|Water Margin character|
|Rank||8th, "Heavenly Force Star" (天威星) of the 36 Heavenly Spirits|
|Rear General of the Five Tiger Generals of Liangshan|
|Ancestral home / Place of origin||Taiyuan, Shanxi|
|First appearance||Chapter 54|
|Weapon||Pair of steel clubs|
Huyan Zhuo is a fictional character in Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 8th of the 36 Heavenly Spirits of the 108 heroes of Mount Liang and is nicknamed "Double Clubs" (Chinese: 雙鞭) for his preferred weapons.
Huyan Zhuo is a descendant of Huyan Zan, a general who lived in the early Song dynasty. He serves in the Song imperial army as a general, just like his ancestor. He is respected for his bravery in battle and mastery of combat skills. He wields a pair of steel clubs in battle, which earns him the nickname "Double Clubs". His choice of colour is black, as evident from his flags and armour. He rides a black stallion in battle.
On the recommendation of the Imperial Tutor Cai Jing, Huyan Zhuo is summoned from Running Commandery (汝寧郡; around present-day Runan County, Zhumadian, Henan) to the capital Dongjing (東京; present-day Kaifeng, Henan) by Emperor Huizong to lead the imperial army to eradicate the Liangshan outlaws. Huyan Zhuo is flanked by his deputies Han Tao and Peng Qi. He introduces his chain-linked armoured cavalry formation and scores initial major victories over the Liangshan outlaws because the formation is seemingly impregnable. However, his cavalry formation is eventually overcome by the outlaws after they recruit Xu Ning to train their infantry in the use of the hooked spear. Huyan Zhuo's army is defeated by the outlaws after the loss of his cavalry formation and the capture of his deputies, who defect to Liangshan.
Battle of Qingzhou
Huyan Zhuo does not dare to return to Dongjing after his defeat. He travels alone to Qingzhou (in present-day Shandong) to join the governor, Murong Yanda. Along the way, he passes by Mount Peach Blossom, where his steed is stolen by the bandits on the mountain. Huyan Zhuo leads imperial forces from Qingzhou to attack the bandits and subsequently brings the Liangshan outlaws into the scene when they arrive to help the bandits from Mount Peach Blossom. Huyan Zhuo falls into an ambush laid by the outlaws outside Qingzhou and is captured. He decides to join the Liangshan band after being persuaded by Liangshan's chief, Song Jiang. He aids the outlaws in conquering Qingzhou and eliminating Murong Yanda.
Becoming an outlaw
Huyan Zhuo pretends to be a turncoat when the Liangshan outlaws are at war with the imperial army led by Guan Sheng. He lures Guan Sheng into a trap, in which Guan is captured by the outlaws. Guan Sheng also joins the outlaw band after being persuaded by Song Jiang. Following the Grand Assembly of the 108 Stars of Destiny, Huyan Zhuo becomes one of the Five Tiger Generals of the Liangshan cavalry.
After the outlaws have been granted amnesty by Emperor Huizong of Song, Huyan Zhuo follows them on their campaigns against the Khitan invaders of the Liao dynasty and the rebel forces led by Tian Hu, Wang Qing and Fang La. He makes great contributions in battle and is one of the few survivors from Liangshan by the end of the campaigns. He assumes the post of a general offered to him by the emperor in recognition of his achievements and continues to serve the imperial court. He is killed in action during the Jin–Song Wars.
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Huyan Zhuo's chain-linked cavalry consists of heavily armoured horses linked together in groups of five by heavy steel chains. Heavily armoured archers are mounted on these horses. Together, they form a system similar to a modern tank that is capable of knocking down anything in its path. The chain links of the cavalry prove to be the system's greatest flaw. Liangshan's infantry troops use hooked spears to attack the horses' legs and drag them to the ground. Once a single horse is down, the other four horses linked to it will collapse as well and the entire system is thus destroyed.
- (Chinese) Li, Mengxia. 108 Heroes from the Water Margin, page 17. EPB Publishers Pte Ltd, 1992. ISBN 9971-0-0252-3.
- Buck, Pearl. All Men are Brothers. Moyer Bell Ltd, 2006. ISBN 9781559213035.
- Zhang, Lin Ching. Biographies of Characters in Water Margin. Writers Publishing House, 2009. ISBN 978-7506344784.
- Shibusawa, Kou. Bandit Kings of Ancient China, page 91. KOEI, 1989.
- (Japanese) Ichisada, Miyazaki. Suikoden: Kyoko no naka no Shijitsu. Chuo Koronsha, 1993. ISBN 978-4122020559.
- Miyamotois, Yoko. Water Margin: Chinese Robin Hood and His Bandits.
- Keffer, David. Outlaws of the Marsh.