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)
You need to know that I do very few reviews. I am no writer & despite the hundreds of books I read, I forget details quickly. Here goes.... My heart ached for these people & the characters part of me as I read all of the rich details. My reason for withholding from giving 5 stars is because my mind wandered toward the end. I felt like the last chapter was dragging, or perhaps the author didn't want the book to end. It could have been wrapped up without adding new situations at the end.
Live on edge of National Forest with lake, birds & wild animals. No more perfect place to indulge life-long love of reading.
From the very beginning I fell in love with the quirky characters. Set in early 19th century London it was easy to pick up on the Dickens-like portrayals. At the point when one of the street urchins (one of the smartest students in the Light Fingers Academy) was questioned outside a London courthouse by a reporter who identified himself as Charles Dickens (his only appearance in the book) I became intrigued with the connections. The urchin gave the reporter a made-up name of "Artful Dodger". It was a pretty quick step to realize from there that one of the main characters, Ikey Solomon, was a real life London thief. Dickens used Solomon as his model for Fagin in Oliver Twist -- where the Artful Dodger also appears.
Yes, it's a long book. But I never once wanted it to speed up. The story is action-packed with fascinating characters and much intrigue. Since it's a triology, do not expect all story lines to be resolved. There is much more grist here for future mills!
This is most definitely fiction but based on real history: places, characters and legal systems. It moves from London to the Australian penal colony where it picks up a very McMurtry-like tone (think Lonesome Dove). This book has given me the gift of a new favorite author and a new wonderful narrator. I bought it based on the recommendation of a reviewer I follow. What a tremendous discovery. And, thank you, fellow reviewer.
Say something about yourself!
I found the jewish criminals as well as the gentile's relationships to them to be of great interest. The author was criticized for this portrayal but I don't agree. Should we not expect there would be jews in all walks of life?
I enjoyed the pickpockets custom made coat. I just bought a Scottevest which has many concealed pockets and I think of the pickpocket's coat every time I try to remember which pocket has what in it.
I learned something about the legal system of the time in England--also the workings of the 'criminal class'.
I found the prose to be tedious. The book could do with a good edit.
Less detail about the individuals--move the story along. A good editor is essential to a good book.
No. I like long books but this one tried my patience. I don't think I will listen to the others in this series.
Not historical fiction.
I'm a professional painter and love ennobling, enlightening literature
THE WRITING IS MASTERFUL
SINCE I CAN ONLY NAME ONE, IT WOULD BE MARY. SHE EMBODIES ALL THAT IS GOOD AND STRONG IN THE NAME OF PERSEVERANCE.
THE ARM WRESTLING SCENE BUT IN ALL HONESTY, EVERY SCENE IS MIND BLOWING.
A SAGA OF CONSEQUENCE
I READ THE POWER OF ONE 15 YEARS AGO AND THOUGHT IT MOST BRILLIANT. SO PLEASED TO REDISCOVER BRYCE CORTENAY. I HAVE LEARNED THAT HE HAS WRITTEN 21 BOOKS AND HOPE TO READ THEM ALL. THE POTATO FACTORY IS AT THE VERY TOP OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITE BOOKS. RIVETING. THE CHARACTERS BREATHE. THE STORY IS EXTRAORDINARY. COULD NOT LOVE IT MORE.
Not sure if I would listen to the story again but I could recommend it as a good book in your library. I certainly will buy the author's next book in this series.
Mary Abacus was my favorite character because she represents a strong willed survivor who was able to adapted to her environment. A true pioneer of Australian's history.She was a woman who paved the way for others.
The story is interesting because it takes the characters and their stories from England to Australia. The author sets the stage for the next generations to carry on in the making of Australian's history. At first is was difficult to understand the narrator's Australian accent
but that issue disappeared.
I would not rename the book. The Potato Factory fits the story.
This book was a fast listen because you don't want to put in down.
yes, very good
when Mary found her son in the woods
I really enjoyed this audible book.
I never saw the print version, but the narration is fantastic.
It was a very pleasant reading and I look forward to completing the series.
His voice adds life to the characters.
addicting, real, gritty
Mary's journey to Van Demon's land by boat
Accents for each of the characters. Humphrey's melodious voice made the story weave together in a lovely way.
Both! It made me cringe at times, but that's what makes it real.
Excellent listen! Highly recommended. what a great intro to Audible.
New to audible but love the convenience of listening to books while doing mundane household tasks. Mother of 3 whose nest is 2/3 empty as the grown children move on to bigger and better things.
Yes I would. It is full of memorable characters interwoven into interesting historical scenes.
Mary Abacus is my favorite. She is smart, kind and overcomes so many terrible obstacles while still hanging onto her incredible humanity.
He was amazing with all the different voices and accents. A real treat to listen to. Whether male, female, Irish or Australian; he could do every character.
Ikey Solomon is very memorable. As his life twists and turns you never know what he is going to get up to next.
Looking forward to Book 2 of this Trilogy.
Brilliant story......love Bryce Courtney's story telling is second to none for me. Brilliant narration......Humphrey Bower has the best voices for every character. I've been a member for 3 yrs & the narration of this wonderful story is at the top of my list.
I Can't wait to listen to books 2 & 3.
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