Best Fiction Books to Read: Tai-Pan (James Clavell)

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Tai-Pan is a book in the Asian Saga series written by James Clavell. Other famous books in the series include Noble House and Shogun, although I have not read either of those books before.

Tai-Pan was written in 1966 (so long ago!), but I still found the book extremely interesting. The setting of the book is Hong Kong during the time of the Opium War with Britain, and although the novel is fictional, a lot of descriptions of the time period are based on reality (Clavell did an incredible amount of research on the time period to create the story).

The main characters are Dirk Struan and Tyler Brock, who are two of the most successful traders (fictional) in Asia during the time. I thought Tai-Pan was extremely interesting because it talked a lot about business, war, deception, etc., and there were so many storylines that took place throughout the book. It is hard to even begin to explain the whole story, so I would look up the full synopsis if you are interested.

One disclaimer about Tai-Pan is that it is extremely long; I bought it on Kindle so I am not sure how many pages the actual book is, but it took me forever to finish. I read pretty regularly, and the book still took me about 3 weeks; this is crazy because it is actually one of the shortest books in the Asian Saga series (I heard Noble House is much longer). Tai-Pan is definitely a book that you are going to have to put a lot of time into reading; also, it is not an easy read because the characters speak “pidgin” in some scenes, which is a sort of simplified version of English created so that British/Americans can speak with Chinese and other nationalities.

All in all, Tai-Pan is not a book for everyone, and you really have to enjoy the storyline to put in the time and effort to understand it. If you do though, I thought it was an incredibly complex novel that did a great job of blending fiction with non-fiction.

Tai-Pan Recommendation Rating: 4

1: Something worth checking out if you have time

2: Something that is a hit for some people, but not a must for everyone

3: Something worth prioritizing if interested

4: Something worth making time to check out

5: An absolute home run, worth going out of your way for


2 responses to “Best Fiction Books to Read: Tai-Pan (James Clavell)”

  1. […] Tai-Pan, James Clavell (One of the longest books that I have ever read, but it does a great job of mixing the history of Hong Kong while also creating such interesting characters and a fantastic storyline) […]


  2. […] House is the follow up novel to Tai-Pan, which I have previously recommended. While Tai-Pan was a long book, Noble House is a completely […]


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