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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 (3563 )
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4.6 (2554 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Gina 01-04-13
    Gina 01-04-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Love the author, another great read"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Narration was well done - I like the voices and found the reader easy to listen to and engaging. The story is amazing: great character descriptions (well developed throughout the novel), loved the evolving story line with changing settings. I loved "The Power of One" by Bryce Courtenay and found this novel equally well done. I can't wait to download the second book of this trilogy!!


    What other book might you compare The Potato Factory to and why?

    unlike most books I've read.


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

    I loved all of the narrator's performances. Mary is my favorite if I have to pick. I couldn't imagine the accent or delivery any other way. I have chosen to purchase another novel performed by Humphrey Bower based on my enjoyment of his reading of this novel


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

    Mary. she would probably make the best company as she is depicted as honest, intelligent, and resourceful.


    Any additional comments?

    every minute was engaging. must read!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joyce PALM HARBOR, FL, United States 12-11-12
    Joyce PALM HARBOR, FL, United States 12-11-12 Member Since 2011
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    9
    5
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    "Best series I have read in a long long time."

    The story is captivating, Bryce is the king words. For the first time in a long time I did not feel I was reading at a 6th grade level. He envelopes you in his world, binds you to his people, makes you fall in love with his world. I could not stop reading or wait for the next book in the series. When you are sad to have read the last page you know the writer has done his work with the hand and mind of a work artist. Humphrey Bower is the best reader I have ever heard. He brings to life the authors intended character personality. I laughed and cried and felt the emotions of love and loss along with the anger of injustice. Well done sir.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    horslovr 12-01-12
    horslovr 12-01-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Fantastic!"

    I will miss Bryce Courtenay's work so very much. His writings are so uplifting, as his characters overcome their demons and at times, tragedies and somehow seem to rise above them and learn from them.

    This story was just as wonderful as the others. It is part 1 of a series of 2 (the next is Tommo and Hawk) and is about a woman who ventures out trying to find work in a man's world, suffers consequences as a result of this and spends a good part of her life rising above all of these misfortunes to a level that I found very uplifting. What a testiment to the human spirit!

    As always, Humphrey Bower is a joy to listen to; his voice fits Bryce's work so well, and he does different characters so convincingly that you forget that it's one person narrating!

    All in all, a wonderful read, I am greatly saddened by Mr. Courtenay's death and the stories that he had yet to tell. RIP Mr. Courtenay, and thank you for gracing us with your words.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Australia 11-29-12
    Joseph Australia 11-29-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    126
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    67
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    "Deep, Wide, Rich and Satisfying"

    First, Humphrey Bower's performance is magnificent. Men, women, children, Irish, Scottish, Australian, British and others are all executed wonderfully.

    The story of the Potato Factory is a fantastic read. Full of interesting and complicated characters who experience joy and tragedy. After listening for nearly 24 hours, I found myself yearning for more. It is no wonder that Mr. Courtenay was such a successful author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan NY, NY, United States 11-23-12
    Susan NY, NY, United States 11-23-12 Member Since 2013
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    3
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    "Very poor man's Dickens"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A much better story with more appealing and realistic characters


    What could Bryce Courtenay have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    It was just one bad event after another, happening to characters who were not developed enough for me to care


    What didn’t you like about Humphrey Bower’s performance?

    boring


    What character would you cut from The Potato Factory?

    Quite a few


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terry San Francisco, CA, United States 11-16-12
    Terry San Francisco, CA, United States 11-16-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Another Amazing Work from Bryce Courtenay"

    I'm biased - The Power of One is probably my favorite novel of all time. Inexplicably, it's taken me a couple decades to seek out other Courtenay novels. But now that I have done so, I couldn't be more grateful. The Potato Factory is another amazing novel. It's not for the faint of heart, just as some (all?) of his other works aren't. But it's a great story with great characters, and it's well worth a listen. And I can't imagine a better narrator for these stories than Humphrey Bower. Mr. Bower really brings the characters to life. I can't wait to listen to the follow-up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Halifax, NS, Canada 11-13-12
    Jennifer Halifax, NS, Canada 11-13-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Phenomenal Saga"

    This is an absolutely wonderful find.

    The Potato Factory is an absolutely fascinating novel mostly set in nineteenth-century London. It's a broad, sweeping epic tale of a few people in the seedy and sordid underbelly of society and the serpentine interactions of their lives.

    Ultimately everyone ends up in Australia as a result of being deported on the convict ships, but that doesn't happen until the last third of the book.

    The main characters are Ikey Solomon, a ruffian merchant, and Mary Abacus, an abused but resourceful woman who goes from being a servant to a prostitute/madam, then convict and small business owner. Ikey is largely despicable as a character, but he has some redeeming qualities. Mary is much more sympathetic. Ikey's wife and children are nasty and loathsome. There's a whole cast of secondary characters, including the band of young thievesand pickpockets Ikey has trained over the years.

    The story is indeed Dickensian, but in the best possible way. Humphrey Bower's narration is absolutely first-class and he manages to convey accents of the London slum dwellers as well as Australian accents and even a couple of American accents. He's a vocal chameleon, and his narration is part of what makes this such a fabulous story.

    The level of detail and historical description is absolutely stunning. Bryce Courtenay beings to life another age. The book is filled with interesting facts and snippets of information about things such as counterfeiting and the vaguely alarming justice ksystem which prevailed at the time.

    I didn't want this book to end, and I am going out to get the next two in the series, whether I have any credits or not. If you like sweeping sagas with wonderful character descriptions and masterful plot twists, buy this book. It won't disappoint. If I could give this book more than five stars in each category, I would.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret Australia 11-05-12
    Margaret Australia 11-05-12
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    11
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    "A fantastic read"
    If you could sum up The Potato Factory in three words, what would they be?

    Great fanatastic entertaining.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Ikey. A horrible character that you can't help falling in love with.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Ikey's escape from the law.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Ikey helped 'Billy gone queer' by giving him a new name.


    Any additional comments?

    Humphrey Bower's naration bought it to life for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    shark 10-29-12
    shark 10-29-12
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    3
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    "Excellent historical novel"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this audiobook to a friend. The story is historically based which is interesting. The reader is terrific. I cannot put the MP3 down!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Randy Fairfield, OH, United States 10-11-12
    Randy Fairfield, OH, United States 10-11-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Great Book"
    If you could sum up The Potato Factory in three words, what would they be?

    Excellent and surprising book! I didn't think I would enjoy this book, however I loved it, and grabbed me right from the first chapter.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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