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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

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Performance
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  •  
    Nancy Love 02-01-08
    Nancy Love 02-01-08 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    "The Best"

    Of the zillions of books I have listened to this one is by far my favorite. The narrator is great. I loved reading about the real Ikey Soloman after I finished the book. I loved it so much I am ordering the other two books in the trilogy.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret San Francisco, CA USA 05-26-12
    Margaret San Francisco, CA USA 05-26-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    913
    ratings
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    101
    76
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    142
    11
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    Performance
    Story
    "Modern Day Dickens"
    What did you love best about The Potato Factory?

    This is the first audiobook that I've listen to that is truly performed, not read.


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

    Every scene with Ikey Solomon.


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

    He is by far the best narrator I've heard in 200 books. The first I can say rises above the description "reader" to thespian.


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

    If you love Dickens and always kind of wonder what he'd make of Australia, here you go.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm half way through the second book now and loving the entire series.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Sparks, NY, United States 09-01-12
    John Sparks, NY, United States 09-01-12 Member Since 2011

    NV, not NY

    HELPFUL VOTES
    134
    ratings
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    68
    43
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    Performance
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    "Bruce and Humphrey - a listener's dream"

    In the course of a 23.5 hour book there are bound to be a few slow moments, but what's so surprising is that are so few. Besides the fact that Courtenay can write an action scene like nobody's business, I love the education his novels impart. He also leads you into the deepest pits of despair before springing back to the crests of elation with the skill of a master. No matter how long Courtenay's books, they are never long enough. You're in for a treat with this one as there are two more books in this amazing tale.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B.J. Minneapolis, MN, United States 07-05-12
    B.J. Minneapolis, MN, United States 07-05-12 Member Since 2010

    I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    164
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    "One fabulous series"

    I was too snooty to read these books for a long time. Then I started to listen to them and fell into the spell. Yes, there are better books. But, for entertainment, great characters and a world-class narrator, these are at the top of the heap. And, as a terrific bonus, I always learn something from this author. I just listened to this series over a two-week period and was completely swept into the world of Mary Abacus. Terrific summer books!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sima 03-20-11
    Sima 03-20-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not Courtenay's Best"

    I've listened to many of Bryce Courtenay's books, and this is not one of his better ones. The ending was especially disappointing. It almost seemed as if he got tired of writing and just forced the ending.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brodie Mornington, Australia 05-18-10
    Brodie Mornington, Australia 05-18-10 Member Since 2009

    An unashamed Audiophile who has his own studio and business called iZENEARS which brings Australian travel and history to life for locals and visitor's alike.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "You really must listen to this book!"

    Why I have ignored Bryce's work for so many years I can only put down to some vague sense of snobbery after all, how could an 'Ad Man&' actually write. The Potato Factory was my first choice for I have a deep, albeit new, connection with Tasmania and the Power of One with all its associated hoopla wasn't going to do it for this cynic.
    Well, I bow to a master story teller and apologies for making assumptions, at least in this book, that were totally unjustified. The astringency, pain, suffering, smells, colours, sounds were so well described that even someone devoid of imagination could have all their senses triggered through Humphrey Bower's great gift of sound acting.
    I urge you to listen for if you have an interest in historical tales this one cannot disappoint you in any shape or form.
    That being said, I am not sure who the sound producer was but listen closely and from time to time as your mind, ears and sense of smell dwell far away in the streets of early London or in the lowlands of Mt Wellington in Tasmania, you will hear that unique ping of someone either turning on or off a computer. Very grounding maybe but an unnecessary distraction; as audios interuptus, it rather spoiled the moment.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Fairview, TN, USA 03-06-10
    Steve Fairview, TN, USA 03-06-10 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Potato Factory"

    Wow. Quite the story. I'm sure it would have been a brutal era in which to live. (I'm glad I didn't.) Some bits very graphic but they only convey the harshness of those times. Interesting story. Narrator does an excellent job with male and female voices. Even a little singing involved. REALLY enjoyed it. Now going on to book #2 in the series.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Russell D. Hall Prince Albert Sk 12-10-09
    Russell D. Hall Prince Albert Sk 12-10-09 Listener Since 2009

    Rusty61

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Incredable literature"

    Great story honesty, survival and triumph of wonderful people. In the true spirit of love and respect it tells of the greatness and the darkness in much of our English and Jewish ancestry. Love the work of both the author and the narrator.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Samford, Australia 06-20-08
    Peter Samford, Australia 06-20-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Superb!!"

    This is my very first download so I agonised over the selection. Boy, did I ever get it right. Humphrey Bower is superb, characterising the voices, switching into different accents and styles so convincingly that the characters come vividly to life. The story is enthralling, more so for the wonderful descriptions of the daily life and custom of the period. A great listen!!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa chicago, IL, USA 06-01-08
    Lisa chicago, IL, USA 06-01-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great story"

    fascinating story with a narrator that is amazing. couldn't stop listening.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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