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)
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.
This is the first audiobook that I've listen to that is truly performed, not read.
Every scene with Ikey Solomon.
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.
If you love Dickens and always kind of wonder what he'd make of Australia, here you go.
I'm half way through the second book now and loving the entire series.
I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!
I enjoyed this book very much. It has a good story and wonderful characters. It moves at a good pace and there were never any dull moments. This is the second book I've listened to read by Humphrey Bower. He does voices so good that between the writer's description and Bower's voice I felt I could see them clear as day. Great book!
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