A Step in the Past · Manga Reviews

Novel/Drama/Manga: A Step into the Past (尋秦記) – Huang Yi (黃易)


Author: Huang Yi

Summary: (Note: this summary is based on the drama not the novel)

21st century Hong Kong

Xiang Shaolong is a 21st-century VIPPU special agent in Hong Kong. In the first episode, Xiang and his colleagues stand guard at an exhibition of the First Emperor’s Terracotta Army. One of Xiang’s colleagues notices that one of the terracotta warriors bears a striking resemblance to Xiang. Moments later, wealthy businessman Lee Siu-chiu is attacked and held hostage at the museum by a madman who had suffered losses in the stock market. Xiang rescues Lee and defuses the crisis.

Xiang is unhappy despite his success in his career. He has just broken up with his girlfriend, Chun Ching, after a seven-year long relationship. She insisted that they wed but he preferred to continue their relationship without a proper marriage. Chun married another man and Xiang becomes depressed.

(In the novel none of these are part of the story, TVB added these in.)

Time Traveling 

Impressed with Xiang’s rescue attempt, Lee Siu-chiu and Doctor Wu Yau recruit him for a secret time-travelling experiment. Xiang agrees to help them in exchange for an opportunity to travel back in time to salvage his failed relationship with Chun Ching. He is tasked to travel back more than two thousand years to the Qin dynasty, half an hour prior to the coronation of Ying Ching in 247 BC, and document the event with a digital camera before a swift departure. However, a critical error occurs during the traveling stage and Xiang is sent further back in time three years earlier than originally planned. He is now trapped in the Zhao state of the Warring States period in 250 BC.

In order to return to the future, Xiang has to make an arduous journey across thousands of miles in ancient China to activate a device at a specific location and time. He was warned that making even a slight change in the grand scheme of events will trigger a chain reaction of catastrophes that will alter history.

(In the novel Xiang is chosen by an inventor in the army base and sent back to the past whole the time machine explodes and everyone on the laboratory dies.)

Warring States Period 

Xiang enjoys a series of adventures in history. His knowledge of the 21st century, intelligence and experience as an elite special agent, as well as his prowess in martial arts, enables him to make a strong stand in history. He enters the service of various lords and nobles, and becomes a valuable ally to them. Concurrently, he becomes involved in romantic relationships with four women. The first, Sin-yau, is a wandering female assassin and the first person he meets after travelling back in time. The second, Wu Ting-fong, is the beautiful but spoiled daughter of a wealthy noble. The third is a pretty female scholar named Kam Ching, who resembles his 21st century girlfriend Chun Ching in appearance and shares a similar name (completely homo-phonic in Standard Mandarin). The last is Princess Chiu Sin, the daughter of the king of Zhao, who dies in a tragic incident later. He also befriends the king’s sister Chiu Nga and her son Chiu Poon. Meanwhile, he foils the evil plans of Chiu Muk, a secret agent from the Chu state, and becomes Chiu’s enemy. Chiu Muk’s henchman Lin Chun also sees Xiang as his greatest rival.

(The female leads in the novel does not all go by those name that TVB use.)


Ying sees Xiang as a valuable ally in his future endeavors and wants to retain him as an adviser. However, Xiang begins to feel regret when he sees the evil creation of his efforts, fulfilling the predestination paradox. He is aware that he is not destined to leave his mark in history and refuses to stay in the imperial court. He leaves with Wu Ting-fong and Kam Ching, who are both happily married to him at last. Ying sends his troops to pursue Xiang and eventually decides to exile Xiang and decrees that the name “Xiang Shaolong” shall henceforth be purged from history. All books and historical records pertaining to Xiang are ordered to be destroyed, which leads to Chun Chi Wong’s notorious practice of the burning of books and burying of scholars.

Xiang and his family find paradise on the plains far from the urban regions. Xiang and Wu Ting-fong have a son. In the final moments of the last episode, Xiang’s son tells him he wants to change his name to Xiang Yu, a man who historically become a prominent military general who overthrew the Qin dynasty. Xiang then exclaims in English “Oh, shit!”

(credits: wikipedia)

Genre: Historical, Action, Romance

Rating: +18 (some juicy adult scenes in the novel)



I thought I’ll do a review on my first c-novel that got me started reading c-novel English translations. The novel is beautifully translated by numerous translators on spcnet.tv forum, and I am forever grateful to all of them.

The plot is intriguing and so action pack with a hint of lust here and there since our male protagonist, Xiang Shaolong is a bit of a womanizer. If anyone has seen the TVB drama version, it surely does not do justice to Huang Yi’s novel. A lot of characters’ names are changed, in a lot of cases they merge two characters together. Add plot, take away others. The only reason I watched the drama because I was a die-hard fan of Louis Koo.

I highly recommended you read the novel. But just a heads up warning this novel is actually a very long long novel consisting of more than 300 Chapters. :O If you do have the time, do give the novel a try.. you won’t be disappointed, read the novel here. There’s also a manga Chinese version if any readers can read Chinese.


8 thoughts on “Novel/Drama/Manga: A Step into the Past (尋秦記) – Huang Yi (黃易)

  1. The novel is a must read!

    The epic-ness can’t be describe by word. Unfortunately I’m not an English person, or else I’ll write some thesis about this novel.

    The strong point is that contrary to some Wuxia novel, this one is incredibly realistic (except for the time travel). The Hero is not invisible, he is human, he even face people stringer than him. Every move and every scheme are perfectly done. Despite the several volume its compose, I have no problem reading it one more time.

    Huang Yi is one of my favorite writer. Xiang Shaolong is the greatest character ever created, I loved him so much. Huang Yi’s style make us feel as if we were all along the trip.

    He made an believable novel about the great King of Qin.

    I loved all human interaction, all those fights for glory, fame, money, greed but also for love, principle, and family.
    At the end if the novel, after so many betrayal, I came to doubt everybody even those who are close to Xiang Shaolong. All character are deep, the diversity of those characters, the description of place, city, the time. Every thing made an universe that we feel so close to us.

    Anyway the only thing I can say is: READ IT! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just finished reading it. Puh, that was a big book ^^. Its was good though I didn’t like that the “ending” was so short. Everything happens very fast at the end.


  3. Man, pretty good novel but I hate Zhao Ya and even more mc when he is with her. I mean she’s just a fucking two faced slut. Sure she may love you, but you can never trust her (and mc does to just get betrayed again and again) and she WILL cheat on you. If mc put her in a locked room with no one else allowed in I would be fine with him being together with her 😀


  4. Can someone please post a link for the chinese manga?the link here leads to 404..so a new one would be nice…would really appreciate it..thanks!!


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