In terms of the fictional timeline and events James Clavell created for his Asian Saga novels, the Noble House is the number one trading company in Hong Kong. Started in the early 1800's by Dirk Straun to compete with Tyler Brock's Brock and Sons trading company, the Noble House made its early money transporting opium from India and other places, into China. Since the company's formation, the Noble House has been in dire straits on several occasions, and near dismemberment at least three or four times, yet the Straun legacy seems to live on in spite of danger.
Noble House is chronologically the fifth novel in the Asian Saga, taking place in 1963 in "contemporary Hong Kong." While I am not yet finished the novel, so far it has included characters and brief plot references to Tai-Pan and Gai-Jin, the second and third books in the Asian Saga, respectively. The book chronicles the trials and tribulations of Ian Straun Dunross, the 10th tai-pan of the Noble House. As usual with Clavell's novels, reading the novels that take place chronologically before this one is not necessary as it can certainly stand alone as its own work, but there is a nice feeling associated with understanding all the nuances and plot references.
In 1988, Noble House was converted (much like Shogun was) into a television mini-series directed by Gary Nelson. It runs for 355 minutes, and as far as amazon.com can tell, it's only currently available in VHS format for purchase. A brief run-down of the cast yields some presently and formerly big named actors:
- The Clavell novels noted above