The second novel
in Wang Dulu
's Crane - Iron Pentalogy
, which will most likely be the prequel to Ang Lee
's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,
if he ever decides to continue that franchise.
Originally serialized in a QingDao newspaper in thirty four chapters, the story mainly concerns the love story between Li Mu Bai (the character played by Chow Yun Fat in CT,HD) and Yu Shu Lien (the character played by Michelle Yeoh).
WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD!
(The novel has never been translated into English, and a search on the Web will reveal varying versions of the story, due to copyright problems with the original novel that led to imitations and copies, as well as an early draft of a screenplay for Ang Lee (which may incorporate elements of the third novel, Sword Spirit, Pearl Light). Nevertheless- what follows is a basic overview of the novel (and not the screenplay), although these plot points may be out of sequence).
Li Mu Bai falls in love with Yu Shu Lien, but she is engaged to be married to his comrade in arms, Meng Si Zao. Li Mu Bai takes up a relationship with a prostitute, Xie Cui Xian, who gives him a gold hairpin. Meng Si Zao dies, and because of that/out of respect for him/by this time Li Mu Bai has taken a vow to keep his relationship with Yu Shu Lien as one of siblings. Li Mu Bai kills a local tyrant and is sentenced to death, but is sprung from jail by his father's comrade in arms, Jiang Nan He (Southern Crane).
The Monkeypeaches Web site (see geocities page, below) has a different version of the story, which is a fan's treatment for a screenplay.
"The Novel of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." Chinese Fortune Calendar Web Site. <http://www.chinesefortunecalendar.com/Tigerstory.htm> (20 June 2001)
"Precious Sword, Jade Hairpin." <http://www.geocities.com/monkeypeaches/CTHD-F-Script01.html> (20 June 2001)