Top positive review
15 people found this helpful
on 19 February 2012
The Potato Factory is one of those books you just can't put down, from beginning through to end it had me under it's spell and its a rare book these days that can do that. Focusing on 19th century criminal classes in London, it takes you into a world of sin and debauchery with exquisite detail that can shock, and at times can make you laugh out loud at how their lives were spent interwoven with, and spent avoiding the equally corrupt upper classes. You are then taken to their new lives in the penal colony of Van Diemens Land (Tasmania) and see how the characters pasts stubbornly refuse to be kept back in London but follow them, hindering them in their path to make a fully fresh start.
The characters Bryce Courtney introduces to us are at once horrible, funny, and recognisable, in particular the loveable rogue Ikey Soloman, the ginormous prostitute Sperm Whale Sally, Mary Abacus and assorted other ragamuffins and down and outs. You find yourself transported into their lives, viewing their struggles to cope in a society that very much forgot about the little people, those that hadn't quite made it on to the ladder of respectability in Victorian London. The authors meticulous descriptions of London and the Tasmanian penal colony serves to unravel a new energy in the book, and as the reader senses that it, the book, will undoubtedly end soon due to their arrival in Van Diemens Land, then a wave of satisfaction follows as you remember that this in fact the first part of a trilogy. The work has proved so popular it has been televised in the authors native land Australia.
I can not wait for the TV series to come to the UK, whenever that may be, so I will certainly be buying the other two books as I have become irretrievably involved with Hawk and Mary and Tommo and the Prince of Fences himself, Ikey Soloman. A masterpiece, and a must have for any one who likes thoughtful, humorous, touching historic novels and wants to try something different. This is well worth your money