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Noble House Paperback – Mar 10 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Trafalgar Square (March 10 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340268778
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340268773
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.9 x 5.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,354,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4.5 out of 5 stars

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By NeuroSplicer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Sept. 29 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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, although a 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.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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By Scott G. Beckley on Oct. 8 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is Clavell's last book of his epic series. I am glad that I read Tai-Pan (thanks to another customer review's suggestion), so that I was able to follow the characters and historic development of Noble House. Noble House is much better than Tai-Pan and is definitely an easier read.
Noble House has a pretty good plot. I found the Russia, world-domination plot a little underdeveloped and could have been wiped out entirely out of the equation, thus, saving a couple hundred pages of this lengthy 1200+ epic novel.
The main characters are exciting to follow: Ian Dunross, Casey, Bartlett, Quillan Gornt, 4 Fingers Wu. Some are developed enough to recognize throughout the novel: Peter Marlowe, Brian Kwok, Philip and John Chen, Suslev. And some could have been left out: Haply, Inspector Smyth, Havergill, etc.
A pretty decent read, but very, very long. This could have been shortened and still be a powerful novel - even more so.
It makes sense to read these in order because of continuing saga's. I took the shortcut and only read Tai-Pan and Noble House and this was enough to follow the storyline.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Set 120 years after the events of Tai-Pan, Ian Dunross is the latest in Dirk Struan's line to head Struan's, also known as the Noble House. To survive, Struan's always skates the financial edge, and Quillan Gornt, descendant of Dirk's enemy, Tyler Brock, is quite happy to push it over the edge.
Even though we meet many fine characters, from American businesswoman Casey Tcholok to smuggler's son Paul Choy, Hong Kong itself is really the star of this novel. Seeming almost anarchic at times, the colony (as it then was, the novel is set in 1963) and its people, Chinese and British, seem to worship one god, Money.
Clavell ties in references to his other novels--characters from King Rat show up and relive their wartime hatred, many of the characters discuss and live out the heritage of Tai-Pan, and a Japanese character mentions briefly the events of Shogun.
This is the sort of book that will keep you up reading until 4 a.m.
What I didn't like: I found the character of Peter Marlowe most annoying. He shows up all the time, acts like a know it all, and is really Clavell's way of writing himself into the book. Also, about six different times, it is mentioned that the U.S. is starting to get involved in Vietnam, and each time, a precient character chirps (or at least thinks) that the U.S. will regret it. Hindsight is 20/20, the novel was published in 1981.
A good read.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's 1963. Hong Kong business conglomerate Noble House teeters on its foundations, dangerously close to collapse. With enemies and fair-weather friends on all sides vying for a chunk of the fallout rubble, Ian Dunross Struan, tai-pan of the Noble House, must somehow wheel and deal his way into at least twenty million dollars to pay off his debts and save his inheritance. But the tai-pan's struggle is just the surface layer of story, for in _Noble House_ James Clavelle weaves an incredible amount of subplots and historical tangents into a seamless whole-a massive tome that should give the consistent reader many hours of entertainment. Included in this week and a half of Hong Kong history: cold war espionage, bank failures and hostile takeovers, stock market fluctuations, drug smuggling, kidnapping, murder, high-price concubines and the men that desperately seek to please them, horse racing with enormous sums on the line, and the ever-present threat of a sudden typhoon or earthquake to interrupt everyone's fun and put things in perspective.
_Noble House_ is structured in the typical novel format, being a slow, steady rise of tension and the continual addition of complications, always building the conflict and potential consequences, until release: climax and conclusion. Keeping the reader interested in both plot and characters over 350+ thousand words shows great skill on the part of the author. But what impressed me most about _Noble House_ were Clavelle's insights into the human condition: the fallible, fragile nature of both interpersonal and professional relationships; the overpowering lure of greed and lust; the strong contrasts in eastern and western thought processes.
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