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Description - Noble House by James Clavell

Over one hundred years have passed since Dirk Struan founded Hong Kong's oldest trading company. But now, the Noble House is in danger. As Hong Kong itself becomes the deadly playground of the CIA, the KGB and the People's Republic of China, rival tai-pans, seeking revenge for blood feuds over a century old, gather for the kill.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780340750704
ISBN-10: 0340750707
Format: Paperback
(197mm x 130mm x 57mm)
Pages: 1296
Imprint: Hodder Paperback
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
Publish Date: 1-Jul-1999
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - Noble House by James Clavell

US Kirkus Review » There's nothing wrong with Clavell's new "Asian Saga" novel that cutting 900 pages wouldn't fix. No, that's not a misprint: at 1206 pp., this account of one interminable week in 1963 Hong Kong stretches out a conventional but adequate plot - financial deals plus criss-crossing spies - with awesomely tedious, constantly rehashing conversations; and, unlike Tai-Pan and Shogun, there's little Far Eastern exotica here to hold your interest while the padding mounts up. Primary focus is on Ian Duncross, new tai-pan of Hong Kong's oldest trading house - who's hoping to save Noble House from bankruptcy via a joint-venture deal with US entrepreneur Linc Bartlett, just arrived in HK with his right-hand woman, Casey. But Ian's plans are fraught with peril: Bartlett is an unscrupulous type who'll ditch the deal if he can find a better one; Ian's arch-enemy, Quillan Gornt of the Rothwell-Gornt house, is out to snatch up Noble House, with help from some shady bank-collapse and selling-short maneuvers; and Noble House employee John then (soon kidnapped and dead) has been peddling company secrets, even stealing the legendary half-coin (whoever possesses it can demand any favor of the tai-pan). So, while Ian goes from bank to bank and nation to nation looking for bail-out money (in case the Bartlett deal collapses), Clavell piles on the other half of the plot: the presence of secret communist agents in Hong Kong - at Noble House, in the police, even in British Intelligence. And there are also subplots galore: Chinese gold, gun, and drug smugglers; romances (Bartlett and a Eurasian, Casey and everybody); racetrack doings. Eventually, Ian will become entangled in the spy fracas - because he possesses documentary clues to the identity of the "moles" - and eventually Clavell also throws in some Mafia and Red-China touches. But just about everything is rendered moot by a landslide in the last 100 pages - some blessed action after acres of money-talk and who's-the-mole? jabber - and it all finally ends with the surfacing of that half-coin. Flat, colorless characters; slipshod, pulp-mag prose ("Are you the magic I've been seeking forever or just another broad?"); little suspense, violence, or sex. In other words, Dullsville - but the Clavell name will ensure big interest. . . at least until word-of-mouth takes over. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - James Clavell

James Clavell, the son of a Royal Navy family, was educated in Portsmouth before, as a young artillery officer, he was captured by the Japanese at the Fall of Singapore. It was on this experience that his bestselling novel KING RAT was based. He maintained this oriental interest in his other great works: TAI-PAN, SHOGUN, NOBLE HOUSE and GAI JIN. Clavell lived for many years in Vancouver and Los Angeles, before settling in Switzerland, where he died in 1994.

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