Regular price: $34.97

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

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
    2,912
  • 4 Stars
    1,282
  • 3 Stars
    397
  • 2 Stars
    142
  • 1 Stars
    138

Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    2,844
  • 4 Stars
    645
  • 3 Stars
    166
  • 2 Stars
    49
  • 1 Stars
    57

Story

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    2,354
  • 4 Stars
    912
  • 3 Stars
    288
  • 2 Stars
    113
  • 1 Stars
    96
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Characters Came Fully Alive & Became Part Of Me

You need to know that I do very few reviews. I am no writer & despite the hundreds of books I read, I forget details quickly. Here goes.... My heart ached for these people & the characters part of me as I read all of the rich details. My reason for withholding from giving 5 stars is because my mind wandered toward the end. I felt like the last chapter was dragging, or perhaps the author didn't want the book to end. It could have been wrapped up without adding new situations at the end.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Nancy F.
  • Sierra Foothills, Northern CA
  • 02-22-13

Dickens + McMurtry = Outstanding Entertainment

From the very beginning I fell in love with the quirky characters. Set in early 19th century London it was easy to pick up on the Dickens-like portrayals. At the point when one of the street urchins (one of the smartest students in the Light Fingers Academy) was questioned outside a London courthouse by a reporter who identified himself as Charles Dickens (his only appearance in the book) I became intrigued with the connections. The urchin gave the reporter a made-up name of "Artful Dodger". It was a pretty quick step to realize from there that one of the main characters, Ikey Solomon, was a real life London thief. Dickens used Solomon as his model for Fagin in Oliver Twist -- where the Artful Dodger also appears.

Yes, it's a long book. But I never once wanted it to speed up. The story is action-packed with fascinating characters and much intrigue. Since it's a triology, do not expect all story lines to be resolved. There is much more grist here for future mills!

This is most definitely fiction but based on real history: places, characters and legal systems. It moves from London to the Australian penal colony where it picks up a very McMurtry-like tone (think Lonesome Dove). This book has given me the gift of a new favorite author and a new wonderful narrator. I bought it based on the recommendation of a reviewer I follow. What a tremendous discovery. And, thank you, fellow reviewer.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • heART
  • seneca sc
  • 02-20-13

IT JUST DOESN'T GET BETTER

What made the experience of listening to The Potato Factory the most enjoyable?

THE WRITING IS MASTERFUL

Who was your favorite character and why?

SINCE I CAN ONLY NAME ONE, IT WOULD BE MARY. SHE EMBODIES ALL THAT IS GOOD AND STRONG IN THE NAME OF PERSEVERANCE.

Which scene was your favorite?

THE ARM WRESTLING SCENE BUT IN ALL HONESTY, EVERY SCENE IS MIND BLOWING.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

A SAGA OF CONSEQUENCE

Any additional comments?

I READ THE POWER OF ONE 15 YEARS AGO AND THOUGHT IT MOST BRILLIANT. SO PLEASED TO REDISCOVER BRYCE CORTENAY. I HAVE LEARNED THAT HE HAS WRITTEN 21 BOOKS AND HOPE TO READ THEM ALL. THE POTATO FACTORY IS AT THE VERY TOP OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITE BOOKS. RIVETING. THE CHARACTERS BREATHE. THE STORY IS EXTRAORDINARY. COULD NOT LOVE IT MORE.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Martin
  • Palm Desert, CA, United States
  • 02-20-13

An interesting story of Australian history

Would you listen to The Potato Factory again? Why?

Not sure if I would listen to the story again but I could recommend it as a good book in your library. I certainly will buy the author's next book in this series.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Mary Abacus was my favorite character because she represents a strong willed survivor who was able to adapted to her environment. A true pioneer of Australian's history.She was a woman who paved the way for others.

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

The story is interesting because it takes the characters and their stories from England to Australia. The author sets the stage for the next generations to carry on in the making of Australian's history. At first is was difficult to understand the narrator's Australian accent<br/>but that issue disappeared.

If you could rename The Potato Factory, what would you call it?

I would not rename the book. The Potato Factory fits the story.

Any additional comments?

This book was a fast listen because you don't want to put in down.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Sande
  • Goodyear, AZ, United States
  • 02-19-13

Excellent book and Humphrey Bower is incredible!

Would you listen to The Potato Factory again? Why?

yes, very good<br/>

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

when Mary found her son in the woods

Which character – as performed by Humphrey Bower – was your favorite?

Eickey

Any additional comments?

I really enjoyed this audible book.<br/>

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great Australian Book

Would you consider the audio edition of The Potato Factory to be better than the print version?

I never saw the print version, but the narration is fantastic.

What other book might you compare The Potato Factory to and why?

It was a very pleasant reading and I look forward to completing the series.

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

His voice adds life to the characters.

If you could rename The Potato Factory, what would you call it?

Mary Abacus

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Complex, yet beautifully easy listening!

If you could sum up The Potato Factory in three words, what would they be?

addicting, real, gritty

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

Mary's journey to Van Demon's land by boat

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

Accents for each of the characters. Humphrey's melodious voice made the story weave together in a lovely way.

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

Both! It made me cringe at times, but that's what makes it real.

Any additional comments?

Excellent listen! Highly recommended. what a great intro to Audible.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

An Intriquing Generational Saga

Would you listen to The Potato Factory again? Why?

Yes I would. It is full of memorable characters interwoven into interesting historical scenes.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Mary Abacus is my favorite. She is smart, kind and overcomes so many terrible obstacles while still hanging onto her incredible humanity.

What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

He was amazing with all the different voices and accents. A real treat to listen to. Whether male, female, Irish or Australian; he could do every character.

Who was the most memorable character of The Potato Factory and why?

Ikey Solomon is very memorable. As his life twists and turns you never know what he is going to get up to next.

Any additional comments?

Looking forward to Book 2 of this Trilogy.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Andy
  • Gulgong 2850
  • 02-12-13

Brilliant

Would you consider the audio edition of The Potato Factory to be better than the print version?

Brilliant story......love Bryce Courtney's story telling is second to none for me. Brilliant narration......Humphrey Bower has the best voices for every character. I've been a member for 3 yrs & the narration of this wonderful story is at the top of my list.<br/>I Can't wait to listen to books 2 & 3.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Bryce Courtenay, how are you so awesome?!?!

I must live under a moon rock or something. I had never, ever heard of these books until Audible suggested that I might like them. Thank you Audible! I'm in love!

This book was like The Lord of the Rings, Les Miserables, The Once and Future King and Forrest Gump all rolled into one. After 23 hours and 27 minutes of listening, I found myself very upset that it was over. How is that even possible? I listened to this book in less than a week while working a full time job. Oops. Apologies to my family for ignoring you all.

The narrator, Humphrey Bower, couldn't be any better. Every character has a distinct and believable voice.

There is only one thing that bothered me. Unbelievably graphic sex! WOW! I don't read romance novels, but I'm far from a prude. I'm a bartender, for *&%#?#s sake. I've heard dirty stuff before. And, still, this book made me swirmy and red faced. Then I remembered what it said about Courtenay beginning his writing career when he was 55, and I thought, dirty old man! TeeHee...

1 of 2 people found this review helpful