Forgot your password?  

Tai-Pan Study Guide & Plot Summary

This Study Guide consists of approximately 123 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Tai-Pan.
This section contains 405 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Tai-Pan Study Guide

Tai-Pan Summary & Study Guide Description

Tai-Pan Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Tai-Pan by James Clavell.

Plot Summary

"The island was Hong Kong. Thirty square miles of mountainous stone on the north lip of the huge Pearl River in South China. A thousand yards off the mainland. Inhospitable. Unfertile. Uninhabited except for a tiny fishing village on the south side. Squarely in the path of the monstrous storms that yearly exploded from the Pacific. Bordered on the east and on the west by dangerous shoals and reefs. Useless to the mandarin - the name given to any official of the Chinese Emperor - in whose province it lay." (Chap. 1, p. 3)

The book, which involves many subplots, follows the adventures of Dirk and The Noble House. The Noble House faces financial ruin due to a run on its London bank. Dirk risks his life in an effort to save his empire from financial ruin. His son arrives and is being trained to be Tai-Pan when he falls in love with the daughter of his arch-rival, Tyler Brock, giving the story a Romeo and Juliet feel. Dirk and Tyler continue their rivalry to the end of the book. There is the story of Dirk's Chinese mistress and the family he has by her as he frantically tries to save her from dying of malaria. There is Dirk's illegitimate half-Chinese son, Gordon Chen, who becomes a wealthy Hong Kong businessman and is the leader of the Hong Kong Triads, a secret society dedicated to the overthrow of the Manchu dynasty. This is also the era of pirates on the high seas and Dirk has to deal with them. There are debts and favors to be repaid that add to the intrigue of the novel.

Most of the action of the novel centers around the two rivals, Dirk Struan and Tyler Brock, the owners of two rival trading houses. Brock's son Gorth hates Dirk and Culum and tries to ruin them harder than his father does, which provides most of the action for the second half of the novel.

This well written novel tells a story that is full of suspense and intrigue. The clash of two cultures is evident throughout the novel, and Clavell does an excellent job of illustrating this clash. The book is hard to put down once the reader begins. Like most of Clavell's novels, Tai-Pan is an historical novel, which means that it is based on historical events surrounding the Orient at the time. The novel is well worth the reader's time.

Read more from the Study Guide

This section contains 405 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Tai-Pan Study Guide
Copyrights
Tai-Pan from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
Follow Us on Facebook