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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 (3286 )
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  •  
    Jocelyn Kentwood, MI, United States 05-22-12
    Jocelyn Kentwood, MI, United States 05-22-12 Member Since 2011

    jjtallyho

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Michael 05-17-12
    Michael 05-17-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Bryce world is still a worthwile visit"
    What made the experience of listening to The Potato Factory the most enjoyable?

    A good story with really interesting , nasty, nice tough , characters. everybody plays a part and are knitted together well


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

    Power of one, pretty obvious really


    Have you listened to any of Humphrey Bower’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    one of his best


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

    Mary, just to meet her


    Any additional comments?

    another book worth investing your time to, very good traveling book,

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy&David Prunedale, CA, United States 05-10-12
    Kathy&David Prunedale, CA, United States 05-10-12

    KD

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Warning - Too Grim"

    After listening to the forward by the author saying the main character was as despicable a person as he could create, I started questioning whether I would like this book. 1 1/2 hours into the book I stopped: Mary is beaten and gang raped by the men who were waiting for the clerk job she got, then they crushed both of her hands with their boots so that she spent the rest of her life crippled with blackened claws. I could not take anymore and quit the book. I do not recommend anyone that does not appreciate a book with the grimmest picture of life and the worst kind of people who inhabit it. The writer is very good. His graphic descriptions of depravity are very compelling. Not my cup of tea.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Sacramento, CA, United States 04-23-12
    Christopher Sacramento, CA, United States 04-23-12
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    "Great Story"

    For the same reasons I enjoyed Shogun and Tai Pan, I enjoyed the Potato Factory. Bryce was able to make this time period come to life for me. I really enjoyed the character development and the story even had me laughing at times. I highly recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Greenville, SC, United States 03-26-12
    Thomas Greenville, SC, United States 03-26-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not my type of book"

    I am a science fiction fan so the only reason I got this audiobook was that it is a 23 hour book that was on sale for $4.95. I do some work that occupies my hands and eyes but not my ears or mind so I snatched up a value like that.

    Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be one of the best audiobooks I have ever listened to! I have been listening to audiobooks for over 20 years, so that is a significant statement.

    The story itself is very engaging but Humphrey Bower's narration turns a good book into a great audiobook.

    It is worth the full or member price or a credit, but for heaven's sake if you ever see it on sale for $4.95 again, GRAB IT!!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debby United States 03-17-12
    Debby United States 03-17-12 Member Since 2007

    Foodiewife

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Author and Narrator both earn five stars"

    My first audio book that had Humphrey Bower as the narrator was Shantaram-- which is on the top of the list as favorite story, author and narrator thus far. I loved that book so much, that I searched for other books narrated by Mr. Bower. I hesitated downloading this book for a couple years, but now I'm glad that I did. I really enjoy reading series, and have listened to all of the Outlander Series (Diana Gabaldon and narrate by Davina Porter...who is one of my favorite narrators). I just finished listening to this book and immediately had to download the second of the series. I enjoy historical fiction, and the story of Australia in the early 1800's is poignant, and very interesting. The story begins in London, and introduced Ikey Solomon, who I envision as a rotten scoundrel. Of course, I related to Mary Abacus as a Woman of Substance (which is the title of a novel I read in the 70's and began my appetite for stories of women who overcome hardship and become successful). There are dark periods of history-- the mistreatment of prisoners, who are sent to Australia to serve out their prison sentences...to the cruel mistreatment of the Aborigines. I loved every minute of this story, which has a fair balance of sorrow, compassion, humor, revenge, and determination. I grew to see Ikey Solomon in a new light, as having a heart-- albeit misdirected, at times, as he was self-serving. When I listened to the end of the story, I had to continue on-- so I could find out what happened to Tomo. Great read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelli Birmingham, AL, United States 03-13-12
    Kelli Birmingham, AL, United States 03-13-12 Member Since 2002

    Listen on dog walks, commutes and around the house. Welcome virtually any genre but southern fiction holds a special place in my heart.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fantastic Homage to Dickens"

    This was a fantastic homage to Dickens and captivating historical fiction. Most of us know of Australia's penal colony history but this book brings that history to life. The characters are memorable, imperfect and quirky. The story carries you along through the ups, the downs, the twists, the turns, the triumphs and the struggles of these wonderful characters. There are at least two scenes deeply imbedded in my psyche just as the horse beating scene in Crime and Punishment will be with me forever. That means that this book will not soon be forgotten - if ever - and I look forward to the second book in this trilogy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sherrie Mt. Pearl, Newfoundland, Canada 03-12-12
    Sherrie Mt. Pearl, Newfoundland, Canada 03-12-12 Member Since 2012

    Addicted to books in all forms.

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    "Amazing Story With Close To Perfect Narration"

    This was my second book with audible and my first Courtenay book. Halfway through my listen I signed up for the platinum membership. This book is what every audio book hopes to be. I say close to perfect narration only because there is no such thing as perfect, and I know where my next month's credits are going. There is nothing more I can add that the other reviewers have not said, except that there was one drawback. I finished this book on an overnight train and when about half an hour later I went onto my next audio book I was devastated at both the story and the narration. Bower puts others to shame!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Waykuy Orangevale, CA, United States 03-01-12
    Waykuy Orangevale, CA, United States 03-01-12 Member Since 2012

    kas7946

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    "An Interesting Story"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Potato Factory to be better than the print version?

    A very interesting story, well written and well read. I'm looking forward to the rest of the trilogy.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Ikey Solomon.


    Have you listened to any of Humphrey Bower’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tammy Oshawa, ON, Canada 02-29-12
    Tammy Oshawa, ON, Canada 02-29-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Fantastic"
    What made the experience of listening to The Potato Factory the most enjoyable?

    This book is fantastic, kept my interest from beginning to end. The characters simply come to life and the narration was excellent. I think this may be a favorite of mine, can’t wait to listen/read the second book in this series.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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