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The Potato Factory Audiobook

The Potato Factory: The Australian Trilogy, Book 1

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Publisher's Summary

Always leave a little salt on the bread...

Ikey Solomon's favorite saying is also his way of doing business, and in the business of thieving he's very successful indeed. Ikey's partner in crime is his mistress, the forthright Mary Abacus, until misfortune befalls them. They are parted and each must make the harsh journey from thriving nineteenth century London to the convict settlement of Van Diemen's Land.

In the backstreets and dives of Hobart Town, Mary learns the art of brewing and builds The Potato Factory, where she plans a new future. But her ambitions are threatened by Ikey's wife, Hannah, her old enemy. The two women raise their separate families, one legitimate and the other bastard. As each woman sets out to destroy the other, the families are brought to the edge of disaster.

©1995 Bryce Courtenay; (P)2000 Bolinda Publishing Pyt Ltd by arrangement with Penguin Group (Australia)

What the Critics Say

"In the tradition of Charles Dickens, Courtenay creates a unique cast of characters from the outset of this epic novel....Humphrey Bower's performance is a marvel...making this one of those rare books with a sweep of characters the readers come to care about deeply." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (4438 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Mike 05-01-14
    Mike 05-01-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The journey"

    This book tells of the life of two main characters, their struggles, character growth, strength and endurance through great hardship. Survival in a tough brutal life and the opportunity to start fresh in a new land. It is very well written and the narration is superb. A very entertaining journey. I have purchased the next book and will continue the story in book 2

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sherry United States 04-16-14
    Sherry United States 04-16-14 Member Since 2013

    An over the road truck driver who listens to books constantly to pass the time.

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    "Great Charaters"
    If you could sum up The Potato Factory in three words, what would they be?

    An interesting story.


    Have you listened to any of Humphrey Bower’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Humphry Bower is an amazing character reader. He does the story justice and can sing pretty well, too.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig US, Canada 04-14-14
    Craig US, Canada 04-14-14 Member Since 2016

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Exceptional writing and memorable characters"
    If you could sum up The Potato Factory in three words, what would they be?

    Full of surprises.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Isaac Simon, and his panoply of narcissistic, antisocial and paranoid character traits. Although they were modified at a glacial pace, he evolved over the course of decades, into an individual who was able to love, mourn, and lose more than a scintilla of his self-defeating character pathology. His intelligence permitted him to gain partial insight into the role that he played in the creation and influence of the vicissitudes of his life and of some of those he encountered during the course of his lifetime.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Isaac Simon's search for "Sperm Whale Sally".


    Who was the most memorable character of The Potato Factory and why?

    Mary "Abacus", whose kindness and evolving willingness to forgive and to persevere in spite of severe, recurrent acts of cruelty, to which she was repeatedly exposed. She was willing to do almost anything in order to survive and assist those she loved.


    Any additional comments?

    I am planning to acquire the second book in this series, and then the third and final book in the series,

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gregory 04-13-14
    Gregory 04-13-14 Member Since 2013

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Epic Tale"

    Well written historic fiction with wonderfully highly developed characters and a world-class narrator. Courtenay does not shy away from the baser side of the criminal world, but depicts it accurately. I chanced upon this novel while looking for a good read and reading the reviews of others. This book is not for everyone and some do not like it. It is not bright and shiny feel good novel. It is a dark tale depicting human misery and a side of humanity that was prevalent in the early 1900s. The naive and poorly traveled would like to think that such aspects of the human character no longer exist in the world, or that they did not exist within the history of the United States. In the face of evil, the indomitable spirit of a few who struggle to retain their dignity and survive, provides for an outstanding tale.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom 04-10-14
    Tom 04-10-14
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    "a wonderful surprise"

    I expected a story of Australia. And yet, the first third (almost) of the book is spent in London. The intrigues abounded and when I realized that much of what I read had actually happened. The story grew, the characters expanded into the most interesting people. As with many of the best audio books, the narration is so very good, reminiscent of Simon Vance's performance of David Copperfield.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cathleen Corrales, NM, United States 03-26-14
    Cathleen Corrales, NM, United States 03-26-14 Member Since 2014

    educatorandmother

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    "Unforgettable! Engaging Story, Great Performance"
    What did you love best about The Potato Factory?

    I loved the characters, and how multifaceted they were. I also loved learning about New Zealand and Australia during this time.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The indomitable Mary's strength, integrity, courage and compassion in the face of incredibly difficult circumstances.


    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    He did all of the characters voices beautifully.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Mary saw the parrots as she first arrived and made them her talisman.


    Any additional comments?

    This entire series is absolutely gripping. Especially books 1 and 2. Book 3 is still good, but it diverges from the central characters and is weighed down by the first world war, losing momentum towards the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aawendel 03-06-14
    Aawendel 03-06-14

    AnnE

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    "Characters Come to Life"
    Where does The Potato Factory rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I've listened to a number of audio books. This is one of the better ones because of both the story and writing style and the excellent narrator.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The characters were very real; very well brought to life and given individual personalities.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Can't say.


    If you could take any character from The Potato Factory out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Mary, for her strength and ongoing positive attitude.


    Any additional comments?

    This is first in a series. I have moved on to the second book, and it is even more rivetting!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JB 03-03-14
    JB 03-03-14 Member Since 2016
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    "Wonderful"

    One of my top 5 historical novels to be sure! Yes it is violent, and graphic. It is also a profound story, well told.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pat 02-27-14
    Pat 02-27-14

    patkerash

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    "Good story..brilliant narrator"
    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    He changed between characters flawlessly. Each one had a definately different and appropriate voice. Wonderful


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bracken mocksville, nc, United States 02-23-14
    bracken mocksville, nc, United States 02-23-14 Member Since 2016
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    "Great book."

    A bit verbose, but the action/story makes up for it. And what a cliffhanger! I will be getting the entire series. I love it when I have to Google things that I'm not familiar with (like what a rookery is). It's very well researched and written. Great narration and character voices.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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