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Tai-Pan: The Second Novel of the Asian Saga Paperback – 1 Jul 1999

4.5 out of 5 stars 128 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Tai-Pan: The Second Novel of the Asian Saga
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  • Gai-Jin: The Third Novel of the Asian Saga: A Novel of Japan
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  • Noble House: The Fifth Novel of the Asian Saga
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Product details

  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (1 July 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340750693
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340750698
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 4.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Packed with action . . . gaudy and flamboyant with blood and sin, treachery and conspiracy, sex and murder . . . grand entertainment (New York Times)

Intensely readable and exciting (Sunday Telegraph)

James Clavell is a teller of stories. They are complicated and exciting, and you are desperate to know what will happen to his characters because they are like the people you know from your own life and experience, set in strange and sometimes terrible circumstances (John Simpson)

Intensely readable and exciting (Sunday Telegraph)

Book Description

The bestselling classic set in the turbulent days of the founding of Hong Kong repackaged for a new generation of readers.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Initially when I picked up this book I expected to be slightly disappointed as I believed there was no way it could measure up to the awesome Shogun by the same author. How wrong I was! If anything this is even better and is a more rounded story featuring an ending, something which Clavell in Shogun seemed to forget to write.
Dirk Struan is a neatly nuanced hero and the wily Brock along with his betsial son Gorth make compelling brutish enemies. Tai-Pan is the kind of historical novel which does not deserve the scorn that is often poured on the genre. Quite simply, adventure storytelling at its best.
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Format: Paperback
I first read Shogun because of an interest in all things Japanese. Having liked Clavell's writing style so much, I decided to read more of his books. I wasn't disappointed. Tai-Pan is even better than Shogun. The characterisation is excellent and makes you love a character who is essentially a bit of a pirate. Now hooked on the fortunes of the Struan Company, I have to read the complete set.
Death and damnation to Tyler Brock and all his descendants!!!
Long live the Noble House.
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Format: Paperback
Tai-Pan tells the true story of the largest trading company in Asia, and how he succeceded in making Hong Kong British.
The story itself cannot be summarised, I have never read a book with so much attention to detail. Dozens of subplots, Deadly Intrique,Manipulation,Sex,Politics,War,rivalries. Just an all round Epic which evryone must read!
Clavell creates rich characters which you will remember for many a year, Straun,Orlov and Quance stand out. He mixes Drama with Action, Action with Humor,etc and sub-plots which seem impossibly entwined.
You will be transported to a different world, one you will not want to leave.
One of the greatest books I have ever read, everyone should read at least once a year.
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Format: Paperback
James Clavell is a master of his art, and Tai-Pan is a highly readable novel. That said, it lacks the force of the earlier-set Shogun, and I found it weaker as a historical novel. Set in 1840-2, during the first Opium War, Tai-Pan revolves around the foundation of the colony of Hong Kong. The somewhat romantic view is that the island was meant to bridge the Chinese and Western civilizations and bring modernity to China. Dirk Struan, a Scot, is the Tai-Pan, the boss of the biggest British trading house. He battles it out with his fellow merchant and arch-rival Brock, with Chinese pirates, and with pompous consular officials for survival and especially to make sure his creation - the colony, just granted to Britain by the defeated Chinese - also survives. The Tai-Pan must escape bankruptcy, murder, and disrepute, while at the same time ensuring his weakling son is made fit to succeed him. The cast is, as usual in Clavell, operatic, also involving many minor characters - the young and penniless English libertine, the Tai-Pan's half-caste son, etc., and multiple colourful side-plots.

While this makes for good reading as an adventure novel, I nevertheless found Tai-Pan mildly disappointing after Shogun - admittedly a hard act to follow. The novel lacks the breakneck start of its predecessor. The hero is not based on a historical character - or else if he is meant to be based on Lindsay or Jardine, the characterisation is grossly off. The history is less reliable, and indeed the Opium War itself is more or less ignored, with no mention even of the siege of Canton. The rather nasty opium trade, of course, is also glossed over.
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Format: Paperback
I was recommended this book by a friend of mine and started to read it with trepidation. (Long book and I was unsure whether I would be that interested in the era/genre).

However...by about page 50 or so, I was grabbed by the throat and dragged into a story line so compelling that I literally could not put the book down. I would challenge anyone with an ounce of imagination not to love this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not read the kindle version yet but read the paperback 4 times. Gives in depth insight to the Asian and British mentality of that time. The film, though good, is too short to cover the intricate detail presented in the novel. A staple for any kindle library and a wonderful read.
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Format: Paperback
James Clavell creates the most complex mass of characters and story lines I have ever come across. The real art is in weaving it together seamlessly, so as to make an easy read. The story soon pulls you deep in and Clavells` descriptive writing builds beautiful landscapes and scenes. Expect a twisting, turning and desceptive ride, cruising to a terriffic climax. If you enjoy this book, try "Shogun" and say goodbye to the real world......
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Format: Paperback
What a story! The sheer scope and richness of this tale kept me spellbound from cover to cover, dazzled by each fascinating detail and caught up in the sheer excitement and layer upon layer of intrigue. The monumental struggle between the coarse and vicious Brock and his mortal enemy, the mighty Tai-Pan Struan is almost archetypal in its impact and set against the brilliantly complete Chinese cultural backdrop this is a tale without a single flaw. At turns funny, sad and exhilirating, this is a novel that should be read by everyone, for it encompasses the best of life and I feel much the richer for it.
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