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The Potato Factory: The Australian Trilogy, Book 1 | [Bryce Courtenay]

The Potato Factory: The Australian Trilogy, Book 1

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.
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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

4.3 (3568 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Max 05-19-13
    Max 05-19-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    "good listen"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leanna FLEMING ISLAND, FL, United States 05-18-13
    Leanna FLEMING ISLAND, FL, United States 05-18-13
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    "Wonderful Historical Story, Incredible Writing"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Brooksville, ME, United States 05-13-13
    Kathleen Brooksville, ME, United States 05-13-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    192
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    0
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    "Must be missing something"
    Would you try another book from Bryce Courtenay and/or Humphrey Bower?

    doubt it, their sense of humor (?) is lost on me


    Would you ever listen to anything by Bryce Courtenay again?

    maybe


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    I don't know- I didn't like the voices used but I also didn't like the characters.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Blah!


    Any additional comments?

    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!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L.F. 05-11-13
    L.F. 05-11-13 Member Since 2011
    ratings
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    14
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    "Best narrator ever."
    If you could sum up The Potato Factory in three words, what would they be?

    Best narrator ever!


    Which character – as performed by Humphrey Bower – was your favorite?

    Mary


    If you could rename The Potato Factory, what would you call it?

    Defeating the Odds.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Felton, CA, United States 05-03-13
    Susan Felton, CA, United States 05-03-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    25
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    "Worth the narration alone"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer adam2612 05-02-13
    Amazon Customer adam2612 05-02-13 Listener Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    2
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    "Great Insights Into Austalia's Early Years"
    What did you love best about The Potato Factory?

    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!


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

    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.


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

    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.


    If you could rename The Potato Factory, what would you call it?

    The Nation-Building Convicts


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eva HERNDON, VA, United States 04-23-13
    Eva HERNDON, VA, United States 04-23-13
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    "Humphrey Bower = phenomenal in this terrific story"
    What made the experience of listening to The Potato Factory the most enjoyable?

    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.


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

    When Ike brought home the twins.


    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    Everything and every single character.


    If you could rename The Potato Factory, what would you call it?

    I wouldn't rename it although I would rename the twins, Hawk is ok, but Tomo is really lame.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christine CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO, United States 04-22-13
    Christine CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO, United States 04-22-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    18
    5
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    "Amazing"
    If you could sum up The Potato Factory in three words, what would they be?

    Amazing performance and story


    What did you like best about this story?

    The historical background of a time often thought of as idyllic.


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

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Salley, SC, United States 04-12-13
    Charles Salley, SC, United States 04-12-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "One of the best!!!"
    What did you love best about The Potato Factory?

    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.


    What other book might you compare The Potato Factory to and why?

    There is no comparison.


    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    His command of accent and dialect. He is an excellent narrator.


    If you could rename The Potato Factory, what would you call it?

    Leave a Little Salt


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Randall H. Russell Portland OR USA 04-11-13
    Randall H. Russell Portland OR USA 04-11-13 Member Since 2012

    Randy

    ratings
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    1
    1
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    "Great period piece"
    Where does The Potato Factory rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This book is near the top of my list.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The narrator took a good yarn and told it exceedingly well.


    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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