What a disappointing and non-resolved ending. The first two books were great. And this final book in the series was a dud... I should have stopped after 'Tommo & Hawk'.
Glad I listened to the whole series, but this was not my favorite Courtenay. Though I enjoyed parts, I didn't feel as invested in the new characters introduced and was left a little unsatisfied with the way some of the story lines were concluded.
I've read about six of Bryce's books. I would have been burnt out with most authors, but as soon as I've completed a book, I want it to go on --- tell me more -- don't let it end like this!
Still feel that this is not the end of the Solomon saga. There are still more fascinating characters to explore. Bryce always leaves a "hook".
Somehow, no matter the medium, the third entry in any trilogy ends up being the weakest entry in the series--Return of the Jedi and Godfather III being the most glaring examples. So, while not near as bad as the final Godfather film, Solomon's Song is decidedly worse than its forerunners. That being said, it is still a 3 1/2 - 4 star book.
The story picks up after the events of Tommo & Hawk but the next 20 years are skimmed through very quickly. There are more problems between the two branches of Ikey's family, dealing with the brewing business, but the crux of the story deals with the First World War and its repercussion for both the Solomon family and Australia as a whole. We follow Mary's great-grandson and Tommo's grandson, Ben Teekleman, as he lands on the beaches of Galipoli and fights the Turks in the name of Great Britain.
Galipoli was to become the seminal event that gave the people of Australia their identity. After the Battle of Galipoli, they were steadfastly Australian, set apart from the English, much like their cousins in America after the War of Independence. It is a fitting end to Courtenay's "love song to Australia," portraying the moment at which a people whose identity has always been tied to the Mother Country become a seperate and unique nation of individuals.
I have read some reviews that say this book was unnecessary and that Courtenay should have finished the story with Tommo & Hawk. I wholeheartedly disagree. It is true that, compared with The Potato Factory and Tommo & Hawk, this book is decidedly inferior. However, it is still an important and fitting end to this historically fictional account of Australia--from penal colony to independent nation. And besides, while it may not live up to its predecessors, the book is still very good. If you have read the first two entries, it is well worth your time and money to finish the story of Ikey Solomon, Mary Abacus, and their descendants.
Yes, but in sequence with the other two books...to spend time with Victoria and Ben as they pick up where the last generation left off.
The last page, but that would be a spoiler.
What's not to like? He's astonishingly gifted at voicing very different characters. I'll look for him again and again.
Hawk. Who wouldn't take a seven foot tall, face-tattoo'd pacifist to dinner?
Highly recommend the series: it's a masterwork of the historical family saga variety.
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.
Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.
The Potato Factory was so good, Tommo and Hawk not quite as good... but the cliffhanger drags you right into this Solomon's Song... the supposed end. But you will be left unsatisfied. It feels like author was up against deadlines. His writing style changes to telling instead of showing in large parts of the book... the first part of book doesn't jive with second part of book which seems to place characters into the war, simply to discuss the war historically. When the audio book ended... I came back to my library to see if I had missed downloading a third section, because there is a whole lot of loose ends never addressed in finishing the trilogy. Buy the Potato Factory... but stop there.
I won’t spoil this book for those who have not yet listened to it. I will just say that after the absolutely perfect 10 star epic Potato Factory, and the lesser but almost equally enjoyable, Tommo and Hawk, this finale comes up short. The author has dropped his previous deep character development for an anti-war statement that the listener can see coming from a mile away. So many great storylines just piddle out and the entire book shifts into nothingness, with a completely predictable and abrupt "message" ending. I absolutely love this trilogy and am so sad that it ended with such disappointment. Having said that, the overall story was well worth the credits and I'm 90% happy with it all. Then again, I was 200% happy after The Potato Factory :)
I was so happy to get this third in the Soloman Saga. Most books I can usually put down and pick up at some time in the future. But Bryce Courtenay's novels are totally engaging so that you feel yourself in the story. Every scene is cinematic.
But the worst thing about every book by this author is that they do end and sometimes not the way you would like.