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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 (4601 )
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4.6 (3509 )
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Rebecca K. Evans 10-20-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Long........."
    If you could sum up The Potato Factory in three words, what would they be?

    Selfish people survive.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    It was a long, long time getting to the Potato Factory. Ikie's character developed along the way, but it took too much description to get there.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott 09-13-14
    Scott 09-13-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Detailed and wonderfully, powerfully evocative."
    Where does The Potato Factory rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Humphrey Bower is a great reader. The story takes awhile but worth it. Really worth it. I "felt" what London was like. Then I felt the reality of what it meant to be a Criminal worthy of transportation. Can't wait for book 2.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The learned the humanity of people I initially thought of as horrible and worthless.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Mary's victory in getting the 'treasure'.


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

    Bloody Mary - she's got chutzpah!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lizzy WASHINGTON CROSSING, PA, United States 08-06-14
    Lizzy WASHINGTON CROSSING, PA, United States 08-06-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Excellent"

    I can pictures the characters in my head. If I had money and could find the talent, I would turn this into a HBO Series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dian Ormeau, Australia 07-16-14
    Dian Ormeau, Australia 07-16-14 Listener Since 2008
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    "Favourite Author"

    Fabulous book, very graphic. Hard to put down. Excellent Reader. After reading this book I couldn't wait to read the second in the Trilogy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    happy Boston, MA United States 07-02-14
    happy Boston, MA United States 07-02-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fantastic!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Potato Factory to be better than the print version?

    Not having read the printed page, I can't say definitively. But the narrator was phenomenal!!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Potato Factory?

    Mary Abacus receiving her boys.


    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    His ability to seamlessly go between characters and his use of intonation for each character was great!


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

    Mary Abacus!!!


    Any additional comments?

    Wonderful story and terrific telling of it. Could not wait for my monthly credit to come and had to pay for the second book :)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jodie United States 06-09-14
    Jodie United States 06-09-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Narrator!"

    So often the narrator can make or break a story. Humphrey Bower definitely makes this book come to life! One of the best narrators that I’ve heard. The story itself is well written and very interesting from a historical point of few. While I was entertained throughout, it felt like Bryce Courtenay took the easy way out at the end and just ended the story abruptly. That’s the main reason for the four stars instead of five. Overall an enjoyable listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Michigan, USA 05-22-14
    Jennifer Michigan, USA 05-22-14 Member Since 2016

    You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend. ~Paul Sweeney

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    Story
    "Why do I care how you take your tea?"

    Many reviewers have compared this book to Dickens. I wasn't looking for Dickens. I was looking for a very compelling story, which this had potential to be. Unfortunately, the book headed south for me after the first half.

    There are many authors who get very descriptive in the details. One of my favorites is Diana Gabaldon. She really puts you in the moment. I some how find myself imagining the sprawling meadow sprinkled with a very detailed account of some yellow flower. It adds to the experience of the book. And in this novel, buried under far too many descriptions about how each character takes their tea (and pretty much everything else), there is a really good story. I just didn't want to work that hard to find it.

    I was not bothered by topics of race, religion, sex or overall very disturbing, graphic violence, but it is worth noting for those with a stronger moral reading compass than I. These things for me invoked emotion that made me vested in the characters outcome, and eventually made it possible for me to get to the end of the book.

    The book did start out great. The story does pull you in rather quickly, but I can't help the feeling that the last 3 hours or so, was just fluff combined with a meandering need to complete the book. I wish the book had ended as strongly as it started.

    A couple of audio specific things to consider: 1. The narrator does speak a little quicker than I was accustomed to, but I was able to adjust to the faster cadence after a few minutes. 2. The prologue goes on for a while and comes close to spoiling some of the suspense of the story. I recommend skipping it and if you haven't gotten tired of tea descriptions by the end, go back and have a listen. 3. They split the sections in really inconvenient places. It's like someone took a calculator and said, "Yep, that's a third... ." 4. It's harder to skim with audio, and this is definitely a book I would have wanted to skim over some details. 5. On the plus side, there was a bit of singing. Who doesn't like singing? 6. Was it me? Or did Ikey sometimes sound like Jack Sparrow?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angela Gerring 05-05-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Flawless Narration of a Highly Intiguing Story"

    This was my first time listening to a Humphrey Bower narration, and I could not be more impressed! He read this amazing tale with so much emotion and brought each character to life. Every character had their own voice, quirks, and speaking tempo. Humphrey Bower is the gold standard for narrations!

    The story itself is simply excellent. Although it is quite long, it never feels to drag on - Courtenay develops each of the characters with so much depth, that you cannot help but cheer for the Despicable Isaac Solomon. Solomon and Mary Abacus make a wonderful team without falling into the typical plot lines of forcing a love story. While love is there, Courtenay stays true to the story and the desires and ambitions of his main characters. The transformation of Isaac Solomon throughout the book is fantastic - and even as he tries to move away from a life of crime and slowly becomes more human, he always remains the same, horrible person at his core. The only character I would have loved to see more of was the amazing Sperm Whale Sally.

    The criticisms that the story was vulgar or racist are simply unfounded. There is certainly language, and some pretty graphic sexual scenes, they are never over the top or out of context. Everything is well written and intricately planned to develop the characters and progress the story line.

    I cannot wait to start book two, as the development of Hawk's character towards the end of this book left me yearning for much more!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike 05-01-14
    Mike 05-01-14
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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

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