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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)

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    2,928
  • 4 Stars
    1,283
  • 3 Stars
    397
  • 2 Stars
    143
  • 1 Stars
    139

Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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    2,860
  • 4 Stars
    647
  • 3 Stars
    166
  • 2 Stars
    49
  • 1 Stars
    57

Story

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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    2,370
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    913
  • 3 Stars
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  • 2 Stars
    114
  • 1 Stars
    96
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A wonderful story...

Didn't know anything about Australia [except for the wonderful description of the Aussie success in Why Nations Fail]. This book gave me a bunch more, in a very entertaining manner.

  • Overall
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Exception on the second read

Thanks Bryce and Humphrey! You two write and perform with exceptional talent! I am as drawn in by the characters and storyline as I was the first time reading!

  • Overall
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  • Story

Another great tale by Bryce Courtenay!

This is the 4th Courtenay book I've read, and I was not disappointed. Can't wait to start the next book in the series. Narration by Humphrey Bower was terrific!

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Wonderful story

Fantastic historical fiction with an all-time great antihero. A great story with profound characters that captures both the good and the bad in the people and world of Ikey Solomon.

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  • Story

Loved it more than I imagined I would!

Blew me away. A touching, lovely and beautiful story. Brilliantly narrated, with great cadence and voice inflexion.

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  • Story

Thrilling history

Easy to listen to , learned a little.. Finding a new series to go through

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Loved it!!!

It was perfect! Humphrey is amazing at reading the story. I couldn't wait to listen. 24 hours well spent.

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  • Story

Amazing

Would you listen to The Potato Factory again? Why?

No. There are too many others that I want to listen to!

What did you like best about this story?

Rich characters, beautifully descriptive setting!

What does Humphrey Bower bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Absolutely!

If you could take any character from The Potato Factory out to dinner, who would it be and why?

I would love to meet Hawk and Tommo.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Kyle
  • Vilas, NC, United States
  • 05-05-15

Great story

The audio equivalent of a "page turner" the story moves fast covering a lot of historical, cultural, and geographical content. I especially enjoyed the cameo appearance of Charles Dickens. Very entertaining.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Wonderful story, rich with historical detail.

Compelling setting and characters, and superlative narration make this story come alive. It was hard to put down and now that I'm done with the first volume, can't wait to start the next.