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The Potato Factory Audiobook

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 (4263 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Nancy F. Sierra Foothills, Northern CA 02-22-13
    Nancy F. Sierra Foothills, Northern CA 02-22-13 Member Since 2007

    Live on edge of National Forest with lake, birds & wild animals. No more perfect place to indulge life-long love of reading.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Dickens + McMurtry = Outstanding Entertainment"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    heART seneca sc 02-20-13
    heART seneca sc 02-20-13 Member Since 2013

    I'm a professional painter and love ennobling, enlightening literature

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "IT JUST DOESN'T GET BETTER"
    What made the experience of listening to The Potato Factory the most enjoyable?

    THE WRITING IS MASTERFUL


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    SINCE I CAN ONLY NAME ONE, IT WOULD BE MARY. SHE EMBODIES ALL THAT IS GOOD AND STRONG IN THE NAME OF PERSEVERANCE.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    THE ARM WRESTLING SCENE BUT IN ALL HONESTY, EVERY SCENE IS MIND BLOWING.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    A SAGA OF CONSEQUENCE


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martin Palm Desert, CA, United States 02-20-13
    Martin Palm Desert, CA, United States 02-20-13 Member Since 2011
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    "An interesting story of Australian history"
    Would you listen to The Potato Factory again? Why?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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.


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

    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.


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

    I would not rename the book. The Potato Factory fits the story.


    Any additional comments?

    This book was a fast listen because you don't want to put in down.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Goodyear, AZ, United States 02-19-13
    Amazon Customer Goodyear, AZ, United States 02-19-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Excellent book and Humphrey Bower is incredible!"
    Would you listen to The Potato Factory again? Why?

    yes, very good


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

    when Mary found her son in the woods


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

    Eickey


    Any additional comments?

    I really enjoyed this audible book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pedro Oliveira Jr. Sao Paulo, SP Brazil 02-15-13
    Pedro Oliveira Jr. Sao Paulo, SP Brazil 02-15-13 Member Since 2010

    Pedro Paulo

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

    I never saw the print version, but the narration is fantastic.


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

    It was a very pleasant reading and I look forward to completing the series.


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

    His voice adds life to the characters.


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

    Mary Abacus


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anika 02-14-13
    Anika 02-14-13
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    "Complex, yet beautifully easy listening!"
    If you could sum up The Potato Factory in three words, what would they be?

    addicting, real, gritty


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

    Mary's journey to Van Demon's land by boat


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

    Accents for each of the characters. Humphrey's melodious voice made the story weave together in a lovely way.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Both! It made me cringe at times, but that's what makes it real.


    Any additional comments?

    Excellent listen! Highly recommended. what a great intro to Audible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Abby 02-13-13
    Abby 02-13-13

    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.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An Intriquing Generational Saga"
    Would you listen to The Potato Factory again? Why?

    Yes I would. It is full of memorable characters interwoven into interesting historical scenes.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Mary Abacus is my favorite. She is smart, kind and overcomes so many terrible obstacles while still hanging onto her incredible humanity.


    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    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.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Potato Factory and why?

    Ikey Solomon is very memorable. As his life twists and turns you never know what he is going to get up to next.


    Any additional comments?

    Looking forward to Book 2 of this Trilogy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    yani Saratoga, Australia 02-12-13
    yani Saratoga, Australia 02-12-13
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    "Brilliant"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Potato Factory to be better than the print version?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dianne Baxter, MN, United States 02-12-13
    Dianne Baxter, MN, United States 02-12-13 Member Since 2012

    Addicted to reading on kindle or audiobooks. I prefer science fiction, fantasy, horror, epic series, and historical fiction. Favorite authors are Terry Goodkind, Bryce Countney, Stephen King, Joe Hill, and Diana Gabaldon. Don't care for forensic thrillers....same thing over and over.

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    "Fresh version of Oliver Twist era"
    What made the experience of listening to The Potato Factory the most enjoyable?

    Bryce Courtney creates such vibrant and flawed characters. It is so easy to become acquainted with them and their world. Loved learning about London during this time period and later Tasmania/Australia. Harsh times but seems very accurate. Great historical fiction novel.


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

    The attack on Mary by the male workers....the extent of human cruelty.


    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    His accents and voices for each character are awesome. I could listen to him for hours and hours and have bought may Bryce Courtney audiobooks for just that reason. Prefer the audio format instead of text for these books, and Humphrey Bower has a lot to do with that.


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

    Hawk. His soul is made of solid gold, all the way to the core. His size and appearance are so striking that he is one of the most unique characters I could imagine. As I have also listened to part 2 and part 3 in this series, I have gotten to know more of Hawk, so this book is just an introduction to his character.


    Any additional comments?

    Love these long complex stories and I just love getting to know Bryce's characters. These books (Potato Factory series and anything by Bryce Courtney) would be interesting to so many different types of people. I highly recommend them to anyone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane Cincinnati, OH, United States 02-11-13
    Diane Cincinnati, OH, United States 02-11-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Wonderful historical novel!"
    Would you listen to The Potato Factory again? Why?

    It is a wonderful book, but I never listen to a book again nor do I watch a movie twice.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I really liked Iky Soloman and Mary Abacus. Although they had to do many illegal, immoral things, it was because of their life situations and I loved that they had integrity and and that they used their intelligence and instincts to survive unthinkable conditions.


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

    Iky Solomon. I cannot imagine any other voice for him, he was perfect!


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

    I thought that was a perfect name. When you begin with the book, it does not seem to fit but as Mary is imprisioned on the island and then creates her own brewery, it all goes back to Iky and his influence over her and then her adopted sons. It is her salvation.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved the book. Historical fiction has never interested me before and I do not know why I bought this book but I am so glad that I did. I love the characters and seeing how their backgrounds have affected their development. The historical information included also has been extremely interesting. I am now listening to the 2nd part of the trilogy, Tommo and Hawk and am engrossed in it also.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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