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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

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (3798 )
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  •  
    Amy VanDeSteeg 05-23-13
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    "Fantastic narration!"

    I have never written a review before bur had to do so for this book. The story was interesting, the characters engaging, and I cannot say enough about Mr. Bower's performance. This is one of those times when I am glad I listened to rather than read the story. I was amazed by his mastery of a variety of accents and his ability to switch the tone of his voice to represent different characters. Sometimes that gets annoying or distracting and can be overly dramatic, especially when it is a male narrating a female. The only distracting thing about this book was how flawless the reader was. I am astounded.

    The only reason I did not give 5 stars for the overall rating was because I felt sometimes the author went into too much detail, belaboured a point, or repeated himself. But this only happened a few times and I enjoyed listening to Mr. bower's voice so much I didn't even care!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jess Cecil Hills, Australia 05-22-13
    Jess Cecil Hills, Australia 05-22-13
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    "A Marvel!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Potato Factory to be better than the print version?

    Bryce Courtneys epic tale brought to life: a mastery of narration! Humphrey Bower's extensive knowledge of the different accents and his ability to give each character a distinctive voice make this book a pleasure to listen to, adding a further dimension to the print version


    What did you like best about this story?

    The history of Australia and the convicts who came here has never been more captivating. It leaves the reader wanting to know more about this pivotal point in English and Australian history.


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

    Bower presents us with a living link to Courtney's web of intermingling characters who sometimes shock us and always endear themselves to us.His descriptions of people and places are raw, real.....


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

    I could have listened to this all at once!


    Any additional comments?

    A thoroughly enjoyable book - will definately be dowloading the entire trilogy!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth M. Nash Saskatoon 05-21-13
    Elizabeth M. Nash Saskatoon 05-21-13 Member Since 2010
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    "This is the best book I've "read" in ages."
    Any additional comments?

    Bryce Courtenay is now on my short list of favorite story tellers, alongside Patrick O'Brian, Isabel Allende, and Larry McMurtry. Lots of people can write, but it takes a special talent to weave and tell a spellbinding story. The Potato Factory is a spellbinding story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Max 05-19-13
    Max 05-19-13 Member Since 2014
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    "good listen"

    the audio quality was a bit tinny, but I got used to it. The narrator did a really good job switching between characters, especially male/female. The story has great characters and really gives you gritty feel for life at that time. I found myself looking forward to getting into the car to pick up the story again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leanna FLEMING ISLAND, FL, United States 05-18-13
    Leanna FLEMING ISLAND, FL, United States 05-18-13
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    "Wonderful Historical Story, Incredible Writing"

    The story and telling of it is superb. This Australian trilogy may well become a classic. Mr. Courtenay is a word-smith of the highest caliber. Mr. Bower is an excellent voice to represent this finely crafted novel. I look forward to the next books in the trilogy! Well Done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Brooksville, ME, United States 05-13-13
    Kathleen Brooksville, ME, United States 05-13-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Must be missing something"
    Would you try another book from Bryce Courtenay and/or Humphrey Bower?

    doubt it, their sense of humor (?) is lost on me


    Would you ever listen to anything by Bryce Courtenay again?

    maybe


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    I don't know- I didn't like the voices used but I also didn't like the characters.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Blah!


    Any additional comments?

    I'm baffled as to the super positive reviews- I thought the book boring, the narrative poor, the characters unappealing. For sure, it's my perspective. Please take this book back!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L.F. 05-11-13
    L.F. 05-11-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Best narrator ever."
    If you could sum up The Potato Factory in three words, what would they be?

    Best narrator ever!


    Which character – as performed by Humphrey Bower – was your favorite?

    Mary


    If you could rename The Potato Factory, what would you call it?

    Defeating the Odds.


    Any additional comments?

    Humphrey Bower, in this series, is the best I've ever heard. He came out with the best and sometimes funniest voices. At times I was rolling with laughter.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Felton, CA, United States 05-03-13
    Susan Felton, CA, United States 05-03-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Worth the narration alone"

    Mr. Courtenay has certainly spun a fascinating, character-driven tale, but Mr. Bower's narration was simply stunning. I've been a member of Audible for two years now, and this ranks up there with "Pillars of the Earth" as far as pure listening pleasure goes. I will definitely check out the next book in this trilogy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tony Wood Perth, Western Australia 05-02-13
    Tony Wood Perth, Western Australia 05-02-13 Listener Since 2006
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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

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