James du Maresq Clavell was born on October 10, 1924 at Sidney,Australia. He died of cancer, followed by a stroke in September 6, 1994 at Vevery Switzerland. In 1953, he moved to the United States. In 1966, his book Tai-Pan was published and another novel, Noble House, was published in 1981.
Noble House and Taipan are really based on the "Princely House" of Hong Kong - Jardine Matheson and Co., Ltd. The founder of that company (William Jardine) was the architect of the acquisition of Hong Kong after Opium War of 1838-40. He founded his firm by obtaining huge profits on opium. He was called "The Iron Headed Old Rat", and was renown for his cleverness. His collateral descendants (the Keswick Family) still run the firm - even after taking the trading house public in 1961 in a stunning move.
The time of Tai-Pan was the early 19th century, when European traders and adventurers first began to penetrate the fabulously rich, perilously forbidding Chinese mainland. An empire was waiting to be raped and pillaged by those strong and ruthless enough to expose the naked weaknesses of Chinese power. Death was the price for weakness, hesitation, or ignorance of the ways of the East. And it was in this exciting time and exotic place that a giant of an Englishman, Dirk Struan, set out to turn the desolate island of Hong Kong into an impregnable fortress of British power, and to make himself supreme ruler.
The time of Noble House began in 1960. It followed the novel Tai-Pan and continued the store of the Struan family.
The location of this "Princely House" in Hong Kong is also known as Connaught Center, was built in 1974, at 1 Connaught Road Central, Central District, Hong Kong Island.Jardine House