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  • The Potato Factory

  • The Australian Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Bryce Courtenay
  • Narrated by: Humphrey Bower
  • Length: 23 hrs and 22 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (917 ratings)

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The Potato Factory cover art

The Potato Factory

By: Bryce Courtenay
Narrated by: Humphrey Bower
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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.

©2013 Christine Courtenay (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

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)

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What listeners say about The Potato Factory

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Exceptional Narrator

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

This is the first review I've ever written and I really need to call out what an amazing Narrator Humphrey Bower is. He is truly gifted, his ability to grasp all the accents throughout all 3 books made this great story exceptional.

What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

He is BRILLIANT.

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9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great Book ever!

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

great,interesting and heartbreaking

What did you like best about this story?

It has a great and a very wonderful main character. The strength of the book is in its characters. The twist of the story makes me so excited that i want to finish listening to it right away.

I'm not a fan of historical fiction books but when i listened to this book i admire historical books, i admire the writer who is so genius, even the narrator of the book is so great.

I could not wait to read more of the story of its characters.

I would heartily recommend this book to anyone, particularly someone traveling to Australia.

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7 people found this helpful

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A great story teller

A great ‘Dickensian’ story teller and likeable narrator sadly without quite the knowledge of British accents he thinks he has (Australian). Could have been improved to a triple 5 with a native English multi-dialect narrator like Anton Lesser and quite a few others. BC is a remarkable novelist of yesteryear in a genre which nowadays seem to be dominated only by women. I suppose nothing wrong with that but nice to know the men can sometimes keep their end up to a similar standard. After this and the ‘The Power of One’ I will have to read the rest. Strange that I had never heard of him till an elderly friend brought thus author to me. A wonderful discovery. An Author who loves creating great characters and takes into account the real history of the period he is writing about.

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6 people found this helpful

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Excellent

Made me feel like I was back in the 18th century. Totally enthralled could not stop listing, couldn't wait to get to the next in the series. Great story using history 👍

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Grand.

What a wonderful tale.

Mr Courtney says in the beginning of this book that it was intended as a gift to the Australia he loved so much, and it absolutely felt like that to read it. Somehow it unwrapped more layers than I knew existed to this mysterious land and its curious people.

"The Potato Factory" at once transcended the flacid history lessons I pretended to listen to as a child and young adult, to kindle the appropriate wonder that could have and should have existed my whole life.

It delicately and brutally starts where 'we' started, in the atrocious class system and its accompanying abject poverty and degradation of early 19th century England, which is a blistering eye-opener of shocking quality. We eventually 'migrate' to the ancient Van Diemen's Land, where the modern Australia pulls itself into being.

The characters in the book (many of which are from real history) carry the tale and tenet of the story magnificently and a yearning, fear, elation, guilt, sadness and shame are gifted to the sensitive reader... especially the happy-go-lucky present day Australian.

The narrator, Humphrey Bower, is superb and his rendering of the main character, Ike Solomon, is stupendously good. I found myself marvelling at his imagination of the character. The accent and lilt of his voice is truly inspired.

Thank you so much!

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4 people found this helpful

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An Outstanding Book.

As usual Bryce Courtenay has excelled yet again. What a magnificent book! Humphrey Bower is a fantastic narrator.

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4 people found this helpful

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Potato Factory

After attempting to read this book on many occasions (I have read every other book but this series) and not getting "into it" I decided to download the audible version. WOW!!!
What a great adventure. Can't wait to get my ears around Tommo & Hawk, next book of the series.

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Very enjoyable.

Humphrey Bower is simply fantastic, he makes a book come alive.
The story is enjoyable with enough fact to make it interesting.
Bryce's hate for the Born Again Christian religion is ever present, it's getting a little old and I am an atheist.
Still worth listening to, as are the following 2 books.

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3 people found this helpful

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Excellent

A very well written book. I fell in love with the characters and the writing is brilliantly descriptive.

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Great listen

Lovely narration of one of the best works of historical fiction. Bryce Courtenay is a great author, may he rest in peace.

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In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.