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The Potato Factory Audiobook

The Potato Factory: The Australian Trilogy, Book 1

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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

4.4 (4413 )
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  •  
    martha United States 07-08-13
    martha United States 07-08-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Wonderful! Audio is best ever. Amazing linguistic"
    Would you listen to The Potato Factory again? Why?

    Yes. Pure genius how humphrey bower read/acted this entire book and trilogy. I was in awe at his ability to have different voices for each character and maintain them through all 60 hours of audio for the trilogy! Absolutly splendid!


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

    Mr bower brings the story completley alive from the first page to the last. Amazing talent!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    marlene newcastle, ON, Canada 07-07-13
    marlene newcastle, ON, Canada 07-07-13 Member Since 2012
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    "great "read""
    What did you love best about The Potato Factory?

    great story-informative-well read


    What did you like best about this story?

    this series is going to put me where I have not been before-Australia is new to me


    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    the characters come alive


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

    I think that it is a perfect name


    Any additional comments?

    looking forward to the next 2 books

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lily 07-06-13
    Lily 07-06-13 Member Since 2013

    bunnymama

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    "Spellbinding"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Potato Factory to be better than the print version?

    I haven't read the print version, but I can't imagine not hearing Humphrey Bower's voice reading to me.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Potato Factory?

    There seemed to be a memorable moment every few paragraphs, but I think the early story of Mary sticks with me the most.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When Ikey dressed up to visit the bank.


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

    I tried my hardest, but I just had to go to bed.


    Any additional comments?

    I don't know how I got to be so old without having heard of Bryce Courtenay. I read recently a comment that most people learn history through novels. That is certainly the case with these novels of Australia and New Zealand. And if my history books had been read to me by Humphrey Bower, I'd have been an A+ student. Good readers make you forget they are there, and Mr. Bower goes one better by making you believe each character is speaking directly to you. The story of Sally is a good example. When she sings her song of the blue whale, I thought to myself, "Hey, she's got a pretty good voice," and then remembered that SHE was not there at all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer bolivia, NC, United States 06-30-13
    Amazon Customer bolivia, NC, United States 06-30-13 Member Since 2016
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    "Powerful historical, humorous, Must Have!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Potato Factory to be better than the print version?

    Havent read it, but I think both would be good. This audio is great as the reader manages to give so much variation to each character,especially Solomon and Mary who's voices seem to make them actualy visible.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Has to be Mary, with Solomon a close second


    Which scene was your favorite?

    There were too many scenes to pick out just one. But the most powerful scene for me was when Mary applies for her job on the docks.


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

    I would have loved to sit on my back porch and listen to the whole thing - it was entirely too engrossing to put down. Sadly, life does get in the way.


    Any additional comments?

    Dont let the crazy title get in the way. There is no potato, no factory in this book. There is a wonderfully drawn picture of life for the lower classes in not so jolly England on the 19th century where it was known by all that women were born inferior as were the lower classses, you couldnt teach the childrent of lower classes so dont waste your time on that. Being sentenced to criminal island Australia turned out for many to be the beginning of a new and better life - but more about that in book two!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pennalie Texaco Flats 06-30-13
    Pennalie Texaco Flats 06-30-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Tragic Story - Incredible Narrator"

    This is the fictionalized story of real life prince of fences - Ikey Solomon - and his long suffering mistress, the fictional Mary Abacus. In every way a brutal tale, chilling heartbreaking and riveting. I was not sure I could bear the brutality of certain scenes - but for the amazing talents of Narrator Humphrey Bower! This book was all the more powerful and heart-wrenching thanks to Bower's ability to bring the voices, dialects and 19th Century slang to life and to carry us through the hell that Courtenay's characters endure with the spunk and determination that prevented this story from wallowing in its own despair.

    I was captivated by the world Bryce portrays and horrified by the cruelty of its inhabitants. This is not a tale for the faint of heart, and I may need to catch my breath before picking up the sequel, Tommo & Hawk, but I will long have these voices in my head - not to mention the song sung by Sperm Whale Sally . . . . Well done Mr. Bower. Well done, me dearie.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 06-25-13
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 06-25-13 Member Since 2015

    I am brutally honest. Popular, love everything they read, reviewers are scared to go neg. and risk their ranking. It's your money!!!

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    "Bolderdash, there is not a civilized man on Earth"

    THAT DON'T WISH HE WAS AN ENGLISHMAN. WHAT...

    Every hundred books are so you come across a gem like this. This is why I continue to read and explore new authors. BC says you learn more through story then you do history books and I could not agree more. This story had well developed characters (that I did fall in love with, even though they were criminals.) an intriguing story and it is just so well written. If you read my reviews you find that I often complain about books being to long. This was over 23 hours and I loved every minute. I could have easily listened to 23 more hours.

    There are three main characters, but listen to the names of some of the supporting cast; The Reamer, Tittie Smart, Sparrow Fart, Monkey Mary, Mary Abacus, Billy's Gone Queer, and Sperm Whale Sally, among others.

    If you like George R. R. Martin and how he suddenly out of the blue, cuts somebody's hand off or penis, then you will like this. Some have said this is predictable, but I disagree. I did not see what was going to happen and at times when things were going to good, I would start to mentally cringe, expecting the worse, but that did not always happen either.

    This first book of the trilogy is mostly about London, but they do get to Australia and the first part of the book is exceptionally good.

    Bower was the perfect narrator for this, it is always great when the perfect book gets matched with the perfect narrator.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charlotte 06-23-13
    Charlotte 06-23-13 Member Since 2016
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    "A Realist View of the Time Period"
    If you could sum up The Potato Factory in three words, what would they be?

    Engaging, realistic, cruel


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Potato Factory?

    The description of Ike's coat and the way he has everything arranged in it.


    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    The narration is perfect for the story.


    If you could take any character from The Potato Factory out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Mary, at true survivor


    Any additional comments?

    This story is most realistic for the time period; be prepared to hear the cruelty...it stays with you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ursula 06-20-13
    Ursula 06-20-13 Member Since 2010

    Cape Town, South Africa

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    "Another great Bryce Courtenay"

    Bryce Courtenay creates another vivid and rich world of characters who face the most awful circumstances with an iron will not to be defeated and come out on top! A tapestry of history, intrigue and art superbly woven together into an engaging novel narrated by narrator extraordinaire! I will continue with the next 2 parts of the trilogy and have no doubt they will make for as entertaining listening as this part 1!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sherry Oceanside, CA. United States 06-20-13
    Sherry Oceanside, CA. United States 06-20-13 Member Since 2011
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    "A fantastic historical read"

    I love to listen to audiobooks that have a great story, interesting characters, and teach me something at the same time- these are a treasure. The Potato Factory is just such a historical novel and I almost missed it because of the boring title! How glad I am that I didn't. Onto Book 2- Tommo and Hawk....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bridgett Gaines 06-05-13
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    "I loved it!"
    Where does The Potato Factory rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    In the top 10 of my audio book list so far.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Potato Factory?

    The description of the smells


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Hard to say


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

    Impossible!


    Any additional comments?

    No

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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