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5.0 out of 5 stars Clavell's greatest, fascinating characters in fine setting
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...
Published on Aug. 3 2002 by Gary M. Greenbaum

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3.0 out of 5 stars Winded
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...
Published on Oct. 8 2002 by Scott G. Beckley


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3.0 out of 5 stars Winded, Oct. 8 2002
By 
Scott G. Beckley (Denver, CO United States) - See all my reviews
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Clavell's greatest, fascinating characters in fine setting, Aug. 3 2002
By 
Gary M. Greenbaum (Fairfax, VA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Murder, Mayhem, Manipulation: Just another week in Hong Kong, Aug. 11 2001
By 
Ian Vance (pagosa springs CO.) - See all my reviews
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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. Besides the (literally) enormous entertainment found herein, the cultural and socio-political information in itself makes _Noble House_ a worthy read.
Interestingly, Claville predicts the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union by detailing the basic flaw in their world policy: spending vast amounts of borrowed capital on military and subversive activities while the infrastructure of the country crumbled away thanks in no small part to poor maintenance and the stifling of innovation. Given that this book was written in 1981, during one of the peaks of the so-called "cold war," Clavelle's hints and insinuations resonate with a twenty-first-century hindsight.
Recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Modern Continuation of Tai Pan, June 1 2001
By 
Stephen M. Kerwick (Wichita, KS United States) - See all my reviews
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Like all of Clavell's books since 1980, I bought Noble House the moment I knew it was available. Unfortunately, that was during a week of law school finals. Although I finished the thousand pages in a few days, my grades turned out to be a full level below all my other semesters. That's how spellbinding Noble House is. This book is certainly top rate in terms of plot, suspense and characters in its own right, but what bound me to it during all my spare time was the interrelationship with the characters from Clavell's previous Hong Kong novel, Tai Pan and, to a lesser extent, King Rat. The same was true later with Whirlwind and Gai Jin, neither of which gathered a speck of dust in the bookstore before I bought it. Even today, I mourn over the fact that Clavell didn't live long enough to write another 2 or 3 books in his series. I have never read any other author who leaves so many questions unanswered and so many critical issues unresolved, but does so in a way that feeds the curiosity so strongly rather than disappointing. It is a tribute to Clavell's monumental skill as a storyteller that this is a strength of his novels rather than a major irritant to his readers. Very few of those readers stopped at one Clavell novel and, as far as I know, almost everyone who has read one goes on to read all the rest. Unlike so many of today's authors, he writes about heroes who aren't made of cardboard and who hold genuine mystery no matter how closely they are observed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A book of the old Hong Kong., Oct. 12 1997
Noble House is a book that captures the essence of Hong Kong as the adventurers in all of us imagine it: a hot bed of passion, murder, and intrigue. Clavell was a pioneer in fiction about old Asia, and arguably, this is the best example of his work.
I found this book to be extreemly satifying and the conclusion of the book left me a bit sad; I didn't want the tale to end! Noble house is THAT kind of book. The characters all seems extremely vivid and capture the imagination, especially the Taipan of the Noble House, a role that Pierce Brosnan performs beautifully in the movie performance of this classic.
Recent novels which have attempted to describe Hong Kong and its people have been mediocre at best; many books simply are so far removed from the truth as to be laughable. Yet even here in Asia, Clavell and Noble House have captured a following which attestes to its authenticity and flavour. I can say nothing more than to ask you to read this epic novel and share the enjoyment that many ahve already experienced.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A masterful epic, Aug. 19 1997
By A Customer
Noble House is, quite simply, one of the five most enjoyable books I've ever read, and re-read, and re-read, and . . . you get the picture. Clavell has taken the wonderful foundation of Tai-Pan and Shogun and added new levels of depth and complexity.
At the beginning of the novel, young Ian Dunross assumes the mantle of Tai-Pan of the Noble House of Struan during a dark and stormy night and a dark and stormy period for the Noble House. The company's holdings are stretched to the limit, and that very night it loses a shipment of valuable contraband at sea. Dunross, heir to the title of Tai-Pan, or supreme leader, is also the kindred spirit to the company's founder, Dirk Struan, the legendary pirate, smuggler, and founder of the Noble House and Hong Kong. Dunross has also inherited the enduring hatred of the family's historical enemies, the Brocks, now personified in Quillan Gornt, head of the Second House. Gornt, a worthy adversary, has his own designs to topple Struan's and take over as the Noble House.
But so does everybody else in the novel, it seems, unless the characters are interested in international espionage involving the Soviet Union, Communist China, the United States, or good old England. Triple agents, royalty, thieves, kidnappers, murderers, gangsters, and businessmen rub shoulders in this tempest in the teapot of Hong Kong.
The key variables in this play are two Americans on a business trip, who hold the key to finiancial success in Hong Kong. Linc Bartlett is CEO, and his right-hand man is the beautiful woman, K.C. Tcholok. The Americans' ignorance of Hong Kong customs reflects the reader's, and injects a considerable amount of humor into the novel.
But, as with Clavell's first novel (Tai-Pan), the center of attention remains the tai-pan. Ian Dunross is the personification of what is good in the British Empire, even though he is as ruthless as they come. He guides the Noble House through a minefield without a map, using his business acumen, guts, and joss to see him through. A climactic ending to an epic story of love, business, and war is immensely satisfying, and leaves you begging for more (just like Tai-Pan, Shogun, and King Rat did before). A must-read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST BOOK I'VE EVER READ IN MY LIFE!!!!!!!!!, Dec 2 1998
By A Customer
The Noble House is by far one of the best of Clavell's works! I got so caught up in the drama between Quillan Gornt and Ian Dunross that I couldn't put the book down. I didn't want it to ever end, and when it did I was very very very upset!! I enjoyed the book so much that I found out I wanted to learn more about the characters. I learned about the stock market and bank counsels, etc. I loved this book and I recommend it to everyone and anyone!! It's the kind of book that once you start reading it, you'll never ever ever want to put down. If you're looking for a book with drama, passion, intenseness, murder, mystery, and thrill, you should read The Noble House. It's a wonderful tie in of all of Clavell's books and I simply loved it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Historical Novel !, Dec 21 1999
By A Customer
The book Noble House is an absolutely entrancing roller-coaster ride of a adventure! It is an account based on the famous trading house giant Jardine Matheson and Co. of Hong Kong which was founded in the early 19th century by William Jardine (the Dirk Struan of Clavell's Tai-Pan).
This book is absolutely a stunning tour-de-force of knowledge of the Bysantine complexities of Hong Kong's social and political intrigue- where long memories trigger hatreds and alliances that are invisible to those ignorant of custom and hisotry.
This novel absolutely gripped me. It has provided me with THOUSANDS of dollars of entertainment for a few pennies per hour! Read the first few pages, and you will be hooked! it is that good.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Historical Novel !, Dec 21 1999
By A Customer
The book Noble House is an absolutely entrancing roller-coaster ride of a adventure! It is an account based on the famous trading house giant Jardine Matheson and Co. of Hong Kong which was founded in the early 19th century by William Jardine (the Dirk Struan of Clavell's Tai-Pan).
This book is absolutely a stunning tour-de-force of knowledge of the Bysantine complexities of Hong Kong's social and political intrigue- where long memories trigger hatreds and alliances that are invisible to those ignorant of custom and hisotry.
This novel absolutely gripped me. It has provided me with THOUSANDS of dollars of entertainment for a few pennies per hour! Read the first few pages, and you will be hooked! it is that good.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hands down: Clavell's finest work, June 28 2000
By 
Todd (Hartsville, SC USA) - See all my reviews
Noble House is one of those rare books that gets really under your skin. The setting, plot,and characterization are written so colorfully it's as if the reader is in Hong Kong watching the novel unfold. Noble House is an ancient British-owned (actually Scottish) Asian trading company based in Hong Kong. The novel captures how difficult it is for such a company to stay on top. The Noble House has to protect itself from hostile takeovers, foreign powers via the KGB, CIA, and MI-6, and internal strife to name a few such difficulties.
I consider myself to be an above average reader; the 1370 pages of Noble House flew by in a three day weekend.
If you like historical novels, this is a book for you.
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Noble House
Noble House by James Clavell (Paperback - 1981)
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