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4.8 out of 5 stars45
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 13 May 2000
First and foremost, Noble House is a fascinating, and hugely entertaining read. Don't be put off by it's considerable length, unlike most big novels, this one has no "dips".
Set in Hong Kong, the book focuses on one week in business for a British-owned conglomerate in the 1960's. Sounds dull? Not when you throw in industrial espionage, chinese superstitions, communists takeover plots, kidnapping, murder, hostile takeovers, gambling, family problems and many, many extra-marital affairs.
However, Noble House works on so many more levels than this. Other than being entertaining, it teaches the reader a lot about Chinese society in general. It also teaches a great deal about the "real" way business is conducted, not the sterile, idealistic methods taught in business schools and colleges around the world.
It is clear that Clavell put years of research into this novel, and I would recommend it highly.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 30 September 2007
James Clavell was a WONDERFUL Writer (yes, with a capital W) and NOBLE HOUSE was a gift he left to us!

Through his eyes we visit Hong Kong in the 1970's. Clavell, like a virtuoso connaisseur of the human condition he is, manages to interweave a multitude of stories into a continuous carpet of a city living fast, taking risks, winning and loosing but never giving up.
Heads of huge conglomerates on the verge of foundering - yet never letting go of their rival's throat; dirt-poor Chinese maids striking it rich by a sudden turn of their joss; photographer-Wo and his trophy collection; drug-running smugglers asking for favors-you-can't-refuse; cold war spy networks riddled with double and triple agents; an American stock-market runner trying his hand in raiding Hong Kong companies; ladies getting "pillowed", men getting wooed, fortunes made and lost in the 10 days these all take place. Will the Noble House survive?

To quote Balzac, behind every great fortune lies crime. To prove him right, Noble House is but a thinly veiled reference to Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd, a real company. Anticlimactically for an historic British company operating in China, it is nowadays incorporated in Bermuda - and trying to forget its opium-running past (like so many City of London companies respectable today yet founded on drugs and dead natives).

All these stories are presented masterfully, without ever loosing the reader's interest or dropping the ball of building tension. There were less than a dozen writers who could do this - starting with Homer.

My copy was so worn I had to replace it.

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on 14 December 2003
This is not only my favourite from James Clavell's Asian novels, but probably my favourite book ever. A massive exhausting epic of a novel, you'll feel like you were there watching it happen by the time you get to the end. A particularly good read if you happen to be on the plane to Hong Kong, it'll give you some idea of what to expect, such is the atmosphere and level of detail of the book. Amazing, absolutly amazing.
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on 4 September 2009
"Noble House" by James Clavell is the fourth in his collection of five independent, yet linked stories about an unparalleled business empire and dynasty based in Hong Kong. The epic story is loaded with intrigue surrounding a rivetting plot and with a goodly ration of sex, violence and treachery all brought to life by Clavell's unique writing talents.

As with all of Clavell's works, the tale of the "Noble House" is woven around minutely researched historical events and with only a little imagination on the part of the reader could very easily be a reflection of true happenings.

"Noble House", along with its forerunners, "Taipan", "Gaijin" and "King Rat" is an absolute must for anyone who has ever visited Hong Kong and sure to inspire a vistis by those readers who have not yet had the chance to get there.
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on 20 March 2009
I read this many years ago when it was first published, but recently I had an opportunity to read TAi PAN again. This had to be my next book to once again continue the saga. It's a great book and really brings asia ti life, fast paced , thrilling but most of all informative about the Chinese way of life an the now lost world of Hong Kong
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on 3 August 2013
Noble House paints a vivid picture of corporate intrigue and politics in Hong Kong. As is typical of the James Clavell style, the reader is totally immersed in Hong Kong customs and culture while focusing on the struggle for survival of the Struan company.

While the book is long, it is definitely a page turner. Unfortunately I couldn't help but compare it unfavourably to other James Clavell classics like Shogun, Tai Pan and King Rat. On the surface the same ingredients are in this book - immersion in a different culture, a complicated plot that moves along - but the story feels just a bit more flat and contrived. Still, it is a pretty enjoyable read on the whole.
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on 7 January 2014
Don't be put off by the size of this book. It's one of his longest but it's one of his best. There are so many sub plots and underhand dealings going on here you may actually lose track but don't lose heart. If you want a good story with plenty of characters and a disaster thrown in for good measure then this certainly is one of Clavell's finest yet. It's a shame he hasn't written more but he passed away in 1994 but when I finish reading one of his books I feel a little disappointed as I know he only wrote 6 in the Asian Saga and I've read 5! I'm putting off reading the last one(I don't know why) but I know I'll be disappointed as he's wrote nothing else
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on 24 July 2010
If you are interested in the Far East, then this book is for you. Would have liked myself to have been the main character during that time. This is a book hard to put down...
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on 24 July 2013
This is my second favourite book after Shogun by James Clavell. Because of the size and epic nature of these stories I recommend you read them when you have the time; holidays are ideal. If you like flawed heroes then Tai-Pan has Dirk Struan. James Clavell takes you to 1840s China and the founding of Hong Kong. You experience the clash of two very different cultures where the western nations trade with China, personal enmity and religion.
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on 2 March 2015
An absolute humdinger of a book that leaves you breathless and blown away. Set in Hong Kong, by the time the book finishes, you feel as you have been thoroughly soaked in the culture of far east and have hong kong imprinted in your mind. Thrills, romance, corporate espionage, brinkmanship, love, lust, landslides, and a solid and credible peek into history are all there - but not necessarily in that order :)
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