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Tai-Pan Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 1986
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“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
“Clavell is, as always, a matchless tale-spinner.”—Cosmopolitan
“Every five or six years there appears on the horizon a book so vast in scope, so peopled with bold, colorful characters, it eclipses other efforts…. Such a book is Tai-Pan.”—Pittsburgh Press
“Grand entertainment...packed with action...gaudy and flanboyant with blood and sin, treachery and conspiracy, sex and murder...fresh and vigorous.” —New York Times
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
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.
This is the story of the founding of Hong Kong as told through the fictional characters of Dirk Struan, his son Cullum, their arch-enemy Tyler Brock and many others. Dirk Struan is the Tai Pan (supreme leader) of the Noble House, the largest and strongest of the China traders. Tyler Brock is his sworn enemy since Struan first served aboard an English man-of-war and experienced the lash from Brock's hands as a "powder monkey" at Trafalgar aboard the 110-gunship Royal Soverign.
Clavell uses Struan as the embodiment of the best virtues of the English system with her rule of law and the Chinese system. Brock, while not without redeeming qualities, reflects some of the worst features of the English system. Struan is receptive to the virtues of the Chinese culture while remaining a patriotic Englishman.
Struan has acquired many of the habits of the Chinese including bathing 2-3 times a day (as opposed to the rest of the English who believe that bathing renders one susceptible to the "flux") wearing light cloths and boots, and many others. He takes a Chinese concubine, May-May, and has children by her. His eldest half caste son, Gordon Chen, from a previous concubine plays a major role as well.
Struan is no saint, particularly when viewed from the perspective of the 21st century, or for that matter even when viewed from the perspective of his own time.Read more ›
James Clavell's Tai Pan is a book to read for all those starving for a vision of life possibilities and for the hero within us. Dirk Struan is a man who should be every boy's Father once in their lives, and for those of us not fortunate enough to know a man like this, Tai Pan fills the void perfectly.
While not living by an expressed written philosophy, Tai Pan Dirk Struan is a man who stands for reason, individualism, science, objective ethics and free trade. In essense, Dirk is a Classical Liberal or Humanist in the true sense of the word.
The story itself is a brilliant one and I find myself reading the book again every few years to remind myself of what a man Clavell was and what a wonderful world he created for us to live in.
For those who believe that Clavell was a racist because he accurately transcribed what "Pidgin" (chinese-english lingo) sounded like, you are not reading the same book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Absolute page-turner. No one writes historical fiction like Clavell. I just wish I hadn't finished this book before I went to the beach this week! Read morePublished 4 days ago by zlbubba
An exciting and an informative read of the birth of Hong Kong.. Would have been better if the characteristics of the Scotsman in Tai-Pan were completely different from those of the... Read morePublished 13 days ago by ramesh khushal
Excellent plot , full of twists and turns and provides great insight into that historical period.Published 18 days ago by dave grieve
One of the best historical fictions I have ever read. Moving on to gui gin. Loved Shogun too. Terrific series.Published 18 days ago by SampsonSurgical
This is a masterpiece. It is incredible how he immerses you in the era and geography of the founding of Hong Kong. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Martin T Genev
Great read and provides a fantastic insight into the Asian mindset as seen by the Europeans. The language though at times was difficult to follow.Published 25 days ago by Zubin Shroff
Read them in this order Top of the list - Shogun - Tai Pan -- Gai Jin - Noble House to get the Flow of the connections as they move through time !Published 25 days ago by MCPO
Fascinating context, exciting plot line, great characters. A page turner that I'd definitely recommend. Have not read the other books in the saga.Published 28 days ago by RD301