List of The Book and the Sword characters
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- Chen Jialuo (陳家洛; 陈家洛; Chén Jiāluò; Can4 Gaa1-lok3) is the protagonist of the novel and the chief of the Red Flower Society.
- Huoqingtong (霍青桐; Huòqīngtóng; Fok3-cing1-tung4) is Muzhuolun's elder daughter. She falls in love with Chen Jialuo when he helps her tribe recover the Quran that was stolen from them. She is a martial arts expert and a resourceful military strategist.
- Kasili (喀絲麗; 喀丝丽; Kǎsīlì; Haak3-si1-lai6), also known as Princess Fragrance (香香公主; Xiāngxiāng Gōngzhǔ; Hoeng1-hoeng1 Gung1-zyu2), is Huoqingtong's younger sister. She meets Chen Jialuo and falls in love with him. After being captured by the Qianlong Emperor, she initially agrees to be his concubine on the condition that he spares Chen and the Red Flower Society. However, when she discovers that the emperor is going back on his word, she commits suicide to warn Chen and the heroes. This character is based on the Fragrant Concubine.
- The Qianlong Emperor (乾隆皇帝; Qiánlóng Huángdì; Kin4-lung4 Wong4-dai3) is the ruler of the Qing Empire. He is actually Chen Jialuo's elder brother. Shortly after he was born, he switched places with the Yongzheng Emperor's daughter and was raised as a prince before eventually inheriting the throne.
Red Flower Society
- Taoist Wuchen (無塵道長; 无尘道长; Wúchén Dàozhǎng; Mou4-can4 Dou3-zoeng2), nicknamed "Soul-chasing, Life-taking Sword" (追魂奪命劍), is the second leader of the society. He is the most powerful of all the leaders in terms of martial arts.
- Zhao Banshan (趙半山; 赵半山; Zhào Bànshān; Ziu6 Bun3-saan1), nicknamed "Thousand Arms Buddha" (千臂如來), is the third leader of the society.
- Wen Tailai (文泰來; 文泰来; Wén Tàilái; Man4 Taai3-loi4), nicknamed "Thunderbolt Hand" (奔雷手), is the fourth leader of the society. At the start of the novel, the Qianlong Emperor sends his men to ambush and arrest him to prevent him from revealing the secret behind the emperor's origin. His fellows make several attempts to rescue him before eventually succeeding.
- Chang Hezhi (常赫志; Cháng Hèzhì; Soeng4 Haak1-zi3), nicknamed "Black Impermanence" (黑無常), is the fifth leader of the society. He and his twin brother often disguise themselves as the Black and White Guards of Impermanence respectively.
- Chang Bozhi (常伯志; Cháng Bózhì; Soeng4 Baak3-zi3), nicknamed "White Impermanence" (白無常), is Chang Hezhi's twin brother. He is the sixth leader of the society.
- Xu Tianhong (徐天宏; Xú Tiānhóng; Ceoi4 Tin1-wang4), nicknamed "Martial Zhuge" (武諸葛), is the seventh leader of the society. He serves as the society's de facto strategist and plans all their missions and activities, and is hence nicknamed "Martial Zhuge". He was originally at odds with Zhou Qi and often argues with her, but later falls in love with her and marries her after they escape from danger together.
- Yang Chengxie (楊成協; 杨成协; Yáng Chéngxié; Joeng4 Sing4-hip6), nicknamed "Iron Pagoda" (鐵塔), is the eighth leader of the society.
- Wei Chunhua (衛春華; 卫春华; Wèi Chūnhuá; Wai6 Ceon1-waa4), nicknamed "Nine Lives Colourful Leopard" (九命錦豹子), is the ninth leader of the society.
- Zhang Jin (章進; 章进; Zhāng Jìn; Zoeng1 Zeon3), nicknamed "Rock Daring" (石敢當), is the tenth leader of the society. He is a hunchback. He is killed during the battle in the palace at the end of the novel.
- Luo Bing (駱冰; 骆冰; Luò Bīng; Lok3 Bing1), nicknamed "Mandarin Ducks Saber" (鴛鴦刀), is Wen Tailai's wife and the 11th leader of the society.
- Shi Shuangying (石雙英; 石双英; Shí Shuāngyīng; Sek6 Soeng1-jing1), nicknamed "Ghosts Fret When They See Me" (鬼見愁), is the 12th leader of the society.
- Jiang Sigen (蔣四根; 蒋四根; Jiǎng Sìgēn; Zoeng2 Sei3-gan1), nicknamed "Copper-headed Crocodile" (銅頭鱷魚), is the 13th leader of the society.
- Yu Yutong (余魚同; 余鱼同; Yú Yútóng; Jyu4 Jyu4-tung4), nicknamed "Golden Flute Scholar" (金笛秀才), is the 14th leader of the society. He has a crush on Luo Bing. When she feels upset after her husband was captured, he tries to comfort her and confesses his love to her, but she immediately rejects him and scolds him for having such immoral thoughts, causing him to feel ashamed of himself. At the same time, Yu Yutong is also aware that Li Yuanzhi has romantic feelings for him but he has been treating her coldly all this while because he still maintains his crush on Luo Bing. In the middle of the novel, he feels guilty for having hurt both Luo Bing and Li Yuanzhi emotionally, so he becomes a Buddhist monk to escape from the vicissitudes of life. However, when he learns that the society is in trouble, he decides to return to secular life to help them. With help from his fellows, he eventually accepts Li Yuanzhi's love and marries her.
- Xinyan (心硯; 心砚; Xīnyàn; Sam1-jin6) is Chen Jialuo's servant. He becomes the 15th leader of the society later.
- Yu Wanting (于萬亭; 于万亭; Yú Wàntíng; Jyu4 Maan6-ting4) is Chen Jialuo's godfather and predecessor as the chief of the society. He is only mentioned by name in the novel as he is already dead before the events of the novel take place.
- Zhang Zhaozhong (張昭重; 张昭重; Zhāng Zhāozhòng; Zoeng1 Ziu1-zung6), nicknamed "Fiery Hand Judge" (火手判官), is one of the antagonists in the novel. Tempted by wealth and fame, he decides to leave the Wudang Sect and serve the Qing government. He becomes a trusted henchman of the Qianlong Emperor and executes his lord's orders ruthlessly. He is defeated by Chen Jialuo and his companions in the middle of the story and taken back to Wudang by Ma Zhen for rehabilitation. He murders Ma Zhen later and escapes from Wudang to rejoin Qing forces. He is eventually defeated by Chen Jialuo in western China and falls into a valley, where he is killed by ravenous wolves.
- Ma Zhen (馬真; 马真; Mǎ Zhēn; Maa5 Zan1) is the leader of the Wudang Sect and the senior of Lu Feiqing and Zhang Zhaozhong. He is also Yu Yutong's teacher. When Zhang Zhaozhong was defeated by Chen Jialuo and his friends in the middle of the novel, he pleads with them to spare Zhang's life and promises that he will reform his junior. However, Zhang murders him later and escapes from Wudang.
- Lu Feiqing (陸菲青; 陆菲青; Lù Fēiqīng; Luk6 Fei1-cing1) is Ma Zhen's junior and Zhang Zhaozhong's senior. To evade from his enemies, he disguises himself as a scholar and becomes a private tutor to Li Yuanzhi. By chance, Li discovers his skill in dart-throwing and learns that he is actually a Wudang swordsman. He agrees to teach Li martial arts after she keeps pestering him. He becomes a key ally of the Red Flower Society.
- Tianhong (天虹; Tiānhóng; Tin1-hung4) is the abbot of Shaolin Monastery. He sparred with Chen Jialuo when Chen visited Shaolin. He is killed when the Qing soldiers attack and burn down the monastery.
- Tianjing (天鏡; 天镜; Tiānjìng; Tin1-geng3) is Tianhong's junior. He also sparred with Chen Jialuo.
- Dachi (大癡; 大痴; Dàchī; Daai6-ci1), Dadian (traditional Chinese: 大癲; simplified Chinese: 大癫; pinyin: Dàdiān; Jyutping: Daai6-din1) and Daku (Chinese: 大苦; pinyin: Dàkǔ; Jyutping: Daai6-fu2) are three Shaolin monks who sparred with Chen Jialuo.
- Fuk'anggan (福康安; Fúkāng'ān; Fuk1-hong1-on1) is a Manchu military general. He is actually an illegitimate son of the Qianlong Emperor and he resembles his uncle, Chen Jialuo, in appearance. The emperor appoints him as the Nine Gates Infantry Commander. In the final battle at the palace, he is captured by the Red Flower Society's members, who use him as a hostage to force the emperor to come to a truce with them.
- Bai Zhen (白振; Bái Zhèn; Baak6 Zan3), nicknamed "Golden Claw Iron Hook" (金爪鐵鉤), is the Qianlong Emperor's chief bodyguard and top henchman. He was originally a martial artist from the Songyang Sect (嵩陽派).
- Li Kexiu (李可秀; Lí Kěxìu; Lei5 Ho2-sau3) is the provincial military commander of Zhejiang. He is Li Yuanzhi's father.
- Zhaohui (兆惠; Zhàohuì; Siu6-wai6) is a Manchu military general leading a Qing army garrisoned in western China. A calculative, ruthless and experienced military commander, he uses tough means to enforce discipline in his army. He attacks the Islamic tribes and annihilates them.
- Heshen (和珅; Héshēn; Wo4-san1) is a high-ranking Manchu aristocrat and close aide of the Qianlong Emperor.
- Ji Yun (紀昀; 纪昀; Jì Yún; Gei2 Wan4)
- Zheng Xie (鄭燮; 郑燮; Zhèng Xiè; Zeng6 Sit3)
Scholars, poets and artists
- Yuan Mei (袁枚; Yuán Méi; Jyun4 Mui4)
- Shen Deqian (沈德潛; 沈德潜; Shěn Déqiǎn; Sam2 Dak1-cim4)
- Zhao Yi (趙翼; 赵翼; Zhào Yì; Ziu6 Jik6)
- Jiang Shiquan (蔣士銓; 蒋士铨; Jiǎng Shìquán; Zoeng2 Si6-cyun4)
- Li E (厲鶚; 厉鹗; Lì È; Lai6 Ngok6)
Allies and associates of the Red Flower Society
Iron Courage Manor
Iron Courage Manor (鐵膽莊; 铁胆庄; Tiédǎn Zhuāng; Tit3-daam2 Zong1) is a manor owned by Zhou Zhongying. He and his family lived there until the manor was destroyed in a fire.
- Zhou Zhongying (周仲英; Zhōu Zhòngyīng; Zau1 Zung6-jing1) is the master of the manor and a reputable martial artist. He kills his only son in anger after learning that the boy has disgraced him, but he deeply regrets later even though he constantly tries to hide his remorse to contain his pride. He becomes a close ally of the Red Flower Society and intends to let his son-in-law, Xu Tianhong, become his successor.
- Zhou Zhongying's wife is the mother of Zhou Qi and Zhou Yingjie. She resents her husband and leaves him after he killed their son in anger. Zhou Zhongying deeply regrets his action later and tries to patch up with his wife. With help from Zhou Qi and the Red Flower Society, the Zhou couple eventually reconcile with each other.
- Zhou Qi (周綺; 周绮; Zhōu Qí; Zau1 Ji2) is Zhou Zhongying's daughter. She was originally at odds with Xu Tianhong and often bickers and argues with him. The two of them forge close ties after braving danger and narrowly escaping death together. They are married eventually.
- Zhou Yingjie (周英傑; 周英杰; Zhōu Yīngjié; Zau1 Jing1-git6) is Zhou Zhongying's 10-year-old son. Zhang Zhaozhong taunts him when he refuses to reveal Wen Tailai's hiding place. The indignant boy responds to the insults and unsuspectingly spills the beans. Wen Tailai and Luo Bing have no choice but to come out and fight with Zhang Zhaozhong and his men. They are outnumbered and Wen is injured and captured. Zhou Zhongying was not at home when these events took place. When he returns later and learns that his son had disgraced him by (unintentionally) betraying a fellow martial artist, he is so overwhelmed by fury that he kills his son.
- Li Yuanzhi (李沅芷; Lǐ Yuánzhí; Lei5 Jyun4-zi2) is Li Kexiu's daughter and Lu Feiqing's student. She develops romantic feelings for Yu Yutong but he often gives her the cold shoulder because he has a crush on Luo Bing. Towards the end of the novel, Yu Yutong finally accepts her love and marries her.
- Yuan Shixiao (袁士宵; Yuán Shìxiāo; Jyun4 Si6-siu1), nicknamed "Eccentric Hero of the Heavenly Pool" (天池怪俠), is an eccentric martial artist living on Mount Heaven. He teaches Chen Jialuo martial arts and imparts his famous skill, "Hundred Flowers Fist" (百花錯拳), to Chen. He has a crush on Guan Mingmei and has never given up on her even after she married Chen Zhengde. He often bickers and argues with her husband.
- The "Twin Eagles of Mount Heaven" (天山雙鷹) are a couple living on Mount Heaven. They came to Hangzhou and attempted to assassinate the Qianlong Emperor.
- Chen Zhengde (陳正德; 陈正德; Chén Zhèngdé; Can4 Zing3-dak1), nicknamed "Bald Vulture" (禿鷲).
- Guan Mingmei (關明梅; 关明梅; Guān Míngméi; Gwaan1 Ming4-mui4), nicknamed "Snow Condor" (雪鵰), is Chen Zhengde's wife and Huoqingtong's teacher.
- Muzhuolun (木卓倫; 木卓伦; Mùzhuólún; Muk6-zoek3-leon4) is the chief of the Islamic tribe and the father of Huoqingtong and Kasili.
- Huo'ayi (霍阿伊; Huò'āyī; Fok3-aa3-ji1) is Muzhuolun's son and an elder brother of Huoqingtong and Kasili.
- The "Six Devils of Guandong" (關東六魔) are a group of six martial artists from Guandong (Manchuria). They are hired by Bai Zhen to carry out the Qianlong Emperor's secret order to eliminate the Red Flower Society.
- Teng Yilei (滕一雷; Téng Yīléi; Tang4 Jat1-leoi4) is the most fearsome of the six. He is determined to slay any enemy at the expense of his life.
- Gu Jinbiao (顧金標; 顾金标; Gù Jīnbiāo; Gu3 Gam1-biu1) is a former bandit. His movements cannot be traced and he appears unpredictably.
- Jiao Wenqi (焦文期; Jiāo Wénqī; Ziu1 Man4-kei4) was killed by Lu Feiqing. His fellows mistakenly think that the Red Flower Society is responsible for his death and start seeking vengeance on the society.
- Hahetai (哈合台; Hāhétái; Haa1-hap6-toi4) is a former shepherd from Mongolia.
- Yan Shizhang (閻世章; 阎世章; Yán Shìzhāng; Jim4 Sai3-zoeng1) is killed by Huoqingtong.
- Yan Shikui (閻世魁; 阎世魁; Yán Shìkuí; Jim4 Sai3-fui1) is Yan Shizhang's younger brother. He is killed by Huoqingtong when the Islamic tribesmen and the Red Flower Society team up to attack Yan Shikui's convoy to take back the Qur'an.
- Luo Yuantong (駱元通; 骆元通; Luò Yuántōng; Lok3 Jyun4-tung1), nicknamed "Holy Saber" (神刀), is Luo Bing's father.
- Bei Renlong (貝人龍; 贝人龙; Bèi Rénlóng; Bui3 Jan4-lung4) is a martial artist nicknamed "Jade Judge" (玉判官).
- Wang Weiyang (王維揚; 王维扬; Wáng Wéiyáng; Wong4 Wai4-joeng4), nicknamed "My Might Trembles Heshuo" (威震河朔), is the leader of the Zhenyuan Escort Agency. ("Heshuo" refers to an area north of the Yellow River that includes parts of modern Shanxi, Hebei and Shandong.)
- Han Wenchong (韓文沖; 韩文冲; Hán Wénchōng; Hon4 Man4-cung1) is a martial artist who owns a swift steed. The horse is stolen by Luo Bing when he stops to take a break.
- Yang Pengju (楊鵬舉; 杨鹏举; Yáng Péngjǔ; Joeng4 Paang4-geoi2), nicknamed "Golden Wings Brushing Against the Clouds" (摩雲金翅), is the leader of the Wuhui Escort Agency.
- Sixth Master Tang (唐六爺; 唐六爷; Táng Lìuyé; Tong4 Luk6-je4) is a martial artist nicknamed "Candy with Frosted Arsenic" (糖裡砒霜).
- Chu Yuan (褚圓; 褚圆; Chǔ Yuán; Cyu2 Jyun4) is a martial artist nicknamed "A Reed Crossing the River" (一葦渡江).
- Luo Xin (羅信; 罗信; Luó Xìn; Lo4 Seon3) is a martial artist nicknamed "Iron Armed Arhat" (鐵臂羅漢).
- Wu Guodong (吳國棟; 吴国栋; Wú Guódòng; Ng4 Gwok3-dung3) is a constable from Beijing.
- Yuruyi (玉如意; Yùrúyì; Juk6-jyu4-ji3) is a courtesan from Hangzhou. She entertains the Qianlong Emperor during his meeting with Chen Jialuo and seduces him with her charms. Later, she lures the emperor into a trap, where he is captured by the Red Flower Society's members and held hostage in the Liuhe Pagoda.
- Effendi (阿凡提; Āfántí; Aa3-faan4-tai4) is a weird and funny bearded old man who rides on a donkey. This character is believed to be based on Nasreddin.
- "Four Tigers of Hulun" (忽倫四虎)