In the first chapter, however, he's attacked by samurai assassins on the Tokaido road and lies either bedridden or hobbles about for the rest of the novel. Young Angelique Richaud, 18, the Parisienne daughter of a gambler who has lost what money the family had, sets her eye on Malcolm. Angelique is raped by a rogue samurai and now secretly carries his child, unbeknownst to the love-besotted Malcolm. Angelique's syphilis-stricken fellow Frenchman, Andre Poncin, wends his way through the plot toward a glorious love-death with his Japanese mistress while Japanese warlords fight each other, samurai endlessly behead samurai, earthquakes shiver, and Yokohama burns.
©1993 James Clavell; (P)2000 Books on Tape
"You get your money's worth if you want to spend it here." (Kirkus)
Here's the bottom line -
It's good, but not as good as the rest of Clavell's novels. If you are not up to speed on the rest of Clavell's works, read them first. If you are, do not expect this book to be as good as Shogun or Noble House. The characters are not as interesting and the story is not as epic or complex. However, it's not "horrible". It's still an extremely well-written novel and Clavell's skill as a writer is still obvious in this book.
John Lee's preformance is astoundingly good as usual. He is easily the best narrator on Audible in my opinion and likely the best I've heard in my life.
Fans of Clavell, this is a worthy read. Just don't expect the usual. Non-fans should stay away.
I must admit, this book started slowly. At least I had a hard time getting into it. Plus, after having read some of the reviews, I ALMOST made the mistake of skipping this book. However...DON'T MAKE THAT MISTAKE. Even though it was slow during the first half, the second half more than makes up for it. I'm not sure I can say it's quite as good as Tai-Pan, but I can't rate it less than a 5 either. It ends too well. I was sorry that the end came, even though it's a LONG book. There are several loose ends that I suppose will be picked up in Noble House (at least I hope so), and it will surely be my next purchase (as soon as I recover from this one...smile). Be prepared to pay close attention though, because this book requires it.
Just a note about the narrator, John Lee does a splendid job except for his Asian accent. However, he does so well on all of the others that I still rate his performance as a "5".
Enjoyable book but not up to the usual Clavell standard set by Shogun, Noble House and Taipan. But it does help to fill in the story gaps somewhat and the rivalry and enmity between the HK corporate houses. Worth reading or listening too for that reason at lease.
The character development in the book is a little flat and more akin to a cheap romance novel but not quite! It lacks the depth of machinations of the other books.
John Lee is a good narrator.
It was a real struggle to finish. I liked Tai Pan so much I was willing to put up 3 credits for the sequel. That's the only reason I finished it. It just drug on and on. I never got even the jest of what was happening with the Japanese, couldn't even keep the characters straight, and it was mainly about the Japanese. It didn't even have a decent ending, just stopped suddenly. Save your credits.
Another one of Clavell's delicious fiction stories about historical Japan and its coming into the "modern" world.
A delight and an essential part of the saga. A great look at what was going on in Asia during the American civil war. The worldview of a time when America was killing killing each other. Also a good look at the British Empire and it's on going interaction with France it's arch competitor for centuries.
I love history,I am into genealogy, my iPod is my constant companion. Favorite authors...D. Gabaldon, N. DeMille, K. Follett, E. Rutherfurd
I read a lot of the reviews on this book and was a little hesitant to spend 2 credits, but happily it is another winner in my opinion. John Lee is great again, with the length of the book Clavell can expand on each of the characters. I will say it is definately not for people who want a fast paced short book.
This book would have been a definite 2 star if it were not for Mr. Lee's narration.
The book went nowhere. It was dull. Nothing of import was resolved at the end of the book. It was not worth my time and won't be worth the time you spend on it. In contradistinction to Tai Pan, where I knew from the beginning I would wish that book would not end, I knew from the beginning I wished this book had ended before it began.
I had hoped it would give some follow up on on Tai Pan but it didn't.
I had intended to wait to write this review until after listening to Noble House, with the intent of expressing an opinion about whether or not listening to Gai Gin was worth the boredom just to get to Noble House, but I'm not willing to pay 3 credits on the chance that Noble House will be as good as Tai Pan, rather than as bad as Gai Gin. I'm just going to get Noble House from the library and read it. It's free and I can just bring it back unread if I don't like it.
Listen to Gai Gin at your own risk.
Waiting on the next Department Q installment. My Audible addiction is not waining...
No question this is not as good as Noble House, but its still good and fills in more than a few questions in the Noble House saga. What makes this a 4 star listen is the masterful performance of John Lee. His mastery of dialects, gender, and distinct characterization captures all the humor, drama and suspense Clavell intended.
Noble House is one of my favorite books ever. This should be read first in the Asian series, followed by Taipan and Gai-Jin. King Rat, Shogun and Whirlwind may contain some loose connections with Noble House, but arent neccessary for a Noble House fan.
This and Tai Pan were fabulous- in part because of the excellent job made of the narration by John Lee. Complex plots, plausible characters - real 'ripping yarns'. I'm very disappointed I won't be able to get Shogun, but the narrators voice really is a problem. I listened to the clip after checking out the reviews and seeing, unfortunately, that the reader is not Lee. The warnings were right - I don't mean to be rude to anyone, but for a rough and tumble yarn with a rich variety of characters it is hard to listen to a book in this series that isn't read by Lee who was exceptional. I really regret this as I was so looking forward to Shogun. I can only hope they commission him to read the series.
But for this and for Tai Pan - great romps, decent research that does bring the period to life, slightly one dimensional but compelling and fun. the voices ring in your head afterwards - the length contributes to that! Will be listening to these again, and adding Lee to Jennings, Rosenblat (who can swallow noisily which is briefly infuriating) and Rodska as all time faves.
In my memory James Clavell's earlier books Shogun and Noble House were far better writen than Gaj-Jin. Nevertheless this audio was again superb.
Clearly written in a previous century, it's still a great story.
A likable comparison of the situation of old Japanese and British conflicts of interests in a masterful story.
Hope that also Shogun and Noble House will follow in audio by John Lee: best leasure read to think of.
enjoyed every chapter full of adventure and exciting characters
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