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Noble House: A Novel O...
 
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James Clavell
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Noble House: A Novel Of Contemporary Hong Kong (Asian Saga #4)

4.22  ·  Rating Details  ·  29,277 Ratings  ·  358 Reviews
The setting is Hong Kong, 1963. The action spans scarcely more than a week, but these are the days of high adventure: from kidnapping and murder to financial double-dealing and natural catastrophes -- fire, flood, and landslide. Yet they are days filled as well with all the mystery and romance of Hong Kong -- the heart of Asia -- rich in every trade... money, flesh, opium, ...more
Published (first published April 1981)
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Rich It is part of his "Tai Pan" series which is fantastic. However, it can stand alone as well as the novel takes place generations down the line from Tai…moreIt is part of his "Tai Pan" series which is fantastic. However, it can stand alone as well as the novel takes place generations down the line from Tai Pan. I recommend reading both books, Tai Pan has such a great story or discovery, life and conquest that this book continues. (less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Craig
Jul 04, 2007 Craig rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
In many ways, this is my favorite Clavell novel. I'm kind of a big sucker for it.

It's a huge, vastly sweeping epic contained entirely within a single week in Hong Kong. It's a blockbuster of a novel in every sense, bringing equal amounts of entertainment and intellectual provocation.

There's something else going on in this novel which gives it added joy for those who have devoured the rest of the Asian saga -- in Noble House, Clavell begins to tie together the characters from all his other nove
...more
Jim
Sep 08, 2014 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another fantastic part of Clavell's Asian Saga, this continues the story of the Noble House, created by Dirk Struan in Tai-Pan & continued in Gai-Jin. It is set in Hong Kong & takes place over a week or so in 1963. There are a LOT of words for such a short time period. It's not as tight a story as Tai-Pan, but similar in many other respects.

Tai-Pan took place in 1841, the founding of Hong Kong. It follows the trials & tribulations of Dirk Struan. This book, Noble House, follows the g
...more
Michael Nash
Ding-dong the witch is dead!. 6 months and 1400 pages later, I have finally finished this massive door stopper of a novel, and the best I can say about it is that its better than Gai-jin, the massive tome about Struan's in 1870s Japan which also took me most of a year to get through. I've been reading a book of Clavell's Asian Saga per year since college, a privileged position on my reading list accorded to him because I so enjoyed Shogun, Tai-pan and King Rat.
The plot of this novel moves at a s
...more
Walter
This epic saga of a great British mercantile house in Hong Kong in the early 1960s is a 1400 page tome whose plot takes place in the space of one week. The action in the novel is intense. In Noble House, you get the feel of a staunchly capitalistic Hong Kong, a place that makes the setting of "The Jungle" look like a worker's paradise! Clavell's hero, like most of Clavell's heroes, is an alpha male and the absolute monarch of the family business which controls much of Hong Kong's commerce and po ...more
Debbie
Aug 17, 2011 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The summer of 1990, I worked on a project in Phoenix, AZ. For 6 or 8 weeks, I flew every Sunday afternoon from Dallas to Phoenix and flew home Friday night. I was the only project team member in Phoenix, and my personality is not the kind to go out exploring on my own. So a summer of plane flights and evenings alone were the perfect time to read this book. I had a wonderful hotel room with a balcony facing northwest and almost every evening I would return to the hotel and sit out on the balcony ...more
Andy
Oct 08, 2012 Andy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The follow up to Tai-pan. Clavell famously visited Hong Kong and ingratiated himself with the high society of the island. He based his story around many real events, which he garnered from those very same socialites. The building that tumbled down the mountain side during inclement weather was owned by my old landlord, Oscar Wong. He used to tell me of the day james Clavell came to interview him about that night. An epic battle between the Jardine's, Swire and the new Chinese Hong's who started ...more
Heber
Aug 09, 2011 Heber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating saga written with tremendous talent. Very interesting page turner and one of the best books I have ever read. Clavell includes a bank run, a bear raid, international intrigue, relationship/sexual tension, smuggling operations, natural disasters, multi-generational rivalry, blood oaths, espionogue and dramatic natural disasters in an extremely action packed period of little more than one week. A long book (as are all my favorites) but a very interesting read and one which I highly r ...more
CD
Aug 01, 2010 CD rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Popular fiction bordering on great. As with many of James Clavell's works they could easily be viewed as dated rather than a period work or 'historical fiction'.

This view of mine is based on how Clavell relates the contemporaneous social and political views of the time in his works. Whether he was writing for the ages is doubtful, but the plot and story is timeless. Greed and intrigue and power are always sound subjects on which to build a tale.

Dated or not I've got to read this and several of
...more
Jim
Sep 08, 2014 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not quite as good as Tai-pan, but a continuation of it & anyone who liked the first will like this. Is almost as well done. Set in the 1960's, it's similar in a lot of ways to Tai-Pan. One of the cool things is Clavell writes himself into this book as a reporter, Peter Marlow. It's not a huge part, but fun.
John
Feb 09, 2016 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish it could go on forever. The audiobook is perfection :-)
Hilmi Isa
Jan 05, 2015 Hilmi Isa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics-read
Noble House merupakan salah satu karya yang ditulis oleh James Clavell. Novel ini merupakan salah satu novel daripada siri The Asian Saga yang meliputi:

a) Shogun
b) Tai-Pan
c) Gai-Jin
d) King Rat
e) Noble House
f) Whirlwind

Setakat ini,saya hanya membaca Shogun dan Noble House. Tetapi,seperti Shogun,membaca Noble House merupakan suatu pengalaman pembacaan yang sangat mengasyikkan dan mengagumkan! Agak sukar untuk mengklasifikasikan genre novel ini. Mungkin boleh saya simpulkan bahawa terdapat pelbagai
...more
Ken Langwell
Feb 23, 2013 Ken Langwell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you haven't read James Clavell's Asian Saga you are depriving yourself of an amazing journey that begins in the 15th century in Japan's feudal Shogunate period, capturing your attention and your imagination with "Shogun," and refuses to let go as you move through the series with Tai Pan, Gai Jin, King Rat, Noble House and finally Whirlwind.

Clavell was an incredible story-teller who opens up a world and a culture largely unknown to those of us in the West, and it is a profound loss to the lit
...more
Cecilia
Mar 29, 2012 Cecilia rated it really liked it
If you read this, you will understand why "May you live in interesting times!" is a curse in the Hong kong Cantonese culture! It is not an amazingly well written novel. But the content documents a time/people I know intimately. For that reason, it is a good start to understanding how complicated it is and how many world powers and non have their mittens in the continued existence of Hong kong. Nobel house is a simple beginners way of seeing how every civilisation that rules/ruled the world... co ...more
Marat Beiner
Apr 26, 2016 Marat Beiner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actual rating is 3.5 stars, but Clavell you know...
This book had some great moments (like connection to "King Rat"), but yet it was short to deliver.
It had too much boring scenes and too much "business talk" for my test.
Before I read this book, I read "Gai-Jin" which considers far worst book than this one, but I loved it.
I was hopping that this one (considers as one of his best) will be at least as good as "Gai-Jin", unfortunately for me it wasn't.
I think that this book is better in a second rea
...more
Anelia
Не толкова добра, колкото "Шогун" или поне на мен така ми се стори. Хубавото е, че освен като продължение на "Тай-пан", в "Търговска къща" Клавел продължава историите на някои от героите си от предишните си книги, дори и на тези от "Шогун". Действието се развива бързо и няма как да ти доскучее, докато я четеш. Героите са многопластови, изградени с много мисъл и план.
Sacha Bureau-lafontaine
4.5 Clavell est fidèle à lui-même! Les intrigues s'enchaînent à un rythme effréné. On y découvre le Hong Kong des années 60; rencontre de l'Orient et de l'Occident dans le contexte économique et politique précaire de la Guerre Froide. À lire... captivant du début à la fin, à l'instar de 2 autres de ses chefs d'œuvre : Taï-pan et Shogun!
Ian
Nov 15, 2008 Ian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow... this was a good book... no, scratch that... this was a GREAT book. It built upon all of his previous novels, including Shogun. It has to be one of my favorites of his.
Brian Wade
I finalllyy finished this huge brick last evening. "Good grief" said C. Brown. What a monster of a book/story, even by Clavell standards. Many subplots; too many. I enjoyed NH - 3.5stars - but the story and subplots were convoluted. Granted the book takes place within the time span of 1week, but there was too much going on in the story line. I loved Shogun and really liked Tai-Pan. Gai-Jin, not quite as much. I'd rank NH on par or just below Gai-Jin in order of enjoyment. This is a must read for ...more
Kunal Lal
Jun 03, 2016 Kunal Lal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Its rare for a book of this size to maintain its pace, but this one manages it. A great business novel with a large cast of larger than life characters from governors to coolies in the cauldron that is Hong Kong. The plot twists and turns with many unexpected turns and stories within stories. The characters themselves are far removed from anyone I have ever met and operate in a moral framework that is utterly alien. Yet one can't help but sympathize with them as every one of them goes about achi ...more
Zac Liptak
May 30, 2015 Zac Liptak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Almost four years after devouring Tai-pan I finally came back to visit Struan's and Hong Kong. I'd been looking forward to it for a while, and overall I wasn't disappointed - the same elements that made Tai-pan such an entertaining read for me were present here in spades. Interesting characters, scheming and intrigue that combine business, politics, and contemporary world events, and rich descriptions of life in Hong Kong.

Unfortunately, some of the same flaws are also present: both novels suffe
...more
Delicious Strawberry
James Clavell is known for his thick books, this one is nearly 1400 pages long! Normally I like thick books - more story to read - but this one simply isn;t as good as Shogun. There were parts of this book that were really good and exciting, but other parts were very podding and I found myself frustrated with them.

Shogun was so interesting because Blackthorne/Anjin was immersed in Japanese culture and had to learn how to survive and fit within it, but the rest of the books did not follow this fo
...more
George
Oct 14, 2013 George rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lacpl-ebook, ipad
VAST AND VASTLY ENTERTAINING.

"...the poor fool still doesn't understand that we Chinese are not stupid foreign devils - or devils from the Eastern Sea - who'll line up patiently for hours. Oh no, we civilized persons understand life and it's every man for himself." - page 449

Set in Hong Kong, 1963, NOBLE HOUSE (Asia Saga #4) is another of James Clavell's epic soap operas, replete with all the drama, romance, lust, greed, and intrigue that make soap opera so compelling. With the extra added attra
...more
James
Dec 17, 2014 James rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book is to business thrillers what High Karate cologne is to smell. An overpoweringly profoundly silly paen to the art of high baroque unabashed story telling praticed by Clavell/Michner. Words are splattered across pages, and the pages churned out with merry abandon. Apparently modeled on Jardines it covers a week in Hong Kong business if everybody was a) very very drunk b)thirteen year old boys c)on a potent cocktail of drugs.

So essentially the book bears no relation to any kind of realit
...more
Wendybird
Was reluctant to quit on this book as so many gave it high marks. At chapter 18 I'd just had enough. This very lengthy story with a cast of what seems like a thousand characters is told through dialog, the thoughts and private perspectives of these myriad characters and had little literary appeal for me. After 300 pages, I still don't know or understand what motivates them aside from money. I've enjoyed other novels that similarly read like screenplays, but those are one quarter the length of No ...more
Julie
Feb 20, 2008 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite of James Clavell's "asian" novels. This book is HUGE...I mean a really long novel with teeny tiny print to maximize space on each page.

It has about 30+ different character story lines and everyone of them is interesting and it's amazing how Clavell ties each one together.

Very compelling story and I could not put it down--I read it twice I enjoyed it so much. But it is in a series and though you don't HAVE to read the others before reading this, I recommend it just so that you get the
...more
Cathy
Sep 04, 2011 Cathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book ... but I will admit a clear bias. It is about my home town. Rarely can an author nail a culture in which he did not live but Clavell gets it. This semi-sequel to Tai Pan is gripping, like all Clavell's novels and once you pick it up, you don't want to put it down. His characters are interesting and feel like people you have met or wish you will never meet, depending on the circumstances. I suspect that people who have never been to Hong Kong may not find it as interesting as I ...more
Joann
Apr 05, 2007 Joann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves richly textured "generational" fiction
Finally finished this well written slightly trashy book about Hong Kong in the 196s. It's hard to believe that barton will be there in three months!

The book is a great insight into both the wheeler-dealer free market that existed (and may still-- I just don't know) as well as relations between the quai lo (Europeans) and the Chinese -- with the Eurasian population caught in the middle.

Additionally the book touches on the women's liberation movement --- as well as the qualities of leadership. Eve
...more
Renee Hessling
Aug 15, 2013 Renee Hessling rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is obviously a monster. However, there was not a single point throughout the book where I felt exhausted or bored. I was not yearning for it to end. Instead, I enjoyed every new twist and turn and reveal of character and secret. It remained compelling throughout.
Why not 5 stars?? The ending irritated me. Not only did things seem unresolved and unsettled, but I thought the author relied on a huge catastrophe as a way to segway to the end.
Either way, I highly recommend this book. It riv
...more
Manu
Feb 11, 2015 Manu rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
One star may be too harsh when everyone is giving more than four. But I rate the book according to enjoyment, knowledge or insights it gives to me. Unfortunately, it gives none. A woman get off a plane. Two people come to receive her. Her getting of the plane and their rubbish talk takes more than four full pages. Either an author should have plot or it should have intellect. This book shows none from James Clavell. Very poor effort in comparison with SHOGUN. May be he just wrote it to capitaliz ...more
Leslie Smith
James Clavell's editor needed to give him a kick up the backside with this book. It wanted to be a business thriller and espionage novel with a cast of thousands simultaneously, with the result that there were too many plot lines and a weak resolution. Clavell's great strength is his ability to convey Asian culture and that is certainly present here, but the story is very dated in its Cold War emphasis and annoying misogyny. Noble House is my least favourite Clavell so far.
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James Clavell, born Charles Edmund Dumaresq 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.


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James Clavell. (2007, November 10). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
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Other Books in the Series

Asian Saga (6 books)
  • King Rat (Asian Saga, #1)
  • Tai-Pan (Asian Saga, #2)
  • Shōgun (Asian Saga, #3)
  • Whirlwind (Asian Saga, #5)
  • Gai-Jin (Asian Saga, #6)

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“He took a deep breath of air. Once again he caught a strangeness on the wind, neither pleasant nor unpleasant, neither odor nor perfume—just strange, and curiously exciting. “Superintendent, what’s that smell? Casey noticed it too, the moment Sven opened the door.” Armstrong hesitated. Then he smiled. “That’s Hong Kong’s very own, Mr. Bartlett. It’s money.” 3 likes
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