If you like Shōgun, read these other great historical novels by James Clavell

If the FX show Shogun has sparked your interest, there are five other books from the same author, James Clavell, you might like.
“SHOGUN” -- Pictured (L-R): Cosmo Jarvis as John Blackthorne, Nestor Carbonell as Rodrigues. CR: Katie Yu/FX
“SHOGUN” -- Pictured (L-R): Cosmo Jarvis as John Blackthorne, Nestor Carbonell as Rodrigues. CR: Katie Yu/FX /
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James Clavell first published his novel Shōgun nearly 50 years ago, in 1975. It is a fictional story about characters trying to secure power in feudal Japan, set in the year 1600. FX has turned the book, which runs about 1,200 paperback pages, into a limited series. New epidoes of Shōgun drop weekly and appear on Hulu a day after they run on FX. The series is off to a great start, earning an incredible Rotten Tomatoes score of 99%.

Clavell eventually wrote a total of six books that all take place in Asia. While each offers an entertaining peek into historical settings, he often exaggerates cultural details for effect, and he does not strictly adhere to the historical facts of the time. Still, he can weave a good yarn.

Shōgun was actually made into a mini-series in 1980 starring Richard Chamberlain. While it stuck to the basic storyline of the book and wasn't horrible for its time, the current series is much closer in tone to the best-selling book.

If you like Shōgun, either the book or TV show, here are five other books by James Clavell in his Asian Saga that might interest you.

Five books by James Clavell you might like if you enjoy Shōgun

Tai-Pan (1966), set in 1841, approximately 700 pages

Tai-pan is the most swashbuckling of Clavell's tales. It takes place during the founding of Hong Kong and tells the story of how it became a British colony for 150 years.

This book also lays the foundation for books that take place later on the historical timeline. In Tai-Pan, we are introduced to fictional characters and events which are background for those later stories.

This story follows the adventures of Dirk Struan, a trader who is more corsair than merchant. He battles rivals, the Chinese government, local gangs, and British officials as the taipan, or the leader of a powerful trading company in Asia. Tai-Pan a rousing and entertaining adventure that makes for a fun reading experience, but as with many of his other books, Clavell seldom portrays Chinese culture as it is.

This book was made into a movie of the same title in 1986, but that effort did a poor job of translating the book into film. This tale, if updated so it was more culturally accurate, would also make a fine limited series TV, or even an extended show that departs from the book somewhat and expands the scope.

Either way, this is the most entertaining of the six books by Clavell, from cover to cover.