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4.8 out of 5 stars
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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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 12 April 2016
Strap yourself in for an epic experience as James Clavel takes you on a roller coaster ride over 10 days in Hong Kong in 1963. It's a long book but it rattles along at great speed. Fantastic characters, superb interleaving storylines and wonderful description create a thrilling story of intrigue and drama as the Taipan fights to protect The Noble House against his nemesis. Every bit as good as Shogun and Taipan and the later Whirlwind.
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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 5 June 2016
Noble House is the fifth novel in James Clavell’s Asia saga and the third to deal with the Hong Kong based trading conglomerate the noble house. If you have not read the preceding novels Tai Pan and Gai Jin, you need to stop reading this review here, and nor should you begin with Noble House. The setting is 1963 Hong Kong, and the book pits for a final time the Struan family Tai Pan against his enemies, this time no more against the vanquished Brocks, but their indirect heirs, the Gornts. But as is usual with Clavell, there are multiple plots bringing in MI6, the CIA, the KGB, and Maoist China in a parallel spy story, plus the local bandits and their various smuggling schemes, all tied together in one giant interwoven web. There are also, of course, various romantic interests, which also interact with the book’s main thrust. The Noble House, meanwhile, is once again overextended, and it is attempting to bring in a big-bucks American partner into the business. But that partner turns out to be as dangerous a predator as Struan’s traditional and more open enemies. Kidnappings, coastal shoot-outs, mud slides, triple spying schemes, high-stakes stock-exchange takeovers, this has it all. In another interesting twist, moreover, Calvell brings in Peter Marlowe, the hero of King Rat, who is really the author himself. Marlowe does not play a central role, but having him there brings added dimension to the plot as well as an odd, nostalgic gloss to what is the noble house’s final firework.
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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 28 September 2014
What an astonishing writer James Clavell was. Noble House is an incredible achievement. He writes with such fascinating detail and slowly builds the tension between characters that come vividly alive. Also he has a beautiful eye for humour. The novel is huge! But if you get into it you may never want to leave Hong Kong in the 1960's.
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on 24 December 2014
The best novel of a great saga. A fascinating journey in the '70s, the high life of Hong Kong, the Cold War, China moving its first steps to become a super power (again). If you have to pick two novels from this saga, pick Noble House and Tai Pan. The latest has the best characters, however the Noble House has the best setting. Enjoy!
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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 5 August 2001
One of my favourite books of all time. Read so often my second copy is starting to look tatty!
Quite a long book with complex plots that intertwine, exciting and very well written. Clavell at his very best, a good idea to read Tai-Pan before buying this book. I wouldnt reccomend Gai-Jin though skip this and go on to Noble House.
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