A Snake Lies Waiting: Legends of the Condor Heroes Vol. III
China, 1200 or thereabouts. In this third volume in the series, earnest young martial artist Guo Jing is in a pickle. Together with two of his numerous mentors, he finds himself prisoner on the ship of dastardly Viper Ouyang, who will stop at nothing to obtain a secret kung fu manual that Guo Jing has memorised. And Viper must be thwarted, but how does one break free from a shipful of villains sailing through shark-infested waters? Oh, if only Lotus Huang – as clever as she is lovely – were here to help!
What follows is a breathless, rather episodic adventure involving countless, lovingly detailed kung fu fights between members of numberless sects, clans, and schools. What I found severely lacking is any sense of period: without the couple of brief mentions of Genghis Khan and the Jin and Song dynasties, I wouldn’t have known how to place the story in time. I read that Jin Yong is a much-loved author of martial arts novels – and this is what this book is: a ripping kung fu adventure, with scant attention paid to the historical setting.