Second novel in Clavell's "Asian Saga" series
James Clavell is a master story teller; like Shogun, Tai-Pan is an Epic book. I read it over thirty-five years ago and will read it again someday. This book is among my all time favourite books, well worth the time and effort. Senior Doctor-at-Bass! D. A.
This book is fantastic. It's about this amoral force of nature captain of industry type named Dirk Struan, known to the Chinese as the Green-Eyed Devil. He's a Scottish business owner and adventurer who dominates Hong Kong. Well, I say amoral, but what I really mean is that he's a Nietzschean ubermensch - he is a powerful man who follows his own code, and so appears evil to most people.
If you're at all interested in Asia, the 1800s (I think), or the tense world of trade and business then you will love this book. Fair warning, though, Clavell's huge potboilers tend to leave off on an anticlimax in order to lead into the next book - so the best parts will come in the middle, rather than at the end.
The merchants are given Hong-Kong as a place of creating their harbour to avoid their "dirtiness" from contaminating the civilized people of China.
The Noble House, controlled by the Tai Pan (Struan) is based on a true story about how the merchants were the real power that took over the east.
This book involves tons of adventure and a lot of business dealings and double dealings where your friend is plotting your bankruptcy as you sit down for tea.
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