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Publisher's Summary

From the author of The Power of One comes a new novel about Africa. The time is 1939. White South Africa is a deeply divided nation with many of the Afrikaner people fanatically opposed to the English. The world is also on the brink of war, and South Africa elects to fight for the Allied cause against Germany. Six-year-old Tom Fitzsaxby finds himself in The Boys Farm, an orphanage in a remote town in the high mountains, where the Afrikaners side fiercely with Hitler's Germany. Tom's English name proves sufficient for him to be ostracised, marking him as an outsider. And so begin some of life's tougher lessons for the small, lonely boy. Like the whitethorn, one of Africa's most enduring plants, Tom learns how to survive in the harsh climate of racial hatred. Then a terrible event sends him on a journey to ensure that justice is done. On the way, his most unexpected discovery is love.
©2005 Bryce Courtenay; (P)2005 Bolinda Publishing Pty. Ltd.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Touching account of a boy's struggles

Enjoyed every word once I adjusted to the African names. Heard of hardships I hadn't imagined.

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Gripping

Another Courtney classic. A story of great will, determination, courage, love and friendship. 4 out of 5.

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Another spectacular read and performance!!!!

Characters are so well developed, relationships endearing and historical portrayals are very impacting on the heart and soul. Thanks so much, Bryce and Humphrey!!

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Great writer and storyteller.

Bryce Courtney is a great storyteller and entertaining writer. His books could be up there with some of the "Greats" but he gets down into the details of the social gutter too much at times to appeal to a wider audience. A little more discretion on the social/human dark side would allow me to recommend this to a lot more people.

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  • Robyn
  • Snellville, GA, United States
  • 03-30-15

A little bit of a retread of the Power of One

Bryce Courtenay is a masterful storyteller, and there are great things within this novel, but it is a bit of a retread of the Power of One. Humphrey Bower's performance was very good, although he needs to work on his Irish accent. I'm not sure I would recommend this book over the power of one, but it is a good story of Justice.

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Fantastic!

Yet again, Bryce Courtenay writes an amazing, well written story. I enjoy the foundation of history henhanced by fiction. I highly recommend this book.

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Enjoyed

AN interesting insight into the history of the times in Africa. Makes us look at how hard life was for African people.

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Enjoyable as always!

Would you consider the audio edition of Whitethorn to be better than the print version?

Probably.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Tinker the dog.

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

Humphrey is a one man (and sometimes woman) cast. Incredibly smooth segues from one character to another.

If you could rename Whitethorn, what would you call it?

Survivor!

Any additional comments?

Perhaps lacking in some of the raw energy of his earlier books, but still a large and moving story.

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Clever boy triumphs in pre WW II South Africa

This was a good listen if you're a Courteney fan---and I became one with "The Power of One". If you listen to that one first, this one is not a sequel, but another effort along the same lines...entertaining information about SA during the time the author grew up there. An easy, presumably factual, history lesson...

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  • Paraglox
  • PEORIA, AZ, United States
  • 11-18-13

engrossing

Would you listen to Whitethorn again? Why?

Yes and I even started to, great story and awesome narration.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Favorite character was Tom and Mattress.

Which scene was your favorite?

shed a little tear at the very end, but my favorite part of the book was in the beginning setting the stage and scenery.

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

yes laughed, cried. The narration was awesome, so good it's been hard to find another audiobook I enjoy. the narrator did the voices of the different people wonders.

Any additional comments?

This was a unique book in the way it was written. As Tom the main character was telling it back to you, and the style was that it was like an oral story told back to you because he would say oh and I forgot to tell you this happened, or you were probably wondering why I knew this. So listening on audio is probably better then reading. It really puts you in the time and place the book took place in. Highly recommend.