Tai Pan

❰Read❯ ➫ Tai Pan Author James Clavell – E17streets4all.co.uk An Alternate Cover of this edition can be found hereSet in the turbulent days of the founding of Hong Kong in the 1840s Tai Pan is the story of Dirk Struan the ruler the Tai Pan of the most powerful t An Alternate Cover of this edition can be found hereSet in the turbulent days of the founding of Hong Kong in the s Tai Pan is the story of Dirk Struan the ruler the Tai Pan of the most powerful trading company in the Far East He is also a pirate an opium smuggler and a master manipulator of men This is the story of his fight to establish himself and his dynasty as the undisputed masters of the Orient.Tai Pan

James Clavell born Charles Edmund Dumares Clavell was a British novelist screenwriter director and World War II veteran and POW Clavell is best known for his epic Asian Saga series of novels and their televised adaptations along with such films as The Great Escape The Fly and To Sir with Love James Clavell November In Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia.

Paperback  Ê Tai Pan MOBI ò
  • Paperback
  • 734 pages
  • Tai Pan
  • James Clavell
  • English
  • 22 March 2015

10 thoughts on “Tai Pan

  1. says:

    MOVIE ADDENDUM ADDED SEPT 13th 2014”’Joss’ was a Chinese word that meant Luck and Fate and God and the devil combined” Hong Kong was just a cluster of fishing villages when the English traders arrived in 1841 The port uickly proved a safe haven to ships even impervious to TyphoonsDirk Lochlin Struan is a Scotsman who has spent a good part of his adult life in the orient amassing a fleet of clipper ships and a great fortune He is called the Tai Pan He has made his own joss by being smarter ruthless accumulating wealth and being stronger than his opponents He calls his company The Noble House The company is built along clan lines with loyalty being first among the most weighted characteristics for joining his empire and by association those selected will also benefiting from his protection Before anyone has a chance to show loyalty they have to prove something than just competence They have to be really good at something that is useful something that will strengthen “the clan” Struan is tough on people but that comes from the struggles he experienced reaching the top of the mountain He knows how merciless life can be and his primary goal every day is to protect what is his and the people he cares about He has a nemesis Tyler Brock who is as tough and unyielding as Struan A man who has been eually successful but always seems to come up second best He simply isn’t as smart as the Tai Pan but he covets the honorary title They hate and despise each other but than once as the plot unfolds they find themselves allied in a common cause They are certainly nay gentlemen but they do honor their own version of a gentlemanly code Dirk’s son Cullum comes out from London and is appalled to discover the man his father has become He is rather harsh on Struan long before he understands the circumstances that have shaped his father Whatever rules Cullum may believe exist in England dinna necessarily translate to the rough and ready wilds of empire building ”You used to be God to me But in the thirty days I’ve been here I’ve come to know you for what you are Killer Murderer Pirate Opium smuggler Adulterer You buy and sell people You’ve sired bastards and you’re proud of them and your name stinks in the nostrils of decent people”Well Cullum sigh you have very set opinions for someone who hasn’t even walked a mile beside him yet and certainly not a step in the very boots that built this empire Struam is undeterred by Cullum’s assessment and plans to have him take over as the Tai Pan when he decides to return to England to run for parliament He will mold the lad whether the lad knows it or not Run for parliament you say? With a Chinese mistress and a slew of bastards in tow? There are better options half a dozen at least of the womengirls he knows who would help to open doors for him but there is just one damn problemHELOVESMay May He will marry her and let them be damned if they dinna like it He has never met a problem that a cascade of silver won’t fix by God Joan Chen plays May May in the 1986 film versionMay May is breathtakingly lovely descended from an honorable and rich family who made the decision to sell her to the Tai Pan to have someone they trust close to the source of English power This is 1841 and the first Opium War is in full flower Concessions to the barbarians will have to be made Hong Kong and Struan the devil man has the ear of the English politician Longstaff or as the Chinese refer to him Odious PenisThere is the rather odd but refreshing character of Aristotle uance a man almost completely depended on the traders mostly Struan for his support He is a painter preferably of beautiful young women He is graced with a silver tongue capable of talking them out of clothes than they areat firstwilling to part with He has a wife who hounds him from one whorehouse to the next as he tries to stay one step ahead of her iron grip He might be the happiest person in this new world that is about to be carved out of the coast of China ”And he realized he was witnessing the end of an era he was also part of a new one Now he had new history to eyewitness and record New faces to draw New ships to paint A new city to perpetuate And new girls to flirt with and new bottoms to pinch”Well if he can keep one step ahead of the wife by GodJames Clavell explores the politics of the time He brings to light the manipulations that occur behind locked doors over a glass or two of good port or brandy with results that benefit the few over the many Profits are king and certainly the opium and tea trade were important to the British economy The insistence of the Chinese in receiving only silver bullion for tea actually destabilizes the British economy as silver becomes scarce and afternoon tea became jeopardized There have been grain riots tax riots draft riots religious riots but no one wants to see a British TEA riot by God We see the rise of the Triads during this time as well and in this story Gordon Chen a bastard of Struan with his head for intrigue is the head of the movement He is a man trapped between cultures not fully accepted or rejected by either one Chen is torn between his loyalty to his people and his loyalty to Struan He plans for any contingencies and shows resilience in the face of a series of setbacks beyond his control This is an epic tale with Shakespearean romance typhoons love and malaria incest discord between fathers and sons the building of a city of trade lust complicated characters with tangled relationships and an exploration of the power of possession These larger than life figures are battling on a small and large scale for what is theirs but also for what will be their childrens and their children’s children I was very impressed with the depth of the plot the deftness with which Clavell pulled me into the story and the breadth and scope he was willing to manfully shoulder to bring these characters to life James Clavell based Dirk Struan on William Jardine who built the Princely House of Jardine Matheson Co of Hong KongDirk Struan peers at the world through jaded eyes but clearly and astutely He sometimes knows the intentions of a person before they even know it themselves He is harsh but capable of great tenderness He is unpredictable but only seemingly so because he gauges every situation by much than just what is before him His projections become truths adding a mystical uality to his persona He devours information and knows how to use it While others sleep he studies He fixes what is broke before it snaps As unearthly as it seems to those who know him it is no mystery to me why he isthe Tai Pan ”Man is born to die Father I just try to protect mysel’ and mine as best I know how and to choose the time of my dying that’s all”A very interesting link that explains the history of this time period It was so kindly supplied by Margitte I watched the movie There is so much missing from the plot of the book that I'm not really sure how anyone can watch the movie and understand what is going on At different points Sean Connery Roger Moore and Steve Mcueen were attached to the project but negotiations fell through each time Bryan Brown was cast to play Dirk Struan and actually plays the part well Joan Chen is absolutely stunning as May May but despite the efforts of the two main actors the movie proves unsatisfactory This story really should have been a mini series like Shogun and Noble House Anybody who may have had thoughts of watching the movie instead of reading the book unlikely on GR would be incredibly short changed from the epic experience that only the book can provide If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at can also find terrific reviews at

  2. says:

    A masterful work from an extremely talented storytellerTruth be told I think this was better written than Shōgun even though I actually liked the 1975 book set in Japan better Tai Pan is streamlined focused on its subject and narrativeTai Pan was Clavell’s second book first published in 1966 and is coincidentally also the second chronological book in his Asian saga of books Shogun was his third published book but first in chronological order It was an immediate best seller and fan favoriteSet in the budding village of Hong Kong in 1841 this is a historical fiction about that time and place and its place in the socio economic world of that time as much as it is a character study about the Tai Pan – Dirk StruanTai Pan is a title the leader strong man big man on campus – of the richest trading company on Hong Kong Struan is shown to be a master manipulator of men and a bold and clever strategist And he was also a pirate opium smuggler adulterer strong arm and all around badass Clavell reveals our central protagonist to be an alpha male’s male that would make Ted Nugent look like Wallace ShawnClavell’s narrative describes international intrigue romance violence and a keen eye for the historically relevant for this period piece Like all of the Asian saga stories in his canon the dominant element is the contrast between western and eastern cultures with a sympathetic tone towards the oriental and ultimately about how the synergistic combination of cultures creates a prosperous resultHighly entertaining and recommended

  3. says:

    Having begun with King Rat I proceeded to work my way through most of James Clavell's Asian Saga before running out of steam and interest with the overly long and rather lacklustre Whirlwind; and of them all Tai Pan was my favorite Shogun was fantastic mysterious complex cruel violent erotic dressed with elaborate manners and rituals alien thought patterns ironclad honor smelly Europeans the whole works but it didn't have the Struans versus the Brocks which crackling bloody rollicking cutthroat competitive maneuverings grabbed me by the collar and yanked me into this Southwest Pacific tale hanging me on the yardarm so that I could marvel at the entirety of the colorful frantic pageant unfolding before my young and excited eyesFrom the very opening with a virgin Hong Kong awaiting its annexation by the British recently victorious in the First Opium War and the first taste of the rough and ready brutal on a dime sensibilities of the coarse and cunning Brock the somewhat subdued and disciplined Yanks of Cooper Tillman and then the magnificent entrance of the swashbuckling but practical hero himself Dirk fucking Struan the Tai Pan of the commercial empires and his half brother Robb who so dearly wished to be like Dirk but just wasn't all of these heads of Western trading houses and the differing in details but similar in spirit dreams of the almost endless potential for Hong Kong serving as a leverage point for the commercial crowbar they wished to wield to crack open the unimaginable riches of the mysterious and vast Orient everything is laid out to give the reader a taste of the excitement the possibility that lay heavy in the humid airAnd then fate and chance work their inevitable twists and unforeseen disasters into the mix and we are plunged into a complex interrelated web of schemes ploys conspiracies violence lusts and desperation as the House of Struan strives to recover from happenstance misfortune without selling the British portion of Hong Kong's soul whilst the House of Brock under the glint eyed heavy handed leadership of Brock and the brutal energies of his hulking son Gorth do everything in their power to ensure that Struan and Company flounder and sink thus enabling Brock to assume to title of Tai Pan that he holds by right should be his Into this mix the talented Clavell tosses wizened Chinese bigwig merchants and secret societies four mysterious halved coins stiff lipped British naval officers conniving Russian Grand Dukes corrupt and incompetent English plenipotentiaries Aye matey pirates and lice infested British rogue mercenaries typhoons storms crazy oceanic currents and topping it all the heady and blossoming love between Dirk and his Chinese mistress May May an interesting microcosm of the tentative but burgeoning relationship between Western and Oriental civilizations each with their own conceptions of pride honor barbarism and justice; perhaps only in love do they operate on jointly familiar groundI have since come across plenty of criticisms of Clavell about how much he got wrong or mangled irredeemably in the process of crafting his complicated thrillers featuring clashing pre modern cultures Whatever The man could tell a tale and one with enough recognizable features enmeshed within the exotic and the historic to propel his literary vessel across roiling tempestuous seas It is a magnificent and vastly entertaining book one I've read several times never failing to tense up when Struan is ghosting across the water nursing his fortune saving forty lacs of silver from a hungry Brock; or dearly wish Gorth would at any point receive a desperately deserved thrashing; or marvel at the long range thinking of the wise Jing ua; or cringe when May May bedecked in all of the gaudy accoutrements of a European lady earns an unexpected and humiliating look of horrified shock from her surprised lover; or feel a melancholy heaviness when the typhoon smashes the island towards the end of the book dealing harshly with Dirk and May May but opening up new vistas of opportunity for Culum to emerge from his father's formidable shadow It's been a long time since I last cracked it open but do I harbor any doubts that it would still prove to be a first rate page turner? Ha

  4. says:

    I've read this before really liked it but it is even better as an audio book Incredible really John Lee has great accents intonations really makes the book come aliveClavell is most famous for Shōgun the first of his Asian series which was made into a mini series starring Richard Chamberlain It was excellent takes place about 25 centuries earlier in Japan Tai Pan is about the founding of Hong Kong about 1840 takes place over a period of 6 months It was made into a movie in the mid 80's but wasn't nearly as good Too much was left out a movie just can't capture Dirk StruanDirk Struan is uite possibly my favorite heroic figure in fiction He comes from the early Victorian culture Clavell does an excellent job contrasting attitudes Where the rest of the British believe their culture is far superior to the 'heathen Chinese' Struan has adopted many of the Chinese customs that make sense to him He rejects others to the dismay of his mistress the resulting dialog is often hilarious especially with John Lee's fantastic reading Through it all Dirk Struan strides like a giant He's just a man but he dominates those around him disparate cultures cut throat business murky politics through sheer nerve will intelligence He's open handed with those less fortunate the devil himself to those who wrong him or hisThe historical aspect of all Clavell's books is also really interesting The broad strokes are accurate such as why the opium trade exists Hong Kong is so important The people events are mostly fictional though I'm not sure how accurate his portrayal of the culture is but don't really care It certainly came alive immersed me Best of all was the way he managed to compare contrast the cultures For instance people are basically bought sold by the Chinese Americans British yet they each think the others are awful in the way they do it The differences in medicine politics business religion sex every day life are extraordinary He does a great job of bringing alive alien concepts such as 'face'similar to reputation 'joss' a sort of luckkarmafate mix John Lee narrates Gai Jin Noble House too I'll be listening to both soon since they're continuations of this story David Case narrates Shōgun King Rat neither of which is tied closely to the Noble House although all are part of Clavell's Asian Saga Whirlwind the last of the series another of the Noble House novels isn't owned by my library unfortunately I'm going to try to find it else whereHere is the Wikipedia entry for Clavell's Asian Saga contains spoilers novel can't recommend this book highly enough especially read by Lee I think it's 25 hours long so would be perfect for a long trip Beware you might just keep driving so you can finish it

  5. says:

    Wanted to get a nice concise history of Hong Kong ended up with James Clavell's Tai Pan I read Shogun when I was 14 and remember liking it enough to read through the 1000 pages and that sex scene with the anal beads? Blew my 14 year old mind And my DAD had read the book Yikes Maybe my taste is different now but Tai Pan is pretty dissapointing Lots of cool historical details but they feel a bit shoe horned in and the main character is well basically perfect At least in James Clavell's mind Big lusty Scottish pirate with a crazy dream to unite the traditions of China and Europe I dunno still weird to have an unambiguously good character who is basically a wealthy drug dealer that started a war with China to protect his opium trade I gave up on this 200 pages in

  6. says:

    Big chewy lip smacking gut busting fiction How appropriate that I should have finished it on Thanksgiving a day given to gastronomical excessWhew This is not a historical tome It is a fictionalized account of the first year of the British colony of Hong Kong 1841 The characters are all loosely based on actual people as are their trading companies That is what Clavell did in his novels and it's important that one understand thatClavell was also an ardent supporter of Free Trade an avowed opponent of Communism and Fascism and an admirer of certain aspects of both Asian and Western culture Much has also been written about Clavell's fondness of blending those aspects that he believed were the best of both worlds to make a new culture I would have to agree with those folks All these aspects of Clavell come out strongly in his novels and will either drive you crazy or have you nodding in agreement Whatever route you take it might be helpful to be prepared Finally and this is something that many seem to never take into account James Clavell made his career for many years as a Hollywood screenwriter and movie director He wrote popular entertainment The Great Escape The Fly and To Sir with Love and they were mainstream big budget mostly affairs Clavell brought this aspect to all of his novels as well Being aware of the before mentioned details are important They all play a major part in Clavell's writing When you get right down to it Tai Pan is a historical romance in the older sense a literary genre of high culture romance or chivalric romance is a style of heroic prose and verse narrative that was popular in the aristocratic circles of High Medieval and Early Modern Europe They were fantastic stories about marvel filled adventures often of a knight errant portrayed as having heroic ualities who goes on a uest only in this case Dirk Straun's uest is the never ending struggle to ensure that his company continue to thrive As has been pointed out by others there is no grand battle to fight in this story no Uber Villain to be brought down no single event at all The journey is the story As a result there is a never ending series of mini adventures within the story Schemes are enacted others are discovered moves and counter moves friends are enemies and enemies are friends and sailing ships race across the South China Sea Grand adventure not academia It's entertaining It's not historical scholarship Are there problems? Of course there are At times Dirk Straun does become tiresome He's too perfect a paragon of male virtue Or at least what James Clavell considered to be male virtue He's lucky too lucky at times smarter than most better looking wiser etc etc I would be willing to bet that Dirk Straun is probably the idealized version of James Clavell Not unheard of for authors to do that especially in this type of fiction However styles and tastes change over the years and this novel was written in the mid 1960's For many younger readers Dirk Straun might grow tiresome and that's understandable The role of women in the story will be jarring to younger readers as well They are important and capable but only to a point Then the men have to take over There are things that are just best when handled by the men Ultimately women are about bearing children and taking care of the home Their occasional forays into intrigue are ultimately motivated by their desire to protect their families and help their men To a 1960's reader this wouldn't have been unacceptable but in 2012 I have to agree that it might be difficult to swallow Just keep reminding yourself when the book was written and that it was written by an adult male who had made his living writing for Hollywood But despite these aspects and a few others that I just don't want to get into right now such as the pidgeon English conversations ugh Tai Pan is entertaining It grabs you and keeps you interested Though it took me a month to get through it it was a very busy month and novel reading had to take a back seat when I did sit down with it I would often go through fifty and sixty pages with no effort In other words it's a page turner and that's okay as well As I noted at the beginning this isn't a work of historical research It's a big thick piece of popular entertainment So dig in and enjoyor not depending on your tastesIronically enough this is one book that I classify as a Beach Read that I actually finished at the beach Lincoln City Oregon It's appropriate

  7. says:

    One absolutely brilliant book but I didn't expect this ending something similar yes but the way it ended NO It broke my heart a little bit and I cried usually this would ruin the book for me but this one was a masterpiece and I can't say even one bad thing about itThere were so many great characters especially Dirk and his Mei Mei they were so well suitedyin and yang Some books and characters fade with time but I'm not sure I will ever forget those two This is a book I will be rereading a lot in the future

  8. says:

    I meant to start with Shogun and this book was available at the library so I started here first It was a great story of how Hong Kong was under British rule It was a great read and James Clavell is a talented author I plan on reading of these Asian Saga's

  9. says:

    Tai Pan is an excellent historical fiction about the early days of Hong Kong and British Chinese trade Technically taking place in the same slightly alt timeline of Shogun Tai Pan easily on its own merits and truth be told has little to no direct linkages to the events in Shogun It is a wide ranging story about Western trade interests in China and the establishment of Hong Kong as a British colonyThe story is told through a wide array of POV characters giving the reader a well rounded view of their motivations passions agendas and blind spots that would otherwise be absent if told in a different manner There aren't really good guys and bad guys except you know Imperialism just competing interests and agendas We see things from both British perspectives as well as a Chinese ones each with their own uniue view on the matters at hand and a diverse range of opinion within each respective camp Like in Shogan Clavell allows all sides to have good reason to pursue the agendas they do and he avoids any cliched portrayal of characters Western or AsianI found the story itself gripping and the plot turns both compelling and unexpected I was engrossed the entire time and sad to see the journey come to an end Like Shogun the characters were so vividly portrayed ending the book was like saying good bye to real people If you enjoy historical fictions and morally ambiguous characters acting during a pivotal moment in history you could do much worse than Tai Pan

  10. says:

    When it comes to books I'm much sentiment than reason I think that's why a person can give a five star to a book like say The Alchemist and a four or maybe even a three star to a Dostoyevsky If not by the heart we would only rate five stars to the great classics perhaps Because of the sentiment than the literary aspects of the work I give five stars to most books I really love and Taipan falls into that category I read Taipan when I was about eighteen or so To this day it remains the book with the strongest most impressive lead character I've ever read Over all it's a great book It takes you to the far exotic East a place that has always enchanted me with its deeper philosophies like chinese Taoism so very different from anything western or Zen buddhism which the samurais embraced as a means to prepare themselves for the eminence of death in combat The book's got great ambience impressive characters villains and good guys and a fine plot but what really have stuck with me through all these years is the larger than life persona of Dirk Struan the Taipan or supreme leader Like James Bond he is what a lot of young male kids dream to be physically stronger than anyone around handsome extremely successful and charming; Someone who's capable of beating any and every odd; someone who's as invincible as a man can be If you're familiar with Clavell's work I must say for example that Xogum is undeniably a better book but no other work from Clavell has a amazing character than Dirk Struan The Taipan is Clavell's greatest character at least by the parameters I’ve listed which if you know the author says a lot He alone is worth the reading

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