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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

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  •  
    Amazon Customer adam2612 05-02-13
    Amazon Customer adam2612 05-02-13 Listener Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
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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
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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

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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
  •  
    Lanlady Woodbridge, VA USA 04-01-13
    Lanlady Woodbridge, VA USA 04-01-13 Member Since 2006
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    "thoroughly enjoyable!"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carlos Ohio 04-01-13
    Carlos Ohio 04-01-13 Member Since 2010

    CLW

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    "Title missleading, but a very worthwhile listen"
    Where does The Potato Factory rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I rate this right up near the top.


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    What does Humphrey Bower bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Humphrey Bower has a great voice variety and uses them in a way that fits the characters.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    The character descriptions are so detailed that they seem like actual persons.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daryl Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 03-29-13
    Daryl Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 03-29-13
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    "Promising series start"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    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...


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

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carla Decatur, AL, United States 03-28-13
    Carla Decatur, AL, United States 03-28-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Enjoyed (Not however "Best Book of Year")"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chad Boise, ID, United States 03-26-13
    Chad Boise, ID, United States 03-26-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Outstanding book!!"
    Would you listen to The Potato Factory again? Why?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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