©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.
"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!!!
"Another cracking read and wonderfully narrated."
This book has made me want to find out more about Gallipoli. Brilliant Bryce Courtney
three of the best audio books I have heard. It was totally captivating....... Cannot recommend highly enough.
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.
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