Fei Hung has been portrayed in over 200 films, including starmaking turns by both Jet Li and Jackie Chan. The Dragon and the Giant is inspired by the multitude of Fei Hung works written in China (at one point, seven Hong Kong newspapers were running serials about Fei Hung... concurrently). The book presents Fei Hung, top student Wing the Butcher, Fei Hung's wife Mok Gwai-Lan, an oversized foreigner, secret societies, revolutionary forces, and more action than you can shake a southern Tiger Fork at.
“Seventh Son is not able to make revolution well. He was not taught
by Fei Hung.”
“Why not? Heck, if I'd had a dad growing up, and he could teach me to
fight, Id a learned like nothing.”
“Yes. Fei Hung no teach Seventh Son. He only teach three sons. First
son, he teach. First son get into fight. First son die. Fei Hung say,
'never teach again unless need to.'“
“OK. So the other two?”
“They need it. They could die without teach. But no revolution.
Others, want to fight. Fei Hung, he not always there. Fight for them.
Boy must be man.”
“Right. But all boys... we all must be men...”
“You say. But Fei Hung say, other sons, they no need to fight. He
teach them to fight, they fight. Every man, want to fight, son of Fei
Hung. Earn... honors. Come from far and way, Fei Hung say, to fight son
of Fei Hung. You understand?
“Yeah. OK. So he's not teaching them. What do they—other sons. What
do they do?”
“One teacher. One study. In America. He lawyer some day. One learn
building. Wood. Like that.”
“Kids are into the trades. Fine. Fine. And Seventh Son?”
“Fei Hung think he smartest son. He no learn to fight. He pass
examination. Learn much else. Study. But he no work. Not serve emperor.
Say emperor corrupt. Whole empire. Say it betrayed China. Let...” She
stopped. Looked at Nate.
“Seventh Son say empire weak. Old. Let the foreigners in. Let them
claim China. Say we are servants to foreigner.
“Yeah. So he wants us all to go.”
“Yes. No. Not yet. Some day. Foreigners must go. Can do business
here. But not... not like Shamian Island, Shanghai, concessions,” she enunciated the syllables of the English word deliberately. “Not
have own law here. Everyone... China law.”
“We said that ourselves. Americans. Fei Hung doesn't approve of
“He say empires come. Get weak. New empire. He... tradition. He keep
the queue—the hair, you know? Illegal now have long hair. I don't
question him. He great man. And my husband.”
“And Seventh Son?”
“He want to fight. Listens to Doctor Sun Yat Sen. Singapore. Gets
messages from there. That what boy brought. That you saved. Boy was
bringing message from Singapore. They capture him.
“I'm in the thick of this. Ain't I?” She was staring at him, puzzled.
“Never mind. How'd you get in the mix?”
“I knew—mother knows. I knew Seventh Son going to do something. He
not hide it well. I follow him. I see him look for boy. See boy hurt by
soldiers. They were... found. Seventh Son try to help. I run, tell him
go, get Fei Hung. I protect boy. I am nurse. Soldiers must let me...
But they didn't.”
“And the message got there?”
“And the boy?”
“He is fine. But he will not... revolution. Not for some time.
Seventh Son is missing. I cannot watch him now.”
“What can Seventh Son do, without his father teaching?”
“He can fire a gun,” said the woman. And both were silent. Nate,
calmly, seeing the maternal instinct this one possessed, her brazen
attachment to her family, even her adopted children, mentally lambasted
himself, ever thinking the woman was available. Gwai Lan's thoughts
were unknowable. Her eyes calm and trusting, however.