©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 am an avid mystery/thriller, historical fiction and political fiction listener. I listen while working (I am a remodeling contractor).
Sadly the trilogy comes to an end. When I got the Potato Factory in one of Audible's great sale offers I never dreamed I would hooked on a historical fiction story (not my usual genre). But I couldn't wait for each of the sequels. I was disappointed a little with Tommo and Hawk, but Solomon's Song made me laugh and cry and cry agian. Had I been reading instead of listening it would have hard through the tears but worth every tissue. Humphrey Bower is perfect once again delivering a stellar preformance of all the different characters.
My advice - don't miss the Trilogy!
I loved, loved, loved the first two books of this trilogy. I couldn't get enough of them, and finished listening to all 40+ hours in less than 2 weeks. I was excited to get my new monthly credit to spend on this final book. I was certain that Tommo didn't really die and I wanted to find out what new adventures awaited the Brothers Solomon.
I enjoy the way Mr. Courtenay creates characters, both flawed and honorable, that you can fall in love with. What I don't like is, he makes you love these characters just so you can be let down when he kills them off in horrible ways. Why can't anyone in these books have a happily ever after? Why couldn't Tommo or Hawk have a wonderful partnership with a caring wife? Why couldn't Tommo's daughter find a guy who wasn't a sleaze ball, that could love her for who she was? Why couldn't Ben, Tommo's grandson, end up with Sarah and let her help him through his troubled life?
Bryce Courtenay writes with such detail, but the ending, in contrast, is so abrupt that you're left thinking that perhaps he ran out of time or energy to keep up the pace. Sure, I get it that hope springs from tragedy. But it all seemed so prematurely concluded. Why couldn't there have been just one more chapter that told us of how Victoria carried on the family business? Maybe marrying (or not, based on Courtenay's tendency to keep all main characters single) and having a child who was worthy of Mary's hopes and dreams.
Courtenay's books are full of tragedy and loss, but they never lose the thread of hope that one day things will be better. You always feel that things might turn out ok in the end. That is something I very much enjoyed about reading these books. They parallel real life, in that, not everything goes right, or as planned, but you can't lose hope for the future.
Overall, I am not disappointed that I read this series. I don't choose to read books about war (Tom Clancy and the like), so these books have given me knowledge about war that I didn't have before. They also paint a vivid portrait of humanity that I find to be amazing.
The narrator is by far the best I've heard so far (apologies to George Guidall). He brings these books to life.
Yes- If they have read the previous 2 books "The Potato Factory" & "Tommo & Hawk" this is essential to round out the story
It was good to see how the Solomon dynasty ended however i felt it was a bit clipped and rushed
Humphrey's narration was excellent he is by far one of my favorites. Throughout the trilogy his narration rarely waivered and the characters were easily identifiable.
The ending was terrible for me and made me feel like it had all been for nothing, this may have been the point, however i would have been just as happy if Bryce has taken some licence
The Potato Factory and Tommo & Hawk were great. I did feel coming to the last third of this book like the writer had got bored of his own story and rushed the ending to finish it. In my view i would still recommend the trilogy as a whole and Solomons song as rounding out the first two books
yes, It is filled with adventure, sadness, hope, love, and all the follies of human existence. You become involved with the characters and either love or hate them.
It moved at a natural pace and kept my attention
Ike, You have to have an opinion about him. The things he does take bravery, but he is cowardly and at times kind.
Just listen or read it, it won't take long to get involved with all of these people.
"Solomon's Song" is the third and final book of Courtnay's trilogy about the history of Australia as told through the lives of two semi-fictional families. As always, the story is compelling and I couldn't stop listening. Humphrey Bower's narration is spellbinding--as always.
However, the ending left me rather dissatisfied, which was a surprise. Courtnay is a skillful writer, but I guess endings are always difficult, especially when dealing with the huge cast of characters he created here. I won't say anything more about it because I don't want to spoil it for others, and I certainly would recommend the trilogy as an overall excellent and hefty read.
I think that the reader deserved a better ending than what was given. The trilogy of books were entertaining, interesting, motivational and informative. The books flowed beautifully but unfortunately I think the the reader is robbed by the ending of this book. It was out off character for Ben to behave in the way that he did and so too for Joshua for that matter. One can't paint characters to be strong and intelligent and then make them act like absolute morons. It just left a bitter taste in my mouth. I could have thought of at least 5 better endings which would not take away from the readers perception or intelligence. Anyways, having said my piece I will still highly recommend this book and the two previous as they are amazingly written. Bravo, Bryce Courtenay and thank you for putting pen to paper.
Solomon's Song, the third and final installment in the Australian Trilogy, tore my heart and had me in tears on a number of occasions.
The novel spans time from the late 19th century through to World War I.
Hawk is the unsung hero and the glue which holds the story and the entire family together. The biggest tragedy is that Hawk remains alone following the death of his beloved Maggie. Hawk becomes a surrogate father to Tommo's daughter, and helps raise her with Mary. Unfortunately, if Hawk has a fault, it's that he feels too much and is blinded by emotion.
Some of his decisions are questionable, and result in more difficulty. A case in point is his decision about how to deal with the other branch of Ikey Solomon's family as a way of atoning for having stolen the contents of Ikey and Hannah's safe without having passed any of it on to Hannah and David.
This book contains more description of the other half of the Solomon family. The entire branch of the family is tainted. Hannah was odious, and none of her offspring are any better. David Solomon is thoroughly nasty and unlikeable, and it's unfortunate that he didn't come to a nastier death about 40 years earlier. His son Abraham is less morally repugnant, but he is weak-willed and spineless and ultimately agrees with the decisions made by his irascible and nasty father. Abraham's son Joshua is merely a pawn of David's and he is also morally weak and repulsive. I wanted to slap him. In fact, I still do.
There is finally some interweaving of the two branches of the family and their fortunes. The Tommo / Hawk / Mary branch of the family is rounded out by Tommo's half-Maori daughter, Hinetitama, and her family.
Hinetitama unfortunately suffers from the same demons as Tommo, and all hope for her is lost when Mary stupidly arranges for Slabbert Tikkelman, Hinetitama's Dutch lover, abuser and enabler, to come to Hobart to marry HInetitama and work at the Potato Factory. Slabbert Tikkelman has no redeeming features, and it's unfortunate that he wasn't killed off earlier in the book. The ultimate downfall and degradation of Hinetitama is terribly sad and appalling. Bower's narration of Hinetitama in the hospice in her 50s when she is reunited with Hawk is superb. It's a complete tear-jerker. What a terrible waste of a life.
Hinetitama's children, Ben and Victoria, grow up under Hawk's care and are poised to take over the family business, but Ben is called away to war.
Many reviewers have criticized Solomon's Song as a piece of anti-war propaganda, but that's not a fair criticism. The horrors of trench war are brought to life with Courtenay's usual brilliant research and writing. But the focus is on more than just Gallipoli. The tedium and terror of training and travel are set out, as well as the futility of the landing at Gallipoli. Ben becomes a great leader on the front lines, and is wounded. He convalesces and recovers in London, becomes betrothed to his shipboard nurse, and then heads out to fight in the front lines of France. Meanwhile, the evil David has pulled strings so that Joshua is coccooned and protected from any hard duty. Joshua eventually feels shamed by the fact that he is sitting comfortably working in an administrative position, and gets himself sent out to fight on active duty in France.
Not surprisingly, the fates of Ben and Joshua are intertwined. As with Hawk, as soon as there is hope and light and laughter for Ben, it is snatched away by cruel fate. Joshua survives but is left with the curse of madness brought on by the war.Yes, the book ends suddenly, but not surprisingly.
There is just so much in this series to love. It's brilliant. It's also brilliantly narrated.
I will go back and listen from the very beginning, in order to catch all the references which I may have glossed over on first listen.
Solomon's Song is ultimately unsatisfying in that I wanted the series to continue, but all good things must come to an end.
Enjoy reading books, but no time so this is an amazing alternative.
I couldn't wait to start Book 3 and, although I'm not half way through it yet, I feel cheated. There is so much time spent repeating the story line from Books 1 and 2 that I feel bored. Let people read the first two books if the story won't be cohesive without that knowledge. Don't make me spend my time and money on a repeat. Disappointed....
This book captured me from the start. Only later did I realise it was the third book in the series. It didnt matter because it was a story in its own right.
Humphrey Bower is a great narrator. I never get sick of his voice, and he brings the story alive.
"The best audio book I have ever listened to"
A monumental look at Australian life in times of war and peace. The depiction of the cause and effect of Australia's participation in world wars and especially their role at Galipoli heart rendering and traumatic and makes one wonder as to their ill-founded patriotism for the mother country for which most Australian soldiers were unprepared for. A truly magnificent and enthralling book superbly narated by Humphrey Bower. I was devastated when I got to the end of the audio book and found that Bryce Courtenay hadn't written a sequel. Anybody wanting an insight into Australian life from 1800s onwards would be hard pressed to find a better book.
Another enjoyable book from Bryce Courtenay. It follows the Saga and family rivally from the previous two books. This one neatly follows on from Tommo and Hawk answering questions left from that story. The new generation has thier own dilemas and trauma as the story weaves through those into the first world war.
It did leave me feeling there is plenty of room for a further book.
"The Last Of The Trilogy..."
Yes because of the fabulous performance by the narrator Humphrey Bower. I read the first book and have listened to the second and third and thoroughly enjoyed them all.
After already having such a strong bond with the characters from the other 2 books it was good to have some conclusion in the final of the three.
Mary Abacus is by far my favourite character overall.
The ending was VERY emotional to say the least!
Was sad to have this fabulous trilogy of books come to an end. Bryce Courtenay is a wonderful author has a great flow and makes for an easy read. I didn't want to put any of them down. As with the other books in the series there is a great sense of history and the ability to tell it well.
"An absorbing story"
I was aware that this was book was the third part of a trilogy before I began listening and although I had no prior knowledge of the previous two volumes it mattered little as the story was unfolded in such a way as to explain the past events which led up the the culmination of this Australasian classic.
It did, however, take me quite some time to become attuned to the staccato style of reading by Humphrey Bower who throughout seemed almost incapable of delivering much more than a dozen words in sequence without inserting what was often a pointless and distracting pause. Maybe this was the way in which Courtenay wrote the story - but I somehow doubt it!
Nonetheless, I found the story both absorbing and emotive - particularly the latter chapters dealing with the tragedies of World War 1 and fate of the Anzac forces in Galipoli - and would recommend it to anybody who has an interest in this period of history.
It wasn't until I had finished listening to this I realised it was the last of a trilogy. However, it was gripping from the beginning as the outlines and potted histories are well laid out, which might slightly irritate those who have read the previous novels. The narration is superb, and the descriptions of the fighting in Gallipoli and the trenches in France, are stunning. The author has brilliantly crafted a platoon of men who are thrown together in war, it is truly moving. But thats the second half, the whole fascinating story of the Solomon family and its beginnings and growth in Tasmania are equally enthralling. You learn facts of true events along the way. I liked it so much I have now listened to the whole trilogy, but if you only read one, then this is my favourite.
Having read 'The Power of One' many moons ago, I was well aware that Bryce Courtenay could tell a tale, as it has been my number one recommendation to anyone who will listen for many a year. However, it has now been usurped by this amazing trilogy. Humphrey Bower's narration is superb, and if anyone is looking for a great story steeped in historical fact, these 3 books are a must! I am sorry to have come to the end of such a riveting listen. Bravo, Mr. Courtenay, Bravo!!!
Great story and highlights the futility of war and colossal waste of life. But we never learn from history and it continues today.
I was unsure whether to continue with the trilogy after Tommo and Hawk as I did not feel the second book lived up to the promise of the first. I am also unlikely to choose a book about war, however this is written in such a way that the characters remain more important than the action. I did however feel that the book had a rather sudden ending that felt rushed.
An amazing story, words cannot explain. I loved it. You must Just listen to this book. Bruce Courtenay I salute you.
yes, beautiful story, the end of a trilogy
Everything, it just flowed perfectly. We shall miss Bryce Courtney's books and Humphrey Bower's narration.
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