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It was a simple incident in the life of James Clavell---a talk with his young daughter just home from school---that inspired this chilling tale of what could happen in twenty-five quietly devastating minutes. He writes, "The Children's Story came into being that day. It was then that I really realized how vulnerable my child's mind was ---any mind, for that matter---under controlled circumstances. Normally I write and rewrite and re-rewrite, but this story came quickly---almost by itself. Barely three words were changed. It pleases me greatly because I kept asking the questions... Questions like, What's the use of 'I pledge allegiance' without understanding? Like Why is it so easy to divert thoughts? Like What is freedom? and Why is so hard to explain? The Children's Story keeps asking me all sorts of questions I cannot answer.
It is 1862 and Japan is a land in chaos as the power of the Shugun wanes and the rival factions plan to restore the Emperor. In Yokohama, the gai-jin, the hated foreigners, seek to profit from the chaos. At the head of the Noble House, and heir to the title of Tai-Pan, stands Malcolm Struan who is determined to become his own man and marry the woman he loves. At the head of the Shogunate party is the Lord Yoshi, a direct descendant of Shogun Toranaga.
The time is World War II. The place is a brutal prison camp deep in Japanese-occupied territory. Here, within the seething mass of humanity, one man, an American corporal, seeks dominance over both captives and captors alike. His weapons are human courage, unblinking understanding of human weaknesses, and total willingness to exploit every opportunity to enlarge his power and corrupt or destroy anyone who stands in his path.From the Paperback edition.
The setting is Hong Kong, 1963. The action spans scarcely more than a week, but these are days of high adventure: from kidnapping and murder to financial double-dealing and natural catastrophes-fire, flood, landslide. Yet they are days filled as well with all the mystery and romance of Hong Kong-the heart of Asia-rich in every trade...money, flesh, opium, power.From the Paperback edition.
A bold English adventurer. An invincible Japanese warlord. A beautiful woman torn between two ways of life, two ways of love. All brought together in an extraordinary saga of a time and a place aflame with conflict, passion, ambition, lust, and the struggle for power...From the Paperback edition.
It is the early 19th century, when European traders and adventurers first began to penetrate the forbidding Chinese mainland. And it is in this exciting time and exotic place that a giant of an Englishman, Dirk Straun, sets out to turn the desolate island of Hong Kong into an impregnable fortress of British power, and to make himself supreme ruler...Tai-Pan!From the Trade Paperback edition.
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