Tai-Pan: The Second Novel of the Asian Saga
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In fact, to take Clavell off the hook , there are only a few great authors who can pull these things off without a hitch, so I sympathize. 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 more amazing character than Dirk Struan. This is the story of his fight to establish himself and his dynasty as the undisputed masters of the Orient. We don’t see an equal representation with the Asian side of things as we do with ‘Shogun’ and the interplay with Toranaga (Historical name: Tokugawa) and other Japanese in dealing with the “foreign issue” What we get are snippets, then brought back to the British side of things, for example, we get Struan’s mistress, May-May and himself in conversations, or there are dealings with her bastard son through Struan, the secret Triad member, Gordon Chen, the only two “major” Chinese/Cantonese characters in the book.
There is the rather odd, but refreshing character of Aristotle Quance, a man almost completely depended on the traders, mostly Struan, for his support. 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.He’s a man of action, a trader, a sailor and a bloke with a long memory: a lot of the book is taken up with a long-awaited reckoning with his nemesis, Tyler Brock. Compared to Shogun, which had a fair number of characters of about equal importance and each with their own plotlines that tied together fairly well, in Tai-Pan there's - as you can see - a far more clear single central protagonist, and a great many more plotlines, great and small, involving him: even the ones he didn't know or care about all come down to him in the end. Un libro lleno de aventura por la vida de Dirk Struan, de principio a fin te engancha y te hace reaccionar de diversas formas. 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. Not so much because there was any tension, but rather because I was curious to see what would happen before the end because I knew the book could not end in this state of paradise for the protagonist.
Although the novel features many characters, it is Dirk Struan and Tyler Brock, former shipmates and the owners of two massive (fictional) trading companies who are the main focal points of the story. Clavell is most famous for Shōgun, the first of his Asian series, which was made into a mini series starring Richard Chamberlain.Struan and May-may’s relationship was certainly full of shit that made me a little uncomfortable as a 21st-century dude (which is really probably a good thing with historical fiction) but there was also a warmth and sweetness to it that was nice. Suspans, razboi, dragoste, pirati, actiune, familie, intorsaturi de situatie, are de toate fara doar si poate. 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. 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. Tai-Pan is a 1966 novel written by James Clavell about European and American traders who move into Hong Kong in 1842 following the end of the First Opium War.