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)
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.
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!!!!
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!
Listen on dog walks, commutes and around the house. Welcome virtually any genre but southern fiction holds a special place in my heart.
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.
Addicted to books in all forms.
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!
A very interesting story, well written and well read. I'm looking forward to the rest of the trilogy.
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.
I was lost in the story and how well this was put together. Loved the narrator, he made me laugh at the women's voices, though. Great book, well worth it!
There are few things better than a good story well told!
What a marvelous adventure this story is! It is historical fiction at its best--meticulously researched and thoroughly entertaining. This novel ranks with the best of Ken Follett or Wilbur Smith. It gives an unflinching look at life in 19th century London and the beginnings of modern Australia. The narration was exceptionally good. I highly recommend this book.
I like to go shopping....but as I age the distance I can travel is growing shorter.
The charactors were interesting and had great debth while the story painted a word picture of a time in history that was new for me.
There were too many exceptional moments to choose just one.
I liked Ms Abicus and found her to be interesting, kind, bright, loving, forgiving and down to earth. She always made the best of every situation and showed that her kindness to others came back to her many fold.
People, like these charactors, are not either good or bad. Their lives offer up challenges and each challenge shapes the person and guides their choices. Bad people might do very wonderful things at times which might seem surprising but cause the reader to have a new insight into human behavior and thinking. I will read/listen to this book again and again to see if I missed any of the interesting details.
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