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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 (3767 )
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4.4 (2746 )
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4.6 (2739 )
5 star
 (2006)
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    "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 2015
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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 2013

    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 05-22-12
    Katka 05-22-12 Member Since 2015
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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 2015

    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
  •  
    Michael 05-17-12
    Michael 05-17-12 Listener Since 2008
    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 Member Since 2015

    KD

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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
  •  
    PhreshMeet Greenville, SC, United States 03-26-12
    PhreshMeet Greenville, SC, United States 03-26-12 Member Since 2014
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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

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