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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 (3517 )
5 star
 (1995)
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4.4 (2520 )
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Story
4.6 (2515 )
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 (40)
Performance
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  •  
    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
    57
    ratings
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    220
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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 03-12-12
    Sherrie 03-12-12 Member Since 2012

    Addicted to books in all forms.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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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 03-01-12
    Waykuy 03-01-12 Member Since 2012

    kas7946

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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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    2
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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
  •  
    MALT LITTLETON, CO, United States 02-24-12
    MALT LITTLETON, CO, United States 02-24-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved it!"
    What did you love best about The Potato Factory?

    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!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim Venatries 02-15-12 Member Since 2010

    There are few things better than a good story well told!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    176
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    "Fine Historical Fiction"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    suerhae Damascus, Oregon 97089-8354 01-31-12
    suerhae Damascus, Oregon 97089-8354 01-31-12 Member Since 2006

    I like to go shopping....but as I age the distance I can travel is growing shorter.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A story "not" about potato's-Exceptional read"
    What did you love best about The Potato Factory?

    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.


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

    There were too many exceptional moments to choose just one.


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

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marco Santiago, Chile 01-22-12
    Marco Santiago, Chile 01-22-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    4
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    "Amazing in all aspects"
    What made the experience of listening to The Potato Factory the most enjoyable?

    All, the story, the performance...


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

    No one in particular. Ike's character is superb though


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

    Not before but I will look him over


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The part of Mary quite contrary


    Any additional comments?

    A must listen to book

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beth United States 12-22-11
    Beth United States 12-22-11
    ratings
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    1
    1
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    "outstanding and entertaining"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Potato Factory to be better than the print version?

    yes in that Humphrey Bower brought the characters alive in his reading


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

    Charles Dicken's Faggen is so like Iky Soloman. I believe Charles Dickens took his character ftom Iky.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The bar scene with Sperm Whale Sally is unforgetable.


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

    I laughed and cried it is just wonderful listening.


    Any additional comments?

    I read the Persimmon Tree and gave it to my 37 year old son. We both loved that one. He read the Potato Factory and said

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    robert Arroyo Grande, CA, United States 11-10-11
    robert Arroyo Grande, CA, United States 11-10-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Epic"
    Where does The Potato Factory rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The Potato Factory is extremely well written and read that I will listen over and over again like watching a grand old movie.


    What did you like best about this story?

    There are so many fabulous and colorful characters in this book that picking just one as a favourite is difficult. Ikey with his many schemes, Mary with her strength and the love they shared.


    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    I will buy books that Humphrey Bower performs without knowing anything about the author. Humphrey makes this book sing and crackle with spirit.


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

    The Potato Factory is full of shocking historical truths that you will never forget


    Any additional comments?

    If you are looking for a love story, great drama, suspense and history all in one book then this is the one for you. I highly recommend The Potato Factory

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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