acLehose Press is publishing The Legends of the Condor Heroes by Chinese author Jin Yong (the pen name of Louis Cha), in an English translation from Anna Holmwood.
The series was originally written as a newspaper serial between 1957 and 1963 before it was published as a trilogy in China. It is "one of the biggest-selling fantasy series in the world", according to MacLehose, having sold over 300m copies globally, in addition to inspiring various TV and film adaptations.
World English language rights were acquired from Peter Buckman at the Ampersand Agency, which also handles English-language film and TV rights to the work.
MacLehose Press will publish the series in 12 volumes, the first of which, A Hero Born, comes out on 22nd February 2018. This will be followed by A Bond Undone in 2019, while further volumes will appear at yearly intervals around Chinese New Year.
A Hero Born: Legends of the Condor Heroes Volume I is set in 13th century China, as the Jin and the Song empires vie for dominance, and the Mongol hordes of Genghis Khan mass on their northern frontier.
Holmwood, who is now based in Sweden, studied Chinese at Oxford University before discovering the series in Taipei and moving to Hangzhou in China while she worked on the translation. She said the experience had made a "disciple" of her and Jin Yong her "shifu".
"It has been an intense and exhilarating experience to see the attention the English edition is getting after so many years sitting alone at my computer and grappling with every word and sentence," she said. "I approach the whole project with a humble heart; I have learned so much over the course of these years that I should say that Jin Yong is my shifu, and I am his xuemei, his disciple."