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)
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.
A tremendous story with unique and interesting characters, especially in Ikie Solomon. Humphrey Bower does an exceptional job of narration. I can't imagine who would not like this audiobook.
I rate this right up near the top.
I like how Bryce Courtenay links the different characters and ties loose ends together except at the end where it seems he left room for another story.
Humphrey Bower has a great voice variety and uses them in a way that fits the characters.
I think it is a little too long for me to take in one sitting and there are some violent scenes that can be disturbing and a break is good.
The character descriptions are so detailed that they seem like actual persons.
I would recommend this book with caution to friends. It is graphic without being particularly deep, and fairly dark. I had a hard time relating to most of the characters, with the exception of Mary... but Bryce Courtenay's sense of setting is compelling, and Humphry Bower is always a great narrator.
The most interesting aspect of the story was Mary's life on the Destiny 2. The least interesting probably the story of the whales and whaling ships...
Mary Abacus. She clawed her way up from nothing, learned to be shrewd, and found a family of sorts with Tommo and Hawk and Ikey.
There is not much I can add here. I am going to continue the series in the hopes that "Tommo and Hawk" will be more hopeful and less dark. The Potato Factory is a good read, with a few unnecessarily long passages and an abrupt ending... worth re-reading to pick up some of the foreshadowing I missed before.
Loved the history. Loved the narrator. A little bit violent in a sad, sad way. But the end? It was almost as if after 600 pages (give or take) the author was done, tired and ended it with "And so they lived happily ever after". Not that I don't love a happy ending but I found the very, very end a bit weird. In a good way.
This was a great book!!! Up there in my top 5 all time. Keeps you entertained and not wanting to put it down. The Narration was also superb.
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