The Legendary Twins

The Legendary Twins

The Legendary Twins (绝代双娇) also known as "The Twins", "Handsome Siblings", "Legendary Siblings", "The Twin Heroes", or "Amazing Twins" (and other similar variations) is a Wuxia novel written by renowned wuxia novelist Gu Long. It was written between 1966 and February 1969. It had a total of 126 chapters. The plot is based on a pair of twin brothers who were separated at birth and raised under different circumstances. This resulted in a great difference between their characters and personalities. They first saw each other as enemies, but gradually became friends and eventually acknowledged each other as brothers.

ummary of plot

Jiang Feng (江楓) and Yan Nantian (燕南天), who were respectively known as ‘Most Handsome Man on Earth’ (天下第一美男子) and ‘Best Divine Sword on Earth’ (天下第一神劍), became sworn brothers. One day, Jiang Feng was injured during an adventure and was rescued by the Yi Hua Palace (移花宮), which is the most mysterious and secretive sect in the Jianghu. The members of the sect were all women. Although they were highly skilled in martial arts, they chose to leada life of seclusion in the Xiu Yu Valley (繡玉谷), and even placed a sign at the entrance of the valley which read ‘Any intruder will be killed without exception’.

While in Xiu Yu Valley, both of the young mistresses of the palace, Yao Yue (邀月) and Lian Xing (怜星) fell in love with the flirtatious Jiang Feng and entrusted him with all the protection and love they could. However, Jiang Feng did not like the two mistresses despite their beauty as they were extremely cruel. Instead, Jiang Feng fell in love with the slave girl Hua Yuenu (花月奴) and soon Hua Yuenu became pregnant. During her sixth month of pregnancy, Jiang Feng decided to bring Hua Yuenu with him and escape from the valley.

Unfortunately, Jiang Feng’s servant Jiang Qin (江琴) betrayed him and reported his escape to the two mistresses and a group of robbers called the ‘Twelve Star Signs’ (十二星相), who eventually caught up with the couple. The mistresses forced Jiang Feng and Hua Yuenu to die in a fit of anger and jealousy. At the same time, Hua Yuenu had just given birth to a pair of twins before her death. Lian Xing could not bear to see the twins die so she devised a vicious scheme, to separate the twins and make them kill each other when they grow up. Yao Yue brought one of the twins with her while the other twin was supposedly taken care of by Jiang Feng’s sworn brother Yan Nantian.

When Yan Nantian arrived on the scene and found his sworn brother dead, he was extremely furious and he killed a few of the robbers. However, he was tricked by the Xian Guo Shen Jun (獻果神君) to the Villains’ Valley (恶人谷) to find Jiang Qin. The Villains’ Valley is located in the Kunlun Mountains range, and is home to several villains, including murderers, thieves, robbers and swindlers, who are escaping from the law. Among these villains, the ‘Ten Villains’ (十大惡人) are the most infamous ones. Although they are not very powerful in martial arts, they are a formidable group who rely on their intelligence and cunning to achieve victory. They instill fear into the hearts of several righteous pugilists.

When Yan Nantian entered the valley, he was tricked by the Ten Villains and severely wounded. The infant he was carrying with him ended up in the hands of the villains. Later, the highly skilled physician named Wan Chunliu (万春流) managed to nurseY Yan Nantian back to health under the pretence of using Yan to test his drugs. Meanwhile, the Ten Villains decided to raise the child and ‘nurture’ him into becoming the most evil villain ever.

After more than a decade, the pair of twin brothers had grown up into two fine young men. Hua Wuque (花无缺), who was raised by Yao Yue, had been taught martial arts by her. At the same time, Xiao Yu’er (小鱼儿) who was raised by the Ten Villains, had been taught several tricks and underhand techniques by them.

One day, Yao Yue discovered that Yan Nantian had suffered severe wounds more than a decade ago in the Villains’ Valley and had since became a mental patient. To prevent Xiao Yu’er from discovering his true identity, she sneaked into the valley and told Xiao Yu’er that those responsible for his father’s death were from the Yi Hua Palace. She tried to lure Xiao Yu’er to Xiu Yu Valley and let Hua Wuque fight him to the death. However, Xiao Yu’er took matters very lightly and did not bother to go to Xiu Yu Valley. The mistresses of Yi Hua Palace became very impatient and sent Hua Wuque into the Jianghu to track down Xiao Yu’er and kill him, but they never told him the reason.

At the same time, Xiao Yu’er had become extremely mischievous and uncontrollable, playing pranks on the Ten Villains such that they could no longer stand him and they decided to ‘send’ him out of the valley. Xiao Yu’er ventured the Jianghu alone, and his adventures led him to his meetings with Tie Xinlan (铁心兰) and Zhang Jing(张菁). They were all deceived by Jiang Qin to find a treasure left behind by Yan Nantian.

They encountered Hua Wuque on Mount Emei where a battle ensued. Hua Wuque had acted on Yao Yue and Lian Xing’s orders to kill Xiao Yu’er but Xiao Yu’er managed to escape cunningly. Since then, the duo had become enemies. As they gradually grew older and got to know Murong Jiumei (慕容九妹), Tie Pinggu (铁萍姑), Su Ying (苏樱) and a few maidens. There started a series of love stories between the duo, who started to develop a close friendship. However, due to a dispute over Tie Xinlan, which got the three of them into a love triangle, the duo was still unable to resolve their conflict.

Xiao Yu’er managed to expose Jiang Qin’s evil schemes to put the Jianghu into danger, but Yan Nantian let him off after capturing him out of kindness. Later, Yao Yue forced Hua Wuque to challenge Xiao Yu’er to a fight to the death, but Xiao Yu’er consumed drugs to fake death. After his apparent death, Yao Yue unsuspectingly revealed her initial evil intentions to make the twin brothers become enemies and kill each other. The duo recognized each other and the novel ends on a happy note with the twin brothers being finally reunited and acknowledging each other.

Key Characters

* Xiao Yu’er (小魚兒) – the son of Jiang Feng and Hua Yuenu. He was raised by the Ten Villains in the Villains’ Valley as an infant, and trained to become an even more evil villain than them. His face and body was covered with cuts and scars, but he still has a form of charm which enables every woman who had met him before unable to forget him. He was intelligent and witty, and well-versed in medicine and the arts of theft, swindling and disguise. Although he was not an expert in martial arts, his wit and clever mind always helped him to escape from danger. When he first met the honest Hua Wuque, he realized that his tricks were useless on him so he started to abandon the skills taught to him by the villains. He started to learn from his uncle Yan Nantian, becoming a formidable martial artist. Although he often pretended and acted like a bad guy, he was in fact a soft-hearted and kind person.

* Hua Wuque (花無缺) – the twin brother of Xiao Yu’er. He was the successor to the Yi Hua Palace, and the only male in the palace. He was similar in appearance to his father Jiang Feng, who was dubbed as ‘The Most Handsome Man on Earth’. He was well-respected by fellow pugilists for his prowess in martial arts, taught to him by Yao Yue and Lian Xing. He was a gentleman who respected women and behaved in a graceful and polite manner. His actual feelings and personality were often concealed and suppressed inside him, until he met Tie Xinlan and Xiao Yu’er, when the three of them got into a love triangle, which caused him to become lost in his feelings. When his teacher Yao Yue ordered him to kill Xiao Yu’er, he was very unwilling to do so. After the brothers acknowledged each other, he changed his surname to ‘Jiang’ (江).

* Tie Xinlan (鐵心蘭) – the daughter of Tie Zhan. She was very beautiful in appearance, and appears to be soft-hearted, but was actually very strong-willed and rash, even to the extent of being very stubborn at times. She inherited the skill ‘Berserk Hundred Hits’ (瘋狂一百零捌打) from her ancestors, which allowed her to fight in a berserk mode when deciding to perish together with an enemy. She fell madly in love with Xiao Yu’er who treated her very badly initially, but later she fell in love with Hua Wuque who had strong feelings for her. She became involved in a love triangle with Xiao Yu’er and Hua Wuque, often trying to stop them from getting into conflict, which caused her to feel very miserable. Eventually, she met Su Ying who managed to help her resolve her problems. During the final showdown between Xiao Yu’er and Hua Wuque, she decided to entrust herself to Hua Wuque, choosing to commit suicide by consuming poison, but was later revived by Su Ying.

* Su Ying (蘇樱) – the foster daughter of Wei Wuya. She was spoiled as a child, thus she was very arrogant, cold and anti-social. She did not know any form of martial arts at all, but was well-versed in medicine and the art of laying traps. Her intelligence enabled her to manipulate several experts according to her wishes. She was not very beautiful in appearance, but she was able to use her gestures and smiles to charm others. She was very straightforward and outspoken regarding love matters, and when she met Xiao Yu’er, she decided to follow him forever to win his heart. She was much more intelligent than Xiao Yu’er, knowing how to act according to his mood, thus making her Xiao Yu’er’s only love interest and the only person who could control him. In the final duel between Xiao Yu’er and Hua Wuque, she tried to poison Hua Wuque to allow Xiao Yu’er to win, but Xiao Yu’er exposed her scheme, angering her. She left him in anger, but eventually returned to him and they were married.

* Yan Nantian (燕南天) – nicknamed ‘Best Divine Sword on Earth’ (天下第一神劍). His prowess in swordplay was unmatched in the Jianghu. His sword aura could be felt from a distance, and he could even shave a person bald while standing in front of him without the latter noticing anything. He was kind-hearted and although he had a big stature, he was not as strong as he seemed to be. He was often dressed like a beggar. He became sworn brothers with Jiang Feng, whom he shared a close relationship with. He was ambushed by the Ten Villains in Villains’ Valley, and lost his powers. He was brought back to life by Wan Chunliu, under the pretence of using him to test his new drugs. Although he had lost all his powers, this was in fact the trigger which allowed him to master a powerful skill he had been practicing for a long time. As such, he regained his powers and truly became invincible. He had all along been Xiao Yu’er’s role model and idol.

The lovers of Xiao Yu’er

* Tao Hua (桃花) – a nomadic girl living on the grass plains. Her face was as beautiful as a peach blossom. She was the first maiden Xiao Yu’er met after his departure from the Villains’ Valley, and she played a hospitable host for him.

* Zhang Jing (張菁) – nicknamed ‘Little Fairy’ (小仙子). Although she was beautiful in appearance, she was extremely brutal in her actions. She had a fiery temper and hated evil to the core. She was not very powerful in martial arts but her moves were very fast. Once, to comfort her mother, she decided to find the treasure left behind by her mother’s ex-lover Yan Nantian. She followed Tie Xinlan who found the treasure all the way back to Huijiang. She met Xiao Yu’er on the way, who gave her her first kiss. She was related to the Murong family and eventually she married Gu Renyu.

* Murong Jiu (慕容九) – a member of the Murong family. She seemed very cold towards people because she practised the ‘Hua Shi Shen Gong’ (化石神功). Once, Xiao Yu’er disguised himself as a vengeful ghost to scare her and captured her, but she fell in love with him afterwards. She was rescued by Hua Wuque and Hei Zhi Zhu. Hei Zhi Zhu escorted her safely back home and they were eventually married.

* Tie Pinggu (鐵萍姑) – a traitor of the Yi Hua Palace (移花宮). She helped Xiao Yu’er escape from Yao Yue once before. Xiao Yu’er treated her very nicely, but she was deceived by Jiang Yulang and lost her virginity although she loved Xiao Yu’er. She was humiliated by Jiang Yulang and she was forced by him to strip off all her clothes to seduce and lure Xiao Yu’er into a trap. Later, she was dumped by Jiang Yulang, and she had become dejected. She went to join Hu Yaoshi and the Twelve Star Signs. It was revealed towards the end of the novel that she was the daughter of Li Dazhui.

* Hai Hongzhu (海紅珠) – the only child of Hai Laodie (海老爹), the leader of a wandering performance troupe. She was petite and agile, much like a little princess. Once, Xiao Yu’er disguised himself under the alias ‘Hai Xiaodai’ to sneak into the troupe while on the run from Hua Wuque. Hai Hongzhu met him and fell in love with him secretly. Although later Xiao Yu’er rescued her several times from danger, he refused to admit that he was Hai Xiaodai. The performance troupe was later revealed to be members of the Mei Hua Sect (梅花門) in disguise.

* Duan San Gu (段三姑) – the daughter of the rich merchant Duan Hefei (段合肥). She dressed up as a man to help her father with his business. She appreciated Xiao Yu’er’s talents and recruited him to be in charge of the medicine shop. She helped Xiao Yu’er once in solving one of the mystery cases and was influenced by him to revert back to dressing up as a woman. She was jealous of Murong Jiu’s beauty and did not follow Xiao Yu’er’s instructions in their plot against Jiang Biehe, almost causing their plot to be a failure.

Good characters

* Gu Renyu (顧人玉) – nicknamed ‘Jade-faced Divine Fist’ (玉面神拳). He was honest and simple, often turning red when embarrassed. He practiced his family’s martial art ‘Gu Family Divine Fist’ (顧家神拳) to a level of competence, blending in well when combined with Zhang Jing’s palm skills. He was initially ordered by his mother to woo Murong Jiu, by through his adventures, he gradually fell in love with Zhang Jing instead and they were eventually married.

* Hei Zhi Zhu (黑蜘蛛) – his name is literally translated as ‘Black Spider’ and he bears a resemblance to the Spider-Man of Marvel Comics. He was dressed in a tight black suit and had a mechanical device strapped to his wrist capable of shooting out spider web fluid at enemies. Besides, he was an expert in qinggong and was capable of scaling walls with his skill known as ‘Yin Si Fei Du’ (銀絲飛渡). He had great self-esteem, often preferring to play the role of ‘big brother’. He was in love with Murong Jiu, but could only gaze at her from a distance. When Murong Jiu ventured into the Jianghu, he followed her closely and protected her with his life. Eventually, they became married and went to lead a life of seclusion from society.


* Jiang Biehe (江別鶴) – the primary nemesis of Xiao Yu’er. He was originally Jiang Feng’s servant, formerly known as Jiang Qin (江琴). Jiang Feng treated him as though he were his blood brother, but he was often trying to make his name in the Jianghu and plotted to kill Jiang Feng. He was brutal and ruthless by nature, but was intelligent and capable as well. He was famed throughout in the Jianghu as the ‘Hero of Jiangnan’ (江南大俠), as he often tried to win people’s hearts with deception. He started rumors of Yan Nantian’s treasure, stirring up conflict between puglists and the Emei Sect. He acted as a hypocrite, by first protecting the Golden Lion Escort Agency (金獅鏢局) and later eliminated it, winning both fame and wealth. When Xiao Yu’er tried to expose his evil schemes in public, he attacked Xiao Yu’er verbally, accusing the latter of the atrocities he committed. When Yan Nantian returned to prominence, he captured Jiang Biehe and removed him of his powers, bringing him to Xiao Yu’er for punishment, but Xiao Yu’er spared him instead out of kindness.

* Jiang Yulang (江玉郎) – the son of Jiang Biehe (aka Jiang Qin). He was named after Jiang Feng’s nickname. He was trained by his father since childhood to follow his father in his plan to dominate the Jianghu. He had a pale complexion and gives other the impression that he is of the less masculine breed of men. Once, he was kidnapped by the Ten Villains and ill-treated by them, and he happened to meet Xiao Yu’er at the same time. Both of them obtained the manual with the ‘Five Most Powerful Martial Arts on Earth’ (天下五絕神功), but his ability to interpret was not as good as Xiao Yu’er. He was known to be a flirt skilled in charming and seducing women. Tie Pinggu was once seduced and deceived by him, and she suffered under his manipulation.

* The Ten Villains (十大惡人) – the most notorious villains in the Jianghu who were not very outstanding in martial arts. Contrary to their nickname, they were not very evil, but rather obnoxious in behavior, turning ugly and dishonorable scenes into interesting ones. They tried to teach Xiao Yu’er and ‘nurture’ him into a much more evil villain than they were, often injecting some humor into their teachings. Among the ten of them, five of them were responsible for taking care and raising Xiao Yu’er since he was an infant and Xiao Yu’er was still grateful to them.

* The Twelve Star Signs (十二星相) – a group of bandits who were named according to the twelve Chinese Zodiac Signs. They enjoy looting contraband and goods instead of money when they rob unsuspecting people. They have never made off without any valuables in their robbing attempts for many years, and have only lost to Yan Nantian and members of the Yi Hua Palace.


As of 2007 it has been made into a TV series at least four times, twice by TVB and by both mainland Chinese and Taiwanese television companies. A film starring Brigitte Lin and Andy Lau also exists although this is only loosely based on the novel.

TV series

* In 1979, Hong Kong’s TVB produced a TV series based on the novel, starring Wong Yuen Sun as Xiao Yu’er, Shek Sau as Hua Wuque, Cecilia Wong Hung Sau as Tie Xinlan and Michelle Yim as Su Ying.

* In 1988, Hong Kong’s TVB produced yet another 20 episodes TV series based on the novel. Tony Leung stars as Xiao Yu’er, Hugo Ng Dai Yung stars as Hua Wuque, Kitty Lai stars as Tie Xinlan and Shallin Tse stars as Su Ying.

* In 1997, Taiwan’s TTV produced a 40 episodes TV series based on the novel, starring Jimmy Lin as Xiao Yu’er, Alec Su as Hua Wuque, Vivian Chen as Tie Xinlan and Theresa Lee as Zhang Jing.

* In 2002, a TV series based on the novel was made by Ciwen Pictures, but its Chinese title was different from the novel’s and the previous adaptations’. Dicky Cheung stars as Xiao Yu’er, Nicholas Tse stars as Hua Wuque, Fan Bingbing stars as Tie Xinlan and Yuan Quan stars as Su Ying.


* The movie "Handsome Siblings" [] based on the novel was made in 1992, starring Andy Lau as Xiao Yu’er, Brigitte Lin as Hua Wuque and Sharla Cheung as Yi Hua Palace Mistress.

Video games

* 新絕代雙驕 (1999)

* 新絕代雙驕 II (2000)

* 新絕代雙驕 III (2002)

* 新絕代雙驕online (2005)

* 新絕代雙驕前傳 (2006)


* In 1997, a Manhua series based on the novel was drawn by Hong Kong cartoonist Ho Chi Man (何志文).

External links

* [ The Legendary Twins] partial translation at [ Wuxiapedia]

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