©1999 Bruce Courtenay; (P)2000 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
"Narrator Humphrey Bower doesn't miss a nuance. His villains have a sharp, nasal nastiness, and his love scenes tickle the hairs at the nape of the neck. Bower's performance is spot-on." (Audiofile)
I enjoyed the first two books for the blending of history and fiction that provided action and great character development. Solomon's Song being the last book of a trilogy, I expected the same action with a conclusion to the tale that started with Ikie. Instead, I was baffled throughout. Why was the author spending so much time on certain specific topics on the last of a trilogy. The ratio of historical data to fiction was tilted way to far to historical detail and absent the good fictional narratives that made the other books so good. I know if you have gotten this far in the series that you have to buy this book so I guess I am just venting. Most seem to enjoy it so I might be the exception. The narration again is exceptional, a savior for this book.
I loved The Potato Factory and Tommo and Hawk. I also liked Solomon's Song but it didn't seem to hang together with the first two books. Courtenay should have written a separate book about the First World War and had the third book continued with the saga started in the first two books. A good share of the third book was Ben and the war,little about the Hawk/Benjamin, Joshua/Ben relationahip and the business.
I really enjoyed The Potato Factory, began losing interest while listening to Tommo and Hawk, and finally could not get the past first third of this book Even the superb reading by Humphrey Bower could not save it. The recycling of plot elements, the improbable behavior on the part of the characters as well as the unrealistic relationships between those characters, the cringe-worthy explicit sex descriptions complete with sound effects, and the predictability of most of the conflicts sent me back to listening to Patrick O'Brian yet again with a sigh of relief.
I absolutely love reading Bryce Courtenay books - until now. Solomon's Song starts with a promise to wrap up the fascinating, yet stormy relationship between the two Solomon clans, but it simply ends as a historical description of the horrors of war at Gallipoli and WWI in France, with virtually no follow up or resolution to all of the characters except for Ben, who really is a minor character in the family saga. It felt like Courtenay used Solomon's Song as a bully pulpit to preach his anti-war views, while forgetting to tell a story. You really don't need to go past Tommo & Hawk for the story of the Solomon clan.
and the Australian trilogy fit the bill. As for this volume, t Mr. Courtenay doesn't go over the edge historically and made sure to include the sodden trenches of France along with the horrors of Gallipoli. Now that I have Humphrey Bower's voice in me head much of the time, I must tell you that there is no better narrator; some who compare, but none better.
Four stars because I'm getting tired of being guilty of grade inflation and though I liked Solomon's Song very much, The Power of One and The Potato Factory are ~1 star better.
By the way, I am going to try to get the following: Bryce Courtenay helped with the publication of "An Anzac's Story" by Roy Kyle. Kyle was at Gallipoli (and France later) as an ordinary soldier and began this memoir at 89.
I waited months to get this audiobook as the 3rd volume in this triology of family, intermingled with unique historic events.
Awesome story - the characters come to life with this narrator. Bryce is not a predictable writer and there wasn't a moment in all 3 volumes (50 hours!) that wasn't engaging.
I can't believe the story has ended. I've downloaded all of his titles - can't wait for more.
Bravo Mr. Courtenay!
Business Physicist and Astronomer
This could have been far more interesting if T&H had had a real ending. Then this book could have had a bit more freedom. It's like two books that don't fit well together being forced to share a jacket. Old Days/New Days but poor transition.
We're forced to find out the ending of T&H---and that is VERY contrived. The characters act very, well, out of character. I don't want to give anything away but I will say that Hawk doesn't seem too distraught over the loss of Maggie Pie, Mary seems more devious than before but not to worry because we're only dragged around in circles for 10 hours of free form just to get some characters on the stage---and then, out of the whole 19 hours, we get around 2 hours of the real story which feels compressed to meet a deadline.
The ending is very weak. Dramatic, but silly weak.
I hate to say it because I am a huge fan---Power of One, Tandia---5 stars. Brother Fish---4 Stars.
Potato Factory? 4, T&H? 3.5 SS? 2 In other words, it's a downhill ride. Too much of the same stuff.
I loved Tommo and Hawk and eagerly bought this, the third in the series. I was terribly disappointed by the abrupt change in style. The cliff hanger ending from T and H wasn't addressed right away and this was a recurring theme throughout the first third of the book I managed to slog through: dramatic event, chapter break, advance 20 years. The pacing was frustrating.
I also think the Courtenay's strengths lie in the first person narrative. In this volume of his trilogy, as with the first, he is using third person. We don't get inside the head of his characters enough to truly care. T and H was told from the brothers' perspectives and was a much more engaging read.
Rarely do I abandon a book mid-listen, but I did in the case. The only reason I finished Part One (and the reason for two stars) was Humphrey Bower's superb narration.
I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
I appreciate the whole Australian series because of the knowledge I've gotten about that country's early years. For that, Courtenay gets credit. But for me, this series was one book too long. This could have been a couple of chapters at the end of "Tommo and Hawk" and the series would have wrapped up nicely with two books.
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