©1981 James Clavell; (P)2001 Books on Tape
"A spellbinding safari." (Los Angeles Times)
I've read this book four or five times in the past twenty years and it's always been a favorite. I was initially reluctant to buy the audible version, wondering if it'd somehow diminish the story's wonderful flavor, complexity and character. But in the end, it was fabulous. John Lee's narration of this magnificent novel was nothing short of brilliant.
Noble House has it all - financial and political intrigue, romance and an interesting storyline set in exciting times. Being of Asian decent I can relate to some of the attitudes of the characters although the divide between Caucasians and Chinese in Hong Kong today are not as distinct as in the '60's. I also found the financial and stock market manipulations rather interesting (and very possible from what I have been told) and while much more stringent regulations are in place there are still vast differences between the market in HK and the markets in western countries.
One criticism is the annoying exclamations/swearing by the Chinese characters. In my experience, this is overdone, no matter what the social standing of the person.
One more point - the story starts off slowly but the excitment builds up so by the last half I could barely stop.
First list to Taipan and Gai-Jin (in this order) and get ready to be astounded with this modern version on the Noble House. John Lee is absolutely amazing. I have listen to all three of these two and three times each and I don't get tired of them.
Starts off a little slow, but catches up before long and keeps twisting and turning and holds your interest! Will the mighty Tai-Pan be brought to his knees by the wealthy American? There's murder, kidnaping and suspence. A really good listen if you like to wonder what's next! I enjoyed this book enough to look for more by this author!
I recently read Taipan and couldn't wait to get to Noble House. This is an outstanding book. I would recommend it to anyone who likes Clavell, China, Hong Kong, and even business thrillers. The length initially seemed daunting but book flew by with this excellent reading by John Lee. So sad it is over.
Since Clavell's lengthy novel is well known, I will comment only on the reading of this audio book, by the noted audio book reader John Lee. It is an astounding performance, making it seem almost as if each character were represented by a different actor. The accents are Chinese, British, American, Irish, French, and presumably various others, each sounding authentic and varied further for each character. The expressivity is likewise excellent. Even in places where the text of the book may seem unnecessarily long, there's never a dull moment, because of the reading. You can just relax and enjoy life among a colorful, multinational bunch of characters in Hong Kong in the early 1960s.
The book takes up big buisness in the 60's Hong Kong. One of the largest companies in the city, is being threatened by its compeditors, and the Tai-Pan (CEO) of the company has to involve himself in the politics between England and China. Between politics, buisness and secret agents you get a great novel with everything you could wish fore.
I love to read and I love to listen to stories, something that has been with me since I was a child and I expect will last my whole life.
Wow, what a book, an enchanting, exciting well read behemoth of a story. With 56 hours, to enjoy this audiobook is one that will keep you happy for weeks. A multi level story of intrigue, big business and power games set in Hong Kong, this story is especially exciting for those who have had a love affair with asia or want an insight into the recent history of Hong Kong. Highly recommended!
In the tradition of shogun, this a superb book that I really enjoyed and could not wait to go through. It has all possible elements of a good book, intrigue, deceit, great charcters, really amazing description of asia and a compelling story. This is a really long book to listen to but I enjoyed every moment of it.
"A Great Book with a superb narrator"
A truly wonderful listen, well depicted characters, great descriptions of Hong Kong and plenty of excitement right up to the last sentence. I could happily listen for another 50 odd hours. John Lee is a great narrator and his voice, many accents and ability, individualised all the characters and brought them to life. I was about to start purchasing the entire series, as it's very many years since I read Shogun, but what a disappointment to discover that it's read by a different narrator. Having played the sample of Shogun I realise that this narrator would ruin the book for me. Is there any chance of a re-recording being done by John Lee so that the whole series is the same?
As a factory worker I listen to audio books to counter monotony. This has been by far the best so far. I only listen at work and could not wait to get there to find out what was to come next. Lee is a master. I felt like I was listening to numerous narrators. Each character is rich and full with such authentic sounding accents which I did not find in Shogun. the Japanese pronunciation was very off putting. Anyways, I loved it and am sorry it's over.
"Noble House has been my favourite book for years"
and now that I have listened to this audio book I love it even more. John Lee has a gift beyond compare for accents and the nuances of accent that are beyond belief. The very faint working class accent, well hidden, for the policemen, the Oxford Chinese accents, with that imperceptible twang - absolutely brilliant. I have read the book several times, and have often been slightly irritated by the repetative vocabulary. But on hearing the book narrated superbly like this makes me realise that this was the speech patterns of the time - words like "rotten" were the in daily use.
Noble House is a very long book, and every second of the narration was a real pleasure. I am going to keep it on my ipod and listen to it again and again.
"Excellent story & superbly narrated"
Although at 56 hours, this is a very long book, dont let that put you off. The many interlocking plot lines and the vast array of characters are expertly woven together, and you soon get totally absorbed in the story. This isn't an action thriller - no fights, car chases and few thrills and spills - but it's a real page turner nonetheless. And brilliantly narrated by John Lee who maintains a perfect judgement of pace and tone right through the long book, with excellent drawing of the many different characters.
There's quite a lot of reference to other earlier books in James Clavell's Eastern series, and whilst ideally it is better to have read them first, I dont think it's necessary in order to enjoy the story.
Overall strongly recommended - a real five star listen - and what fantastic value for money. I listen for about 2-3 hours a day, walking the dog, going to the gym and so on, and the book has lasted me a whole month - I was sorry when it ended.
"LISTEN TO THIS!!"
What a terrific narration from John Lee. He is the perfect choice for the 'Struan' stories. The characterisation is wonderful, you feel as if you are there sharing in all the excitement and venturing. I just wish he had read Shogun as well!! Can we have more stories read by him please!
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