Books: Summer Reading

Tantalizing tales to beguile vacation hours

NOBLE HOUSE by James Clavell Delacorte; 1,206 pages; $19.95

Weighing in at almost four pounds, James Clavell's Noble House is literally the summer's big book, an alternative challenge for those who keep vowing to read War and Peace. Tolstoy, after all, spent his words on some 15 years of European history; Clavell covers a mere ten days in bygone Hong Kong. Sample chapter heading: "11:58 p.m."

Few contemporary writers can match Clavell's sense of place, a talent that evoked feudal Japan in Shogun. Here he...

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