©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)
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.
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.
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
While some reviewers seem to think this last in the trilogy of the story of the Solomon family falls short of the first two, I disagree. I found it very interesting, covering two more generations of the Solomons. All stories, particularly those containing the history of a nation, cannot be swash buckling, jungle hopping, tales. Solomon's Song does have quite a bit, including the Australia's involvement in WWI in Gallopi and France. I loved that this book focused on the relationships between Hawk and his brother's daughter, and her two children. The honesty with which Hawk mentored and parented the two grandchildren of his brother, Tommo, is the meat of the story to me. When he told them that doing what was right and good had never landed him much happiness in this world, but that he recommended it anyway, well, that sealed the deal.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I started the novel but an ear infection slowed my iPod listening down, but it did not dampen my enjoyment ... what a marvelous trilogy - "Solomon's Song" concluded this series without leaving me wondering or wanting ... Humphrey Bower gave an exemplary reading throughout bring each character to a satisfying fullness making it so easy to keep up with all the personalities ... Bryce Courtenay wrote a brilliant trilogy that kept my attention book one thru book three - rest your soul, your talent will be missed ... I highly recommend this trilogy whether you like fiction, historical fiction, Australian fiction or just a rousing good story - it crosses so many genres ... I hope folks will enjoy this trilogy in the future as much as I did!
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