I thought the "Power of One" was one of the greatest book I ever "read" ("heard"). Then I "read" the "Potato Factory" and fell in love with Ikey Solomon, despite his dreadful character. I also totally enjoyed the "Potato Factory". Then came the brilliant "Tommo and Hawk". Words cannot describe my enjoyment. The characters are enthralling, the story line unmatched by anything else I have ever read or heard.
Bruce Courtenay is in a galaxy of his own and Humphrey Bower brings it all to life. It is incredible how he can bring so many different characters, male and female, to life. You know when you "read" a book and you don't want it to come to the end.
Thank you Bruce! Thank you Humphrey! Thank you Audible.com for letting it all come to life.
An unashamed Audiophile who has his own studio and business called iZENEARS which brings Australian travel and history to life for locals and visitor's alike.
After listening to the Potato Factory, Tommo and Hawk were a natural next move and had it not been brought to life by the extra ordinary Humphrey Bower, it would have been a typical follow up book. It had the hallmarks of a Publisher 'pushing for the next great work' and while it is still rich, it lacks the subtlety of the Potato Factory. Now PF is about as subtle as a hammer in that it is so visually powerful but Tommo and Hawk boarders on the highly improbable which was not true of Potato.
I noted, before I listened, that some listeners were upset about the graphic description of sex which I thought was nonsense. However, there is some truth in their observation. The move into manhood I understand but the rest, well it was more or less unnecessary unless you needed a lesson in sex. Less is often more and these parts were labored.
Still on to the next Courtney, if the richness returns I will return with a passion but if there is that hint of Publisher Pressure, that sense of writing to a deadline, well he might have just lost me. I hope not.
I finished Bryce Courtenay's 1st book in this series quickly - I was blown away ... I have just spent the last two days listening to Tommo & Hawk, book 2 in the Australian Trilogy - I have been thoroughly captured by this series ... my only critique is that it was just a little slow in the middle ... I'm sitting here stunned how this book ended while I wait for the 3rd book, Solomon's Song, to download - thank goodness for high speed download ... Humphrey Bower knocked the narration out of the ballpark again - he brings the characters to life for the listener ... well, book 3 has finally downloaded so I need to run to get it on my iPod so I can see where Mr. Courtenay will take us on the final leg of this Australian adventure ... holy cow what a good series!
If you are like me you craved to know what happened next. Potato Factory was truly great, if you want to know what happens to the characters next, my advise is to imagine. The next chapter fails to surprise or excite.
The narrator really made this book - great job! The story was average, but had good characters and some very interesting parts. Overall a good read.
I found this book by mistake! I typed into Audible "New Zealand" and saw that the second book in this series had the highest ratings under my NZ search... so I took a chance and listened to all 3 books. I loved them all. I loved the history, the fictional characters, and most of all I was astounded by Humphrey Bower's AMAZING versatility in terms of accents and voices. This is a brilliant AUDIObook thanks to him. Don't get me wrong, I still would have enjoyed all three books if I had read them, but Bower's voices and accents are like nothing I have ever heard come out of one person in one audiobook.
I LOVED the 1st & 2nd books in their own right. I liked the 3rd book, and needed to read it just to know the end of the story, and I have no regrets. Courtenay doesn't mind dragging his characters through hell and back in order to tell this historical amazing story of England, Australia, and New Zealand. Being an American who has spent significant time in all three countries I found it exciting, educational, and, do to his strong character development, I was also emotionally invested. I was devastated when characters were hurt and jubilant when something good happened to them. And this emotion was heightened due to Humphrey Bower's amazing characterizations through accent and intonations.
Bravo, and thanks to both Courtenay and Bower for making these three books a great experience for me, and I can only say that I am sad that the saga is over.
I liked the continuing story of Tommo & Hawk. It literally picked up right where The Potato Factory left off. What I didn't care for was the very, very graphic descriptions of sexual acts. There is something just creepy about having the narrator voice both the male and female voices right down to the moans. Ick.
I was so happy to find it began exactly were Potato Factory left off. I just didn't want Potato to end. Bowers is such an excellent reader, I don't know how he does it. I enjoyed every minute of it. It could really stand alone.
Of the series of three books, The Potatoe Factory is a solid 4-star while the two sequels are average 3-star books. The first book reads much like a Dickens novel especially the first half plus set in London. It is a nice story with villains you love to hate but enjoy following. The second and third installments are more formulaic and too politically correct in some ways. They are worth listening to if you want to continue the story into the next generations. The narrator is fantastic in this series.
I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
Since this book is so character driven, it felt less like historical fiction and more like plain old fiction set in another time. It's a bit of a swashbuckler with some unbelievable events. "The Potato Factory" was definitely the best of the bunch for me. After that, it's an enjoyable listen, but not much more than that.