The Return of the Condor Heroes was Wuxia Writer Jin Yong's fifth novel. Written in 1959, it was originally published in the Ming Pao newspaper. This is the second novel of the Condor Trilogy.
The story is set in mid-13th century at the height of the Mongolian Invasion. It is during this time that Guo Jing and Huang Rong, with their unmatchable reputation and skill, rally hundreds of thousands to defend Xiangyang, the last stronghold that stands in the Mongolians' way.
The story begins with Li Mochou's massacre of the Lu family. Her reasons of this massacre was the rejection of Lu Zhanyuan towards her, many years ago. Not realizing Lu Zhanyuan and his wife had died years earlier, Li Mochou attacked the family manor. As Lu Zhanyuan's younger brother, sister-in-law, and Wu Sanniang fought against Li Mochou, their daughter Lu Wushuang escaped along with her cousin Cheng Ying. Despite hiding, Lu Wushuang was later abducted by Li Mochou while Cheng Ying was saved by East Heretic Huang Yaoshi.
Once back on the island, Guo Jing decided to take the three children and his own daughter Guo Fu as his martial arts disciples. Huang Rong, fearing Yang Guo would turn out like his father, convinced Guo Jing to let her teach Yang Guo. While the other children learned martial arts from Guo Jing, Yang Guo was taught how to read and write by Huang Rong. The other children would pick on Yang Guo and one day a fight ensued. Yang Guo, having not learned martial arts, was on the losing end. As the other children continued their assault, Yang Guo got angry and unexpectedly used the Toad StanceOuyang Feng had taught him and critically injured Wu Xiuwen. Refusing to mention where he had learned the technique and to keep him from getting in fights with the other children, Yang Guo was sent to Quanzhen Sect on Mount Zhongnan for better guidance.
Upon reaching the foot of Mt. Zhongnan, Guo Jing broke a stone carving out of frustration when Yang Guo asked about his father's death. Because of this, Quanzhen priests thought Guo Jing was barging into Mt. Zhongnan. Halfway up the mountain, they were attacked by 98 taoists, who used a modified Big Dipper Formation. As they attacked,Guo Jing was forced to fight back. As the battle continued, Yang Guo was abducted by a taoist priest. It was in this chaos that Guo Jing would fight and later defeat Mongolian Prince Huo Du. Yang Guo would manage to escape from his captor and get back to Guo Jing. Afterwards, the misunderstanding was explained. People had fought up Mount Zhongnan because false news was spread of a battle to determine a husband for the Ancient Tomb leader Xiaolongnu on her 18th birthday. Xiaolongnu was not only supposed to be beautiful, but the groom would gain access to all of the Ancient Tomb martial arts. The taoists had mistaken Guo Jing as one of the potential suitors and attacked.