James Clavell's Tai-Pan Hardcover – Apr 1983
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''Grand entertainment…packed with action…gaudy and flamboyant with blood and sin, treachery and conspiracy, sex and murder…fresh and vigorous.'' --New York Times
''A fabulous epic of the Far East that will disturb and excite you…a thrilling and enticing tale of adventure and human relationships…dramatic episodes, exotic vignettes, and heady descriptive passages.'' --Baltimore Sun --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
About the Author
James Clavell (1921-1994) was a novelist, screenwriter, director, and World War II veteran and prisoner of war. He is best known for his epic 'Asian Saga' series of novels and their televised adaptations, along with screenplays for such films as The Great Escape, The Fly, and To Sir, with Love. His books Noble House and Whirlwind were #1 New York Times bestsellers.
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
"Tai-Pan" tells the story of Dirk Struan, Tai-Pan ("Supreme Leader") of Struan's, more popularly known as the Noble House. First in everything (money, influence, panache, daring, etc.), the Noble House has tied its future to the rise of Hong Kong, which is "founded" in the book's first chapter.
Struan, who has founded the Noble House with the vast fortune he built as an opium smuggler along the Chinese coast (many of the trading houses in "Tai Pan" owe their fortunes to opium smuggling, although they euphemistically refer to themselves as "China Traders"), has used his influence in Britain and with certain Chinese figures to take Hong Kong for the British crown as a toehold in China. Guided by his near-mystical vision of the importance of China to the world's future (at this point, China is considered by many Europeans to be a profitless wasteland populated by "heathens"), Struan will fight and kill to defend Hong Kong.
Newly widowed, Struan is comforted by his Chinese lover, May-May, who is also one of Clavell's most wonderful characters. Teetering on the verge of a stereotypical "dragon lady," May-May is a woman of courage, cunning, refinement, humor, and great beauty. Clavell lets May-May speak in both English (hilarious malaprops abound) and in Chinese so the reader gets a true picture of May-May's intelligence. Prejudices being what they were, Struan is forced to keep May-May under wraps, as it were, although the legend of the Tai Pan's Chinese mistress abound.Read more ›
It is an engaging story about the European community in China just after the British have taken control of Hong Kong. It centers on Dirk Struan, a manipulative, shrewd, and charismatic man who happens to be the most powerful trader in Asia. There is intrigue, violence, romance and tragedy, but this all adds flavor to the epic story of how the British controlled their first stronghold in Asia. Clavell does an amazing job of creating realistic characters and incorporaring facts about the time period and his knowledege of the culture. Despite being a fictional account of this era, I learned a great deal about China, British trade and sailing in the 1800's.
I would recommend this book to everyone who enjoys historical fiction or just great writing and good stories. Further, this book is at least as good as Shogun and is a critical component of the Asia Saga, so it is a must read for people who enjoy Clavell's other books.
I'll be honest: this book may have a good portrayel of English and Chinese customs and good historical accuracy (I'm guessing), but that's not what I was really looking for, not in a fiction book, anyway. What I look for in fiction, any fiction, is a book that's gripping and entertaining from start to finish. For that to happen the first thing you need is good characterization, which I think Clavell does reasonably well in this book, and secondly, ACTION. I found this book lacking in the latter. For an interesting book you need some type of coflict, tension, and this book really didn't have that much. Shogun(which is a 5 star book) had plenty to keep you interested, and I was hooked, and the only times that I got bored were a few sporadic instances scattered throughout the book that didn't last more than three pages. There was a lot of action, lots of conflict, characters' fates were uncertain, war was looming in the distance... There's a war in this book but it's only in the background, and there's no doubt that the British will easily defeat the Chinese, so there's no conflict there. Basically the only real conflict in this book is the enmity between Struan and his rival, Brock. Might have been a good sub-conflict, but as the forefront of a 700 page book makes the book lacking in terms of enjoyment. This book is divided into six parts. There's really only two sections of the book where there was enough action and conflict to get me really interested. The first was the ending of book one, and the second was of course the climax. The rest of the book, books two, three, four, and most of five, is mainly talking, planning, fretting, Struan arguing with his mistress, and more talking. It gets boring real fast, and then it gets REALLY boring.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This one rocked! I loved the saga of Dirk Struan and how this family got it's toehold in the Far East -- a big, gutsy, fast paced booked full of descriptions of life in Hong Kong... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jilla Lonsdale
I've thoroughly enjoyed all of the Clavell novels that I have read. This one is superb. Clavell is a master.Published 5 months ago by Dejan C
A lengthy book to read seemingly a little bogged down at times but well worth reading to the end!!!Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
I have read the book twice before about 40 years ago and am still
Impressed by it. I have read all of James Clavell's books, before and
am doing it again as he was a... Read more
I just had to buy this book to complete the series. Anything written by James Clavell is a worthwhile read and never a disappointment.Published on Oct. 30 2013 by R. Papp
Very enjoyable, I anticipated the ending. I would have liked the conclusion to have been different, however I would recommend the book.Published on Aug. 7 2013 by John
I'm an avid reader, have been my whole life, and I'm in love with Asia. At first, this book starts off rather slowley, giving you the low-down on basic history and building the... Read morePublished on April 28 2004 by artsy