An excellent portrait of the 19th era both depicting the criminal life of Dickensian London and then the new life at the Australian colony. Well intertwine real historical figures and believable fictitious characters. The narration is one of the best performance experience I had on audible
Maybe, although there are so many great books yet to be read/heard that I almost never give books a second listen. But it's certainly one of the books that I would return to if I did.
Unlike some of the other reviewers I've read, I enjoyed the book more and more as it moved onto the Australian continent. I also enjoyed the trial scenes, the pub scenes, the assorted low-lifes (most of the book's characters), the corrupt constables, the officious judges and unctuous lawyers, and, of course, the cameo appearance of Charles Dickens, Mr. Courtenay's literary forebear and creator of Fagin in Oliver Twist, the first fictional embodiment of the real-life Ikey Solomon, who also has a starring role in this novel.
He's truly the perfect narrator for this book. Great characterizations and reading throughout.
Sperm Whale Sally, although not if I had to pick up the check! She seemed like a woman of infinite good humor who could spin a good yarn or two herself.
I almost gave up on this book a few times near the beginning because of what seemed to me at the time to be gratuitous hardship and cruelty inflicted upon the female protagonist, Mary "Abacus." But I'm glad I stuck with the story. I'll be listening to the next book in the trilogy next.
I have never written a review before bur had to do so for this book. The story was interesting, the characters engaging, and I cannot say enough about Mr. Bower's performance. This is one of those times when I am glad I listened to rather than read the story. I was amazed by his mastery of a variety of accents and his ability to switch the tone of his voice to represent different characters. Sometimes that gets annoying or distracting and can be overly dramatic, especially when it is a male narrating a female. The only distracting thing about this book was how flawless the reader was. I am astounded.
The only reason I did not give 5 stars for the overall rating was because I felt sometimes the author went into too much detail, belaboured a point, or repeated himself. But this only happened a few times and I enjoyed listening to Mr. bower's voice so much I didn't even care!
Bryce Courtneys epic tale brought to life: a mastery of narration! Humphrey Bower's extensive knowledge of the different accents and his ability to give each character a distinctive voice make this book a pleasure to listen to, adding a further dimension to the print version
The history of Australia and the convicts who came here has never been more captivating. It leaves the reader wanting to know more about this pivotal point in English and Australian history.
Bower presents us with a living link to Courtney's web of intermingling characters who sometimes shock us and always endear themselves to us.His descriptions of people and places are raw, real.....
I could have listened to this all at once!
A thoroughly enjoyable book - will definately be dowloading the entire trilogy!
Bryce Courtenay is now on my short list of favorite story tellers, alongside Patrick O'Brian, Isabel Allende, and Larry McMurtry. Lots of people can write, but it takes a special talent to weave and tell a spellbinding story. The Potato Factory is a spellbinding story.
The story and telling of it is superb. This Australian trilogy may well become a classic. Mr. Courtenay is a word-smith of the highest caliber. Mr. Bower is an excellent voice to represent this finely crafted novel. I look forward to the next books in the trilogy! Well Done.
Best narrator ever!
Defeating the Odds.
Humphrey Bower, in this series, is the best I've ever heard. He came out with the best and sometimes funniest voices. At times I was rolling with laughter.
Mr. Courtenay has certainly spun a fascinating, character-driven tale, but Mr. Bower's narration was simply stunning. I've been a member of Audible for two years now, and this ranks up there with "Pillars of the Earth" as far as pure listening pleasure goes. I will definitely check out the next book in this trilogy.
This is the first Bryce Courtenay's book I've listened to or read, but it won't be the last by any means. The attention to details, without becoming overbearing, and the fast pace of the story lines, makes this an easy read.
Being stuck in traffic is now a real pleasure.
I moved from England to live in Australia 45 years ago and although I've seen a lot of the country and learned quite a bit of its history it's never been in such an enthralling way.
Bryce Courtenay has fleshed out his characters to such an extent that I really felt worried about the awful things that befall Mary - really physically actually worried!
I felt much of the anguish that Mary felt having her boys suddenly disappear. By this point in the story I felt I knew the family.
This is the first time I've heard Humphrey Bower, but I would rate him as one of the best - if not THE best of any of the narrators I've heard - his constancy of the characters' voices and inflections are a marvel to listen to, and even when listening to narrative I feel that he's just recounting a story rather than reading from a page.
The Nation-Building Convicts
This book goes for almost 24 hours.
When I started listening I thought I'd need something a bit lighter before starting on the next book in the trilogy, but now I've almost finished it I can't wait to get stuck into Tommo and Hawk.
All in all a great read well narrated and a tremendous insight into the people who laid the foundations for what is now the greatest, luckiest country in the world.