ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Book review – Tai Pan by James Clavell

Updated on February 19, 2011

Tai Pan is the second book chronologically speaking from Clavell series. As in Shogun, the book plot is also based on a fight between two epic figures of that time located in Hong Kong, rulers of the most important commercial empires from that area, Dirk Struan and Tyler Brock.

Another resemblance between Shogun and Tai Pan is that both books are picturing around the plot the main characteristics and peculiarities of different cultures in that period. The action in Tai Pan begins around middle of nineteenth century, after the first Opium War. This is a time when business flourished and all the merchants tried to increase commerce with China. The most important business belonged to Tyler Brock and Dirk Struan. The link between those two is strong, based on pure hate. They hate each other with a passion derived from their former statute. Dirk Struan was a former employee of Brock who developed his own commercial empire after being mistreated by the latest. He is visionary, is the first to understand political importance of Hong Kong, a small undeveloped island, for the British Empire as a foothold in the region and acts in all possible ways to achieve that. He also acts without social constraints, involving romantically with a Chinese girl and bringing this bond in the open, a thing unthinkable for the time. He swore revenge against his former employer and acts in all possible ways in order to bankrupt his rival. Brock on the other hand is the prototype of merchant in that period. Strong, brutal, acting with no restrain on legal or illegal ways in order to gain more power for the company and himself. He also hates his former employee for his achievements, for the fact that he is no longer the most important key figure in the area.

The beauty of the book reside though not in the action itself but in the extraordinary portrait of the two civilizations that have interacted, the Chinese who at the surface were uncivilized and poorly prepared to interact economically speaking with merchants from Europe and America but on a closer view they prove to be extremely capable but hard to understand because of their cultural habits and the Western society represented by English and American merchants, very tough people, the founders of the purest form of capitalism, unstrained by a set of thick laws, only driven by their desire to accumulate riches and social status.

All in all this is one of the masterpieces of universal literature, a book that you will find hard to let go once you start reading it.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)