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(Asian Saga: Chronological Order #2)

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  40,659 ratings  ·  859 reviews
An Alternate Cover of this edition can be found here.

Set 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 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 dyn
Kindle Edition, 610 pages
Published November 14th 2008 by Dell (first published 1966)
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Michael Kidd Definitely. These two books have basically nothing to do with each other. I read all the books in random order and still understood each. If you can…moreDefinitely. These two books have basically nothing to do with each other. I read all the books in random order and still understood each. If you can however, read Shogun before Gai-Jin if possible as the latter refers to the former sometimes, though the stories aren't really related. I would certainly read Tai-Pan, Gai-Jin and Noble House in that order, but any others in the seri s in any sequence. (less)
Brian Cole There's some gory violence described from occasional battles by sea and by land. Sexual activity is talked about frequently throughout the book and…moreThere's some gory violence described from occasional battles by sea and by land. Sexual activity is talked about frequently throughout the book and you know when characters are about to or have had sex, but the act isn't described in any detail. Maybe the hardest bit of content is when an incest-rape is described, but even then, there aren't any real details. YMMV obviously, I read books with this level of content at 16 and didn't have a problem.(less)
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4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  40,659 ratings  ·  859 reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-to-film

”’Joss’ was a Chinese word that meant Luck and Fate and God and the devil combined.”

 photo HongKong_zps0d1c664a.jpg
Hong Kong was just a cluster of fishing villages when the English traders arrived in 1841. The port quickly proved a safe haven to ships even impervious to Typhoons.

Dirk 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 s
Mar 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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, ...more
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 alive.

Clavell 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 2.5 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 ma
May 27, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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 Clavel
Big, chewy, lip smacking, gut busting fiction. How appropriate that I should have finished it on Thanksgiving - a day given to gastronomical excess.Whew.

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 that.

Clavell was also an ardent supporter of Free Trade, a
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 it.


There were so many great characters especially Dirk and his Mei Mei, they were so well suited,yin 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 rer
I thought Shogun was his best book when I read it, but found I liked Tai-Pan even more. There's more action & suspense with a twisty plot & far reaching consequences. If you plan on reading any other books by Clavell, you HAVE to read Tai-Pan. Without its history, you'll miss out on a lot.

Dirk Straun, the hero, is probably my favorite character in all fiction. He is a tough, smart man that isn't afraid to unlearn his old ways & adapt. He has a wonderful enemy in Brock & intellig
Michael Havens
Jul 24, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical Fiction lovers
What can I say about ‘Tai-Pan’? Is it really a Historical novel? Is it a Alternative History? These are the two questions I keep asking myself while working my way through the late James Clavell’s Asian saga, which for your consideration are the following:
‘Shogun’ (1600)
‘Tai-Pan’ (1841)
‘Gai-Jin’ (1862)
‘King Rat’(1945)
‘Noble House’(1963)

Before joining Goodreads, I had already read ‘Shogun’, so you, my friendly reader, do not have the luxury of a review of that as comparison, bu
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, favorites
You know that feeling where you just wanna dedicate a slow jam to a book? You ever get that? If I ever had to have something playing while I clutched a totally fucked up and battered paperback to my chest, I would want this to be that song:

This shit is that good. It covers a very tempestuous 1841 as lived by a host of characters ranging from traders to pirates to admirals to slaves. We concern ourselves most primarily with Dirk Struan, Tai-Pan (Supreme Le
Marc Ocana
Nov 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Wow. I felt a shiver down my spine after the last page. This book indeed is as grand and as entertaining as it gets.

I do not think I will be able to muster enough words to explain the sensations I felt while reading this awesome novel. It was as if I was there in Hong Kong at the day and age when Imperial England was at its height and grandeur, conquering the seas. All the cunning and strategies involved in maintaining the largest trading company of the time, all the bitterness and rivalries ex
Jan 09, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
My first Clavell read was Shogun - that was good. Not great, but good - I remember being engaged, interested enough in the subject matter, the way the plot developed. Years passed and I tried Gai-jin - I only finished that because I constantly hoped that even turn of the page would somehow bring about the book's miraculous redemption. Far from redeeming itself, that book actually got worse as it progressed. Because I had heard that Tai-pan was better than Gai-jin, I gave it a try this week. Not ...more
Feb 09, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh yes, this is the Clavell I remember from Shogun. Even though it has been years, I remember that book vividly. Tai-Pan, although not a continuation of Shogun, is similar in style and character. There are some major storyline differences, but the extremely lucky, strategic and forward thinking main male character, and the bad-but not so bad antagonist. Then, a slew of wonderful side characters, the women being beautiful in different ways, but sly, clever and endearing, and the men, varying dram ...more
Nov 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this book, subsequent to Shogun, we see much of Clavell's brilliance in bringing the founding of Hong Kong to life. Tai-Pan is a character much like the Anjin-san, and the complexity and action is very good. I rate this 5-stars, but then I do rate Shogun as Ten-Stars.

Definitely a masterpiece.
Hasham Rasool
The Asian Saga: the story of Hong Kong's founding.
Currently watching a re-run of Shogun which has spurred me to finally pick up this novel which has been on my list for sometime now.

Oh Dear! DNF at page 115 & in truth been struggling to get to grips with this for a while, actually from the get-go. For why? Its jus an endless narrative with very little to no description of events or actions, let alone much (Zero) historical fiction context. It’s really only the C19th dialogue that places it as a historical fiction & I found myself drifti
May 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is phenomenal. Anyone who is interested in China, past and present, should read it. Anyone who likes a brilliant historical fiction, should read it. And anyone who loves “larger-than-life, but still realistic and wonderfully developed” characters, should read it.

Set in 1840s China (Canton), Macao and most importantly, the brand-new English colony of Hong Kong (which Dirk negotiated away from the Emperor through the oh-so-pliable governor), the story is set around Dirk Stuan, a larger t
Nikoleta Starkova
This book is an absolute masterpiece! Every sentence, every word was on its right place. The portraits of the characters were unique, intriguing, perfectly built and there wasn’t even a moment, when the plot was boring. I can’t even think of a flaw.

I loved the story of the hatred between the rivals Dirk and Brok and the way their children are included in it, the love between Dirk and Mei-Mei, the clash of different cultures and political views and of course the cruel fight for the title Tai-Pan.
Nov 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Tai-Pan - A "fantastical" good novel, brilliant characters, enthralling story, awful ending. It kept my attention and was an easy read. I'd highly recommend this book to anyone looking for adventure, and a bit of history.
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Velmi pěkně napsaný dobrodružný román z doby založení britské kolonie Hongkong. Doba i místo jsou velmi zajímavé, konečně, jsme v Číně v době opiových válek. Čili máme tu střet dvou naprosto odlišných kultur, které sebou navzájem opovrhují - na jedné straně britské obchodníky, žijící prakticky výlučně z pašování opia do Číny, na druhé straně císařskou Čínu, považující se za střed světa. Když k tomu přidáme i řadu zajímavých postav, dostaneme příběh minimálně za čtyři hvězdy.
Yigal Zur
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
used to read him passionately.
May 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An outstanding historical saga and my first exposure to James Clavell. On the strength of this, I'll be sure to read the rest of his work.

TAI-PAN is epic in scope, a novel whose background is the inception of Hong Kong by the British, circa 1841. Into these turbulent times comes a tail of rival opium smugglers, piracy, betrayal, love, hatred, incest, murder, friendship and natural disasters. Pretty much everything is here, giving this the flavour of a historical saga of old with a distinctly mas
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 more of these Asian Saga's.
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Tai-Pan follows Dirk Struan's quest to establish Hong Kong as the primary European port city in Asia. It picks up right after the Island is officially ceded to the British after China lost the war and the first thing Clavell does is establish Struan's character. The unusual thing here is that the protagonist already starts out as the undisputed "ruler" of Asia and the most powerful, intelligent, charismatic and wealthiest man in the book. He is the Tai-Pan - ruler - of the Noble House, the most ...more
I'll update a review later when I'm not sleep deprived but to summarize my thoughts.

I expected more
Jun 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have an affinity for historical fiction. And one such series of books that I am slowly working my way into is James Clavell's Asian Saga. Last year, I read Shogun. This time, I finished the second book, which was set more than 200 years after the first one, Tai-Pan.

The current book is about the founding of Hong Kong, after the Opium Wars. It centers on the main character Dirk Struan and his family and company, The Noble House. He is a merchant who owns an armada of trading ships, plying the ro
Matthew McCormick
Matthew McCormick
Mr. Schleifer
English 9H Period 3
2 October 2018

Introductions of Tai-Pan
The book Tai-Pan by James Clavell is about a man named Dirk Struan, an opium smuggler who sets out to turn Hong-Kong, a barren rock of a island, into a thriving hub of trade and British influence in China. However, this doesn’t come without conflict from the Chinese, who want to keep the British out of their affairs, and from other traders, who all want to be the best trader in Asia. Tai-Pan is a very enterta
Josh Handelman
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tim Mode
3.7 Stars: Historic, action-packed, strategic, and cross-culturally-insightful, Tai Pan is an intriguing, strongly character-driven adventure (escapist) novel depicting an assortment of 'free-trader' opium smugglers their families and fellow-travelers, and their competitive and cross-cultural conflicts as the Tai Pan (the pirate-trader-hegemon...) consciously manipulates a wide variety of well-developed supporting characters in pursuit of his burning-desire: to establish a British-controlled fre ...more
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
За ненадминатия талант на Джеймс Клавел е говорено много и вероятно дълго още ще се говори. Осъзнавам като сериозен пропуск, че посягам към тази книга чак сега, в напреднала (младежка) възраст. И ме е яд, че някога, когато прочетох за първи път „Цар Плъх“, не изгълтах веднага цялата азиатска сага на великия Клавел. Но грешките са поправими, а що е време – пред нас е. Иде реч за „Тай – пан“, една от перлите в короната на родения в Австралия и прекарал по-голямата част от живота си в Америка брита ...more
Wiktorija Bartoszewicz
Первая глава первого тома затянута и насыщена именами на столько, что дважды откладывала книгу "на потом". С третьего раза далась. Пока не дочитала до конца третьего тома, оторваться не могла.

Давно книга не вызывала во мне слёзы. На столько проникновенно описана жизнь героев, что их смерть переживаешь, как смерть своих родных. И пираты предвстают не как сказочные персонажи из детства, а как настоящие люди.

С нетерпением хочу прочесть продолжение "Благородный дом" и " Гайдзин".
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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.


James Clavell. (2007, November 10). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

Other books in the series

Asian Saga: Chronological Order (6 books)
  • Shōgun (Asian Saga, #1)
  • Gai-Jin (Asian Saga, #3)
  • King Rat (Asian Saga, #4)
  • Noble House (Asian Saga, #5)
  • Whirlwind (Asian Saga, #6)
“If you're a sailor, best not know how to swim. Swimming only prolongs the inevitable—if the sea wants you and your time has come.” 15 likes
“Gods are like people. They believe anything if you tell them right way.” 6 likes
More quotes…