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)
How Bryce Courtenay came up with all these wonderful characters and stories narrated by Humphrey Bower completely amazes me.
Whenever I want to be entertained I simply start on a Bryce Courtenay / Humphrey Bower book.
I have bought them all, even Whitethorn. It's listed on Audible, but they won't sell it to "people in my jurisdiction". I bought it on CD from Amazon.
That's how much I like Bryce Courtenay / Humphrey Bower. What more needs to be said.
I highly recommend this book. The story line was original!
I loved the story and the reader
I thought the reading of the story was very good. He was able to differentiate the characters in this story and paint a picture of them with his voice. I think the story was well researched and provided insight to a period of time and place that I did not know much about. However, the ending of the story felt rushed. it was almost as if he found it easier to describe the horrific things that happened, but didn't know how to end it. I was ultimately left feeling unsatisfied. After listening to so many hours of terrible things, even with the indomnitable spirit of Mary Abacus, I found myself saying, really, that's how you're going to end it.
However, the characters were well drawn and the story was told without apology for the good and bad in each. These are characters that will stay with me for awhile. That is saying something.
This is a most engaging story, telling the history of early Australia and the lives of convicts. Humphrey Bower is a very talented man and reads this story with the utmost conviction, engaging the listener with the various voices and accents with precise accuracy.
Ikey Soloman, an intriguing character.
No, but this performance will lead me to look for other books he has read.
I have really enjoyed this book, and reach for it at every spare and convenient moment.
Highly recommend, Bryce Courtney is an amazing story teller, he includes cultural and historical facts that educate you while entertaining you with a great story!!
Kimberly Thornbury, busy working mom and lover of audio books.
I enjoyed this book very much. One of the main characters, Mary, was not too saintly to be real, and I feel she is one of the most endearing heroines in literature. These qualities made her horrific trials difficult to listen to and her victories so very sweet. (Great "historical fiction" as well - I learned much about the "Charles Dickens" time period of London.) Excellent ending.
Tell us about yourself!
Weren't there any good things to focus on? I felt sick to my stomach and they werent even on the boats yet.
Bought the trilogy based on the reviews and was hoping for a good read about the history of Australia. Working up the courage to listen to the 2nd book.
stunning character development
The description of the attack on Mary after she gets a job as clerk is gory and amazing and relates very well the incredible desperation of the times and the baseness which humans can sink in dire situations.
Old Broad with Keyboard
It's a slow starter. I almost didn't finish it several times. But, I hung in there anyway. Sometimes it feels like there's too much detail & the beginning is a hard slog.
The story grew on me after a while.The language was sometimes shocking, the living conditions horrible & the regard for human life minimal, but I got involved in the lives of Ikey Solomans & Mary Abacus. I wasn't even sure I wanted to finish the book but I had to find out what happened to them. I guess the very authenticity is what kept me listening in the end. And then I ended up buying all three of the novels.
Too many to choose just one.
A tough listen. This is no love story. Gutter language, sexuality, brutality & filth. But it pertains to the story & most of it's necessary. If you like historical fiction with gritty authentic details, this is the story for you.
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