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)
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.
Four years on Audible now. Love the convenience of listening while driving, cooking, folding laundry.....
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.
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.
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.
The attack on Mary by the male workers....the extent of human cruelty.
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.
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.
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.
It is a wonderful book, but I never listen to a book again nor do I watch a movie twice.
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.
Iky Solomon. I cannot imagine any other voice for him, he was perfect!
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.
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.
Really well read and a gripping story. I was not sure what to expect from the information on the website but I was not at all let down. I enjoyed the narration and have listened to this story several times now. It is great every time. It makes you feel as though you are actually in 19th century London.The next stories in the trilogy Tommo and Hawk and then Solomon's Song are well worth a listen also
"Amazing, but a bit over the top and over long."
How to give this book less than 5 stars.... I wanted to give it 1 star after the first third, but it improved about half way through to be a very enjoyable listen. Unlike his first book, The Power of One, which is one of my favourites, and also read by H. Bower, this story can't quite cope with the vast scale Courtney is trying to convey. There are about 10 books worth in the first third alone, and the characterisation suffers for it. Courtney has very strong views about people, their motives and how much they can suffer or cause others to suffer, to which he gives full reign in this book. Personally, I found him a bit too hectoring at first and I got a bit bogged down in all the terrible violence, squalor, and general depravity. If it wasn't for the wonderful reading I would have given up after hour 9. Other people listening may not mind, but I found it both very nasty and a bit dull.... however, things definately improved. By the time the characters got on the way to Oz, his story settled down to become gripping and the characters were able to grow and become likable in their own right, rather than just being vehicles for displaying the writer's considerable research.
So, worth getting over the first third, but be prepared for lots of violence, depravity and human waste!!
"Always leave a little Salt on the Bread !!!"
The wonderful enchanting characters,the locations that the story took me to, the never ending thrill of what is going to happen next to Mary, Ikey,and little Sparra - Fart !! Sigh ....
this is hard to say ,as I loved every bit of this book however on reflection perhaps it was the historical facts that Bryce weaved into his storytelling, these were an eye opener for me.
without a doubt " My Dear !" it is most definately.... Ikey Solomon..
Oh yes there were many, I didnt like what happened to Mary's Hands, the death of Sperm Whale Sally made me weep. one that I wont forget is the flogging of " Billy Gone Queer !"
Humphrey Bower has taken Bryce Courteney words and made them Sing .. He is so ,so ,good to listen to. i was totally captivated with his wonderful voice.. I recommend this book whole heartedly. I have started on book two and the Story goes on great!!
I read the book years ago and knew that I would read it again one day and so getting it on audio was great idea!
I loved it as much second time round and Humphrey Bower does a brilliant job with all the characters voices.
How you come to love the main character Ikey Solomen is amazing as he is such a dirty rotten low life scoundrel! But loveable he is!
I will get the sequel also and hopeful enjoy that as much!
You have to read all three (Tommo and Hawk & Solomon's Song). Fantastic story, fact and fiction beautifully brought together and the narrator Humphrey Bower gave a powerful and convincing performance. These books cannot be ignored either audio or hardcopy, they make you laugh, cry and may be enhance your knowledge of English history. Bryce's research is perfection itself, I looked up some of the references and there's no doubt of the immense amount of work that has taken place to produce these outstanding stories. If you haven't bought them yet.... what are you waiting for?
Very good story, can not wait for the next in the series. Well read by the narrator. I would recommend.
"Mischievously capturing, my dear"
Wonderful, funny, adoring and extremely well narrated.
Some of the best character descriptions ever. Can warmly recommend this one! Gr
"An amazing story"
So well written. Every character comes to life. An elaborate tale told in such a simple way. I couldn't put this book down.
"Dickins meets EJ thompson"
Already recommended this book/audible book several times , this is a powerful well researched work , that demonstrates truth is stranger than fiction. I can only describe it as having the best aspects of Dickens and EJ Thompson . Dickens descriptive narrative and E J Thompson's superb emotional intelligence ....
Well obviously Oliver Twist.... much better and accurate personalisation of Ike rather that the politically satirically Fagin however
Learning a lot about Australian History.
In the depths of human depravity , humanity still wins through.
Immensely enjoyable novel with superb narration painting a very powerful picture of Australian history...
Will definitely be listening to the next two books in the trilogy
"A good listen but possibly not a good read."
It rollicks along, but I found the characters not likeable enough - certainly initially. Courtenay depicts the underbelly of 18th century London with no saving graces from seediness, greed, manipulation and brutality and as a reader, you feel you need a palate with more colour on it. The savagery against Mary Abacus throughout makes you wonder if there's anything about women that Bryce Courtenay actually likes. He gets compared to Dickens, but Dickens's characters are far deeper and much more complex. Mary Abacus is no Esther Summerson.
Having said that, I have bought the next in the trilogy and, perhaps like Mary Abacus, I hope for better things.
Humphrey Bower is excellent. I am becoming quite a fan.
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