to find Shih Sun and take a glance on the Dragon Sabre but then mysterious things happen, Chang’s cousin Yin Li is killed, Chou is hurt and Chao Ming and the Dragon Sabre are lost. Thus under the advise of Shih Sun, Chang and Chou marry to each other and afterwards, Shih also misses in the mountain. The marriage ceremony takes on one day and in the high light, Chao Ming appears and tells Chang Wu-chi that his step-father is still in the world. Chao will accompany Chang if he will go to rescue his step-father. So, Chang leaves Chou in the place where the marriage ceremony is taking place and goes with Chao to rescue Shih Sun. Chou is very angry but can do nothing. In-fact Shih Sun is black mailed by the Shaolins and is guarded in a mountain by three martial-art experts. Shaolin society then proposes a martial art campaign and the winner of the campaign will decide the future of Shih Sun. In the course of campaign, Shih Sun is survived by Chang Wu-chi, Chao Ming and Chou Chih-jo together with the combination of the heaven sword and dragon sabre.
The Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang collaborates with the villain Song Qingshu (Alex Man) to attack the Mongolians, led by a Princess (a very young Cherie Chung, in a classical flower vase role) and General Tieh Zhen, played by Ti Lung. The imperial forces under the scheming Qingshu, disguise themselves as Ming Cult members in the attack, thereafter framing Zhang Wuji (Derek Yee, in pre-directing days) who is leader of the sect. Familiar Ming Cult members like the Bat King and Wuji’s Godfather the Golden Haired Lion also make supporting appearances, but this movie sits squarely on the rivalry amongst General Tieh, Zhang Wuji and Song Qingchu, who becomes a Dong Fang Bu Bai wannabe with his androgynous transformation, as well as superior martial arts skills.