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)
"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)
the audio quality was a bit tinny, but I got used to it. The narrator did a really good job switching between characters, especially male/female. The story has great characters and really gives you gritty feel for life at that time. I found myself looking forward to getting into the car to pick up the story again.
The story and telling of it is superb. This Australian trilogy may well become a classic. Mr. Courtenay is a word-smith of the highest caliber. Mr. Bower is an excellent voice to represent this finely crafted novel. I look forward to the next books in the trilogy! Well Done.
doubt it, their sense of humor (?) is lost on me
I don't know- I didn't like the voices used but I also didn't like the characters.
I'm baffled as to the super positive reviews- I thought the book boring, the narrative poor, the characters unappealing. For sure, it's my perspective. Please take this book back!
Best narrator ever!
Defeating the Odds.
Humphrey Bower, in this series, is the best I've ever heard. He came out with the best and sometimes funniest voices. At times I was rolling with laughter.
Mr. Courtenay has certainly spun a fascinating, character-driven tale, but Mr. Bower's narration was simply stunning. I've been a member of Audible for two years now, and this ranks up there with "Pillars of the Earth" as far as pure listening pleasure goes. I will definitely check out the next book in this trilogy.
This is the first Bryce Courtenay's book I've listened to or read, but it won't be the last by any means. The attention to details, without becoming overbearing, and the fast pace of the story lines, makes this an easy read.
Being stuck in traffic is now a real pleasure.
I moved from England to live in Australia 45 years ago and although I've seen a lot of the country and learned quite a bit of its history it's never been in such an enthralling way.
Bryce Courtenay has fleshed out his characters to such an extent that I really felt worried about the awful things that befall Mary - really physically actually worried!
I felt much of the anguish that Mary felt having her boys suddenly disappear. By this point in the story I felt I knew the family.
This is the first time I've heard Humphrey Bower, but I would rate him as one of the best - if not THE best of any of the narrators I've heard - his constancy of the characters' voices and inflections are a marvel to listen to, and even when listening to narrative I feel that he's just recounting a story rather than reading from a page.
The Nation-Building Convicts
This book goes for almost 24 hours.
When I started listening I thought I'd need something a bit lighter before starting on the next book in the trilogy, but now I've almost finished it I can't wait to get stuck into Tommo and Hawk.
All in all a great read well narrated and a tremendous insight into the people who laid the foundations for what is now the greatest, luckiest country in the world.
The incredible power and range of the narrator. But, off course, he had to have the characters by the author so the combination of the two is truly memorable.
When Ike brought home the twins.
Everything and every single character.
I wouldn't rename it although I would rename the twins, Hawk is ok, but Tomo is really lame.
Am on the second book now and loving it as much as the first although I do miss Ike!
Looking forward to the third book but will be sad when it's over.
Amazing performance and story
The historical background of a time often thought of as idyllic.
That is a true problem pick since they were all so well developed. I think it is a tie between Mary Abacus and Icky Solomon.
Well work listening to. This will open your eyes to the value of human life in the past and how we have improved, though we are not perfect by a longshot
I loved all of the historical type narrative that made you feel you were back in the early to mid 1800s. The narration was excellent and the story kept your interest al the way through. The character development was great.
There is no comparison.
His command of accent and dialect. He is an excellent narrator.
Leave a Little Salt
This book is near the top of my list.
The narrator took a good yarn and told it exceedingly well.
He voiced the characters in way that enhanced my enjoyment of the story line. Sometimes a narrator is distracting when s/he attempts to do too much. Bower's performance was spot on.
I like novels that ground themselves in some history. The evocation of England and Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania as I learned) in the early 1800s was fascinating. Ike Solomon was a tremendous character and his adventures and those of his associates made for a gripping story.
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