The story is set in the Song dynasty and at the beginning of the Jurchen-ruled Jin dynasty's invasion of northern China. The first part revolves around the friendship of two men, Yang Tiexin and Guo Xiaotian, who became heroes in their own right as they fought the Jin invaders. The bond between the duo is so strong that they pledge to each other that their unborn children will become either be sworn siblings (if both are of the same sex) or a married couple (if they are of opposite sexes).
The story focuses on the trials and tribulations of their sons after Guo Xiaotian's death and Yang Tiexin's disappearance.
Cast & Credits
Casting. LoCH 2017 used mostly rookies for its leading cast. Yang Xu Wen is probably the best-looking Guo Jing I've ever seen. I also think Li Yi Tong looks very much the part of Huang Rong. She also gives off a Zhou Xun feel (both of them suit this role well). The dubbing did wonders for this pair though, because if I had to listen to their original voices instead my ears will bleed. However, I think Mu Nian Ci was horribly miscast. This is my first time seeing such a... Mu Nian Ci. She doesn't have the right disposition at all.
Acting. Pretty decent acting all around, especially the veteran actors. There must also be something magical with the role of Ouyang Ke, because somehow all the actors who play the character do really really really well with it.
Production. The production team claimed that the use of rookie actors means that they are able to set aside more money for the more important things. Well, I think that's reasonable. At least there wasn't an overwhelming use of green screens *cough, cough G&I*. My problem is with the colours. Despite everything, the colours are still very "idol-ish wuxia" . I much prefer the Zhang Ji Zhong adaptations where the colours were duller, more movie-like and looks like a proper drama as opposed to "idol dramas".
In all, I think the drama stands out from most of the 2017 productions. It also has an edge because of the fact that it's a recent adaptation, and after watching Yu Zheng's dramas, it's like a breath of fresh air. The drama also has a 8.0 rating on Douban, above the 2003 and 2008 versions. Not exactly deserved, but as I say, it has the advantage of being the diamond in the dirt.
-- Footnotes --
 I think it's based on the more recent editions of the book, which is a pity since I think in general the changes were for the worse.
 As years go on, Chinese period dramas are getting brighter and brighter in colours, which imo is a bad thing. It just looks... cheap.
The actors have also put up good performance but at the moment Barbara's Huang Rong still the best imo.
Michael Miu's Huang Yao Shi and William's Guo Jing are both very watchable.
Overall, great drama. Must watch. Entertaining. Nothing over the top. Perfect pace.