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)
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.
I had no idea what to expect when starting this book, but upon finishing it this afternoon I must say this has been an adventure like no other. It feels like a trip back in time to view lives presented in such a realistic and dramatic way, I was left feeling like an exhausted time traveler! There was shocking information that I take to be truth, because of the lessons of history taught to me in school, but so realistic I felt an immediate kinship with the poor people both in England and Van Diemans land. I will have to listen to this again to be sure, like looking at a painting, to appreciate things I did not see the first time.
This work is truly a gift to all of us.
I have purchased over 400 books. I have high standards for writing and content, but indulge in "travel trash" or fairly good entertainment.
I especially enjoyed the well researched history. I found it to be somewhat long, but don't think there is much that could be eliminated. Although much of the story had harsh aspects they were never exploited. I feel like I was treated to an entertaining history lesson. I would recommend this listen, and will find the sequels. The narration is good. There were many characters, and accents which were well differentiated. I also appreciated the pace of the narration. I find that to often be problematical. Not here.
Yes, I think I'd discover new details with a second reading that I may have missed the first time.
It's hard to compare this series to another. But if you enjoyed this, you will enjoy the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.
Humphrey Bower is an amazing narrator. This may be his best performance.
Leave a Little Salt on the Bread.
This was a very entertaining book and performance.
Courtenay wrote a fascinating tale with wonderful characters. The reader does a wonderful job with the different voices. I had some problems getting into the book as the lives of the characters are so cruel and dismal during the first third. Those times were definitely not the "good old days." After that, I enjoyed every minute of the book. In fact, I am listening to the second book in the trilogy now.
I was captured right from the start. This is a really great story with vivid characters. I would have enjoyed reading it but the narrator takes this book and makes listening the ultimate audible experience!
Dont miss this one. Even if it is not what you would normally listen to....I promise you will be entertained and swept away. The second in this series is just as good!
In the top five. Not romantized..When I initially began to listen I felt as if I was listening to a modern Dickens Tale. Interestingly, Dickens is later introduced into the story as a minor character. Initially I was concerned that the book was going to be a bit too graphic for my taste but these were brutal times!
Well researched looking forward to the next book in the trilogy.
He brought the book to life!!!I felt the narrator performance was exquisite. He gave the characters a true voice and personality.
Actually, too long to enjoy in one sitting.I listen to audio books a lot when I drive and a true test is when I sit in the garage and listen because the story is so engaging. I did this with this book!
all the characters
his different voices for the characters made them recognizable and ability to speak as in the time of the story, excellent job
Narration was perfect, nothing boring hearing the great vocabulary.
It has been a while since I have listened to such a great story that also educated me about the era and the process of the English getting deported to Australia and the struggles once there. It is such a well written book, so different from the authors pushing out a new one each year.
I cannot think of many scenes that were not my favorite -the lives of Ike, Bob Marley, the two Marys and even Ann Gower. There is so much woven into it.
The formation of the characters has been done superbly.
This is my favorite listen since Cutting for Stone.
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