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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

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  •  
    Mr Clyde Valdosta, GA, United States 06-21-12
    Mr Clyde Valdosta, GA, United States 06-21-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Tremendous"

    I cant wait for more of this duo of author and reader to come out. Keep up the good work

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia Las Vegas, NV, United States 06-21-12
    Patricia Las Vegas, NV, United States 06-21-12 Member Since 2010

    Mother of 3, grandmother of 6, retired nurse and substance abuse counselor. Thrilled to have the time to read or listen to books again.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "hard to put down"

    Extremely well written and an engrossing story line. A bit brutal, well more than a bit and the story stays with you long after you have read it. I keep telling myself that it is a work of fiction but you still cant help but feel for the characters. Looking forward to the second book in the series, (i think) hope it is not as brutal as the first but I'm sure it will be by the reviews I've read.
    The narration is good except when doing the sex scenes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara J. Anderson Huntington Beach, Ca 06-20-12
    Barbara J. Anderson Huntington Beach, Ca 06-20-12 Member Since 2009

    paws4me

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Thouroughly engaging, it has stayed with me."

    The reader was fantastic! The story was so well done and researched. A great way to enjoy history, a peek into early England. The characters were memorable, some were actually real. The leading man of larceny was indeed a character. Truly memorable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joni Island Park, New York, United States 06-19-12
    Joni Island Park, New York, United States 06-19-12 Member Since 2007

    New Yankee

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "glad I stuck this out"

    This book was a slow start for me. It kept losing me in the beginning and let me say that the violence in this book makes it one to be approached with caution for those of the faint of heart.

    Of course, what should I have expected, since the very beginning of Australia was steeped in violence. But I tell you that by the middle of this story, I was listening until 3 in the morning and in a great upswing to my health, walking a mile past my usual walk. My husband was marveling that I was willing to do the dishes and his part of the laundry just so I could keep listening.

    It's a good book, just hang in there. It pays off...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    "unknown" Olympia, WA, United States 06-11-12
    "unknown" Olympia, WA, United States 06-11-12

    Avid Reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Gripping Story Part I of the Australian Trilogy"
    What made the experience of listening to The Potato Factory the most enjoyable?

    The narrator's aussie accent, and wonderful renditions of the characters!


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

    Mary's beating and destruction of her hands and the second one was when she got her talisman back aboard the convict ship-- GRIPPNG scenes of a formidable woman character-- she is wonderfully rendered.


    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    ALLOF IT! in all three books of the trilogy.


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

    It made me MAD! and EXHILARATED---- Mary's spirit is the one thread that runs through it all; My relationship to Ikey Solomon changed over the 3 books


    Any additional comments?

    READ it, READ all three books, one after the other: The Potato Factory, Tommo and Hawk, and Solomon's Song, the trip is well worth it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vicki Montpelier, VA, United States 06-09-12
    Vicki Montpelier, VA, United States 06-09-12 Member Since 2008
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    "One of my favorite series of all time"
    What did you love best about The Potato Factory?

    Bryce Courtenay really knows how to develop characters and tell a rich and entertaining story. I just loved all of the characters. He placed me in the time period and I felt that I really knew every character in the book.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I don't have a favorite character. All of the characters were fully developed and were all critical to the story.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I can't identify a specific scene, I loved the entire book.


    Any additional comments?

    As soon as I finished this book I immediately downloaded Tommo and Hawk and Soloman's Song because I had to finish the trilogy. I was shattered when I finished Soloman's Song and knew that I would not hear from these characters again. My deepest thanks to Mr.Courtenay for such a fabulous story!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vicky Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada 06-06-12
    Vicky Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada 06-06-12 Member Since 2009

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "LOVE this series!"
    Would you listen to The Potato Factory again? Why?

    This one is going in the classics list!


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

    I loved Ikey, performed & written so clear I could picture his treacherous visage everytime he spoke.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When Ikey trains his boys on the tricks of the street I was fascinated not only with the bare facts of survival in the London streets but also with the strange love they felt for one another


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

    Ikey, so he could teach me his tricks!


    Any additional comments?

    I bought this trilogy on spec with a 2 for 3 trilogy sale. I was in the bush & whenever mt I-pod ran out of juice I immediately started up our emergency generator so that I could keep on listening! You can't stop.
    I would highly recommend this whole series

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela Kingsburg, CA, United States 05-29-12
    Pamela Kingsburg, CA, United States 05-29-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Excellent book, better performance"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Anyone who enjoys audio books will definitely like this book.The descriptions are precise yet detailed.There was information about conditions and circumstances of that era that were heretofore romanticized yet the reality of the rawness was still compelling.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Iccy is definitely a standout character. He's so Dickensian, a dichotomy of greed and compassion.


    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    Humphrey Bower's performance is one of the best I've ever heard. Both my husband and I wondered if we would have liked the book half as much were it not for his rendering. Each character has a distinct voice and accent. It was like listening to an old radio play. Absolutely first rate.


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

    I like a book that makes me search out additional information about the place, times, and people and I have done that with this book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katka PA 05-22-12
    Katka PA 05-22-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This book has everything!"

    I don't know how many times I've passed over this series of books because I was more interested in European historical fiction rather than Australian. I regret that decision, but am so glad I finally got the first book in this Australian Trilogy. This was in part because of Audible's recent trilogy promotion as well as because it was narrated by Humphrey Bower. He has quickly become my favorite narrator, and I've listened to many!

    This book has everything I love to read about, the contrast between extreme poverty and wealth, crime, drama, adventure and so on. All the while learning about a part of history I was never much interested in-- Australia.
    I cannot wait to start listening to the next book, I'm sure it will be just as good if not better than this one!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jocelyn Kentwood, MI, United States 05-22-12
    Jocelyn Kentwood, MI, United States 05-22-12 Member Since 2011

    jjtallyho

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    "Amazing!"

    I can not say enough good things about this book. It grabs you from the begining and takes you on a journey. Brutally honest in detail about the "class" system in the U.K. and how it traveled to Oz. I will always "leave a little salt on the bread"!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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