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)
The character development by the writer. As nasty as some of them were, I felt I knew them personally.
What happened to Mary Abacus immediately after getting a job.
Ikey. He was a bad apple, but sometimes he stumbled onto some undeniable truths.
I have just discovered Bryce Courtenay and will isten to every one of his books, especially with the knowledge that Humphrey Bower narrates them all. What a combination of talent!!
This is a masterpiece that seems to capture the essence of "the criminal class" in England and the classist ways of the ruling English in Tasmania. The colour of the characters is quite fantastic. The listener is trasnported - not only into another world - but into their grimy lives that strangely enough - are quite charming. I loved every second of the listen.
This is the first Humphrey Bower performance that I'm aware of - I will seek him out in future - Brilliant!
Mother of 3, grandmother of 6, retired nurse and substance abuse counselor. Thrilled to have the time to read or listen to books again.
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.
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.
Avid reader... oops, LISTENER
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...
The narrator's aussie accent, and wonderful renditions of the characters!
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.
ALLOF IT! in all three books of the trilogy.
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
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!
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.
I don't have a favorite character. All of the characters were fully developed and were all critical to the story.
I can't identify a specific scene, I loved the entire book.
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!
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This one is going in the classics list!
I loved Ikey, performed & written so clear I could picture his treacherous visage everytime he spoke.
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
Ikey, so he could teach me his tricks!
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
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.
Iccy is definitely a standout character. He's so Dickensian, a dichotomy of greed and compassion.
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.
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.
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