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)
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.
Yes, well written, informative with colourful characters and brilliantly read.
Mary Abacus, I felt sorry for her but admired her determination
Hoe he changed with every character,
When Mary tried to find employment as a clark.
I am now reading Tommo and Hawk
Avid reader and audio book listener
Well worth the listen, provides a live history by way of interesting characters. I will certainly look for more of Bryce Courtney's work.
I have read the author has said "Growing up in a strict, punishing church-run orphanage in South Africa during the apartheid era... ‘I know all about the God of wrath but have never met the God of love"
Unfortunately this has lead to a narrow and flawed view of Christianity reflected in this story.
Among the vast number who loved the book, another reviewer commented on bigoted treatment of religion.
That is my biggest problem with this book though I disliked, what I felt, was excessive detail of the cruelty and squalor of the time.
From the author not the genre
This is a great story, its adventurous and riveting but contains some very graphic violent portrayals of life as it was. Set in the late 1800's it starts in England when some of the most brutal behaviour against women and the poor was committed. I listened to this one day and couldn't eat my lunch as a result! I was shocked and appalled at the reality of it.None the less I have continued with the series and am now onto Tommo and Hawk. if you can handle the obscenities and the graphic violence, the story is fantastic. Well done by the reader and overall well worth the Listen.
The Characters are unforgettable and I wonder if it will ever be made into a movie series?
It would be a visual feast with the locations involved... that said, the film maker would have to go carefully with some of the worst violent parts.
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