This volume contains some of the most famous scenes in the novel, starting with the episode in which Wu Song gets drunk at the tavern, ascends the pass in late evening and kills a notorious man-eating tiger with his bare hands. His subsequent encounter with his midget brother's flirtatious wife, Jinlian or Golden Lotus, and her vain attempt to seduce him lead into a tale of adultery, callous murder and bloody vengeance. The second half of the book is concerned with Song Jiang's attempts to serve out his prison sentence honourably and avoid becoming an outlaw, until he is unjustly condemned to death for a misconstrued poem. Towards the end of this volume we meet the violent Li Kui, variously known as Iron Ox or Black Whirlwind, who also turns out to have a way with tigers.
This volume consists of chapters 23 to 43 of the full 120-chapter version of the novel by Shi Nai'an and Luo Guanzhong. It is the first English translation based on this version.