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)
I just finished book 2 and wrote a longer review - but for those that are considering this series but may hesitate given the length of each book - do yourself a favor, get this one and try it out.... if you hate it you can return it. I'm betting a good 98% of you will go on to be chomping at the bit for the next one and the next one and on and on. Having just finished 2 and sitting waiting for 3 to download to my Android - I'm having withdrawals already.
It was the most enjoyable fiction to listen to! I just couldn't stop listening to the story! I wanted to know what happened next to all of the characters in the story that I got the second audiobook in the series.
YES!! The writting and narrative combine to make the best audible book of all time.
Every scene is etched in my mind. But the boat ride was so visceral I thought I was aboard.
Humphrey Bower can do every accent and voice…….it becomes a play in your mind.
It is a little long for that concept but it is hard to 'put down'.
I am hooked on Bryce Courtney's writings and have NEVER been dissapointed. His historical research is exhaustive and Humphrey Bower is the perfect compliment.
I am a great fan of Bryce Courtenay but this story seemed very long and drawn out. It sometimes seemed contrived and just too unbelievable. I have already purchased parts 2 “Tommo and Hawk” and 3 “Song of Solomon”, and I hope that they will be much better than the first book.
I did learn about Australian history which was very interesting. The narration by Humphrey Bower was excellent. I enjoyed the character Ikey Soloman and Mary Abacus. It is definitely an unforgettable story, just not my favorite of Mr. Courtenay's.
I am waiting patiently for the best book on earth!!
I loved this book~ The history and story combined make for a delightful read!
Of course Mary and her poor hands!
This book is excellent. If you like an epic tale of struggle, misfortune and meager survival then this book is for you.
However, this book is also brutal, bloody and full of graphic descriptions of horrific child abuse. If you are sqeamish, don't try this.
Good reader, gets into the characters
An O.K. story, but I've read better about immigration to down under
Say something about yourself!
I almost gave up after an hour or so of listening but pushed on. Glad I did. Found the plot a bit weak book but enjoyable nonetheless.
Hawaii and Papillion - the excitement of a new beginning in Hawaii with the misery of prison as described in Papillion.
Mary - her perseverance was amazing; hard to think of another character similar.
I could suggest any number of clichés, but "Misery" needs to be included in any other title.
This was a great book. I found it very interesting that the author, Bryce Courtenay, has created much of the on-line related documentation tied to the English prison ships. He did a great job of researching the facts surrounding this topic.
Avid reader through college now with no time to read. Audiobooks saved my life!
I gave this book 5 stars but really based on this volume alone, it may be more like 4 stars but taken as the foundation of a fantastic (so far... 3/4 through the 3rd book now) series, it's bumped up a bit.
The story does start out slow. I'm not gonna lie that I had to ask my buddy who had read it already if it was going to pick up and he said yep, and he was right. The biggest problem is not really the pace but how little I liked or cared for a couple of the main characters. It wasn't until the end of this book and some way into the next that the reasons for what seemed like a very drawn out character development became clear.
Just know that the author is using his characters not only to advance a great plot but also to tell some facts/history about the times and place they lived so we're seemingly not meant to love them all.
Also, the one real criticism I have of the series as a whole and somewhat of this book is that at times the author chooses to "wrap up" certain parts of the plot without really letting the story play out. We hear about "the rest of the story" through a conversation between characters or a letter read aloud. Sometimes I found myself really wanting to have stuck with a certain character or part of the story because it was interesting only to be taken into the future (this is an EPIC story spanning generations so it does skip forward from time to time) and left hanging about what actually happened.
That said, I HIGHLY recommend this book and this series. This genre is not in my usual wheelhouse either so it was surprising to have loved it as much as I did/do.
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