I love all of James Clavell's novels. Having read them all years ago, I was glad to see them on Audiobooks. He is one of my favorite authors and knows how to weave a story with strong characters and intriguing plots.
John Lee, the narrator of Tai-Pan, is also a master storyteller using his voice. His reading enhanced the story and added depth to the characters, excitement to the adventures, intrigue to the plotting, and humor to the interactions.
I highly recommend this audiobook because it teams a fantastic story with multi-faceted voice that draws you into the story with what seems like a cast of a thousand. John Lee takes on the character he is reading and becomes the conduit for James Clavell's work. You as the listener become a part of the world of the Tai-Pan.
A few must reads: Mr. Mercedes, Narrows Gate, Cop Town, Bomb Proof, Wayfaring Stranger, The Son (Nesbo), Dept Q series...
Perhaps the better question is will I listen to the sequel, noble house again. I listened to and loved Noble House, but now I'm going back through it after reading Taipan. Both novels expose Clavell's masterful story telling and excellent research of Hong Kong culture. This combined with John Lee's performance makes for one of the best experiences Audible has offered.
No question it would be the sequel, Noble House. These books remind of Ken Follet's historical fiction as well. Great characters, the colorful and unforgettable culture of the Chinese...
Absolutely one of the best novels of the Clavell Asian saga. John Lee is, as always, FANTASTIC. No way anyone who like audio books will not listen to this multiple time. I have listened to it 3 times this year.
It was several intricate plots that held my attention. Really good attention to character development. I did have some trouble transitioning between scenes but could kind of fill in the blanks. Not sure if this was due to listening to the book rather then reading... hard to tell.
John Lee's performance was outstanding. His easy flow between characters was mesmerizing!
Tai Pan is fantastic but lengthy, but then again so are most of Clavell's books. It's not the greatest audiobook I've listened to but it's far from the worst.
Any of the other books in his Asian Saga. I have only read two, Tai-Pan and Shogun. They are based on real people and real events, but you learn so much about the cultures and histories. I moved to Hong Kong for a year so I was looking for some good books to read and remembered he had written one. I read Shogun a few years ago and loved it--but only managed one successful re-read. They are L O N G.
The voices! John Lee is great with the accents and reading in character. Sometimes I have a hard time really imagining what people are supposed to sound like, so John Lee brings them to life for me.
My only extreme reaction was OMG this book is so long... towards the end I get a bit fatigued and take more breaks. But I was sucked in so it wasn't a boring story, just felt like I had been reading for-ev-er.
I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath
Historical Fiction is fast becoming my favorite category. If the writer is great like James Clavell, James Michener, Conn Iggulden or Jean Auel, then you learn about history while being entertained. I did not know much about Hong Kong, was interested, but not enough to read a dry history about it. Now I know all about it and even feel like I was there.
The first chapter is two and half hours long. It introduces us to all the characters. I have never liked being introduced to several characters at one time and I had trouble, knowing when we changed from one character to another. I was worried at first that I had wasted my two credits (approx. $30). Having read Clavell before and liking him, I struggled on. I am so glad that I did. The story got extremely better. I fell in love with the Tai-Pan's concubine. The exchanges between the Tai-Pan and his concubine or priceless. lol funny and loving. I got so involved in there world that when I would leave it, I would have to concentrate so that I did not speak in pigeon english, by God, or rant and rave and follow that with Never Mind. The English at this time would swear by following there sentences with By God and the Chinese would often rant and rave and follow that up by saying Never Mind, to mean it is not important I am just venting.
In the middle of the book Gone With The Wind broke out. This did not bother me as I liked Gone With The Wind and I liked this version even better. There is a fantastical boxing match and lots and lots more. The great thing about Audible.com as mentioned earlier, this cost two credits (approx $30). If you bought this in CD form at your local book store, I am sure it was cost over $100. This was a very fast 26 hours.
The first time I heard John Lee, the narrator he was reading a China Mieville Novel full of very weird and strange characters. Then I heard him doing Orcs in Stan Nichols Orc trilogy. When I first heard him in this novel, I had a real problem getting his unique voice of monsters and orcs out of my head. By the end of the Novel, I could not picture anyone else doing this book. The book grows on you and the narrator grows on you.
This is the second book in a Saga, but the books are not that connected. No characters are shared and there are several years in between. I liked Sho-gun a little better then this, but both are great. King Rat was good, but it is more of a war book.
I couldn't resist buying this title after all the stellar reviews on this site. However, this book is just a cheesy 1970's bodice ripper. And boring, to boot. Every character fits into a stereotyped mold: hero, villain, fallen angel, sly native, etc. Save your points.
I listen to maybe 20 books per year. This is absolutely outstanding. I immediately went and downloaded Noble House and I intend to work my way through all the Clavell books. Why don't they write books like this anymore?
I read this book along with others by Clavell a long time ago. Listening to John Lee narrate this epic story was fascinating. I loved every minute of it -- even the ending. Although, I felt sad to leave all of the characters -- you know that empty feeling when a great story ends. This book embodies all of the reasons we spend time with great fiction. For those moments I was listening, I was transported to another time and place.