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Publisher's Summary

The four fires in this story are passion, religion, warfare, and fire itself. While there are many more fires that drive the human spirit, love being perhaps the brightest flame of all, it is these four that have moulded us most as Australian people. The four fires give us our sense of place and, for better or for worse, shape our national character.
©2013 Christine Courtenay; 2010 Bryce Courtenay (P)2008 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
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Critic Reviews

"Humphrey Bower, speaking as Mole, delivers every possible nuance and emotion of his character’s story, and shows a startling aptitude for other dialects as well. Close family friends and enemies include surviving Polish Jews, an East Indian healer, an Irish Catholic priest, Japanese prison camp soldiers, and many others. All of them, young and old, male and female, spring to vivid life in Bower’s versatile voice. Narrative passages and dialogue elicit tears and laughter by turns, without a minute of boredom in the 30-hour production." ( AudioFile magazine)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Robert on 01-07-11

Hit in the solar plexus

I try to rate a book not so much on how much I liked it but on how well I thought it was written. This becomes even more compounded/confounded by the fact that I mostly listen to audiobooks and there is the matter of this person called the narrator. I cannot say this too strongly, I believe a narrator can make or break a book. So, for my reviews, there is this other dimension to consider.

I believe that Four Fires by Bryce Courtenay is a phenomenal book all by itself. It is not, however, a book I probably would have gravitated to nor enjoyed as much in paper form. I picked this selection based on reviews and particularly the reference in these reviews to the narrator Humphrey Bower. I was not disappointed. To call Mr. Bower a narrator does not do him justice. An actor? Okay, that works. He flawlessly plays the roles of so many of the characters in this book. And that would make him an artist. That's good too. But, like the author himself, Bower is a Storyteller extraordinaire and for me, that was the magic of this selection.

I was blown away by every aspect of this book in a "good way" until Mole's dad takes him into the bush and tells him of his time in the war. For me, at that moment, the book became something completely different. It was like it was not even the same book written by the same person. And, while I concluded that the descriptions of all the brutality of war could be taken in context, it might not be for everyone. These events are not pure fiction, but, we are told, are descriptions based on historical facts and perhaps we should not avoid nor look away from such things if we are to diminish their chance of reoccurrence in the future.

So, for the record, I give the Four Fires:

5 stars for personal enjoyment
5 stars for general skill in writing
5 stars for storytelling, acting and narration.

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82 of 84 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Dave on 08-26-10

His very best!

I thoroughly enjoyed the story, the intriguing characters, the humor, just everything about this book. Nothing else can be added about Humphrey Bower - he brings the pages to life. I could listen to Humphrey Bower read a telephone book.
I have read most of Bruce Courtenay and I agree with other reviewers, this is his best.I didn't want the story to end. Another feature I enjoy about Bruce Courtenay is that he teaches the reader - I learned a lot about forest fires. Fascinating.
This is a "must listen" book. Why Audible didn't give it front page headlines is mystifying.

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22 of 22 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Elizabeth on 10-30-11

brothers and mothers

The narration of this book enhances it no end - and the characters within it are all believable. Its the story of a family who are desperately trying to keep everything together, about love and loyalty within it, and about achieving ambition when your immediate society doesn't really give you the chance. Its not the best book by this author, but there are characters like Nancy the mother and matriarch - who although not the epitome of motherhood, you still end up hoping and wishing for. There are some laborious bits, but for anyone who likes a family saga then its great.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Joykie Burger on 12-10-12

Another triumph

Once again Bryce Courtenay and Humphrey Bower enthralled me to such an extent that I just could not put this book down (so to speak). So much attention to detail. I went through the whole gamut of emotions for this unfortunate family. The Master storyteller does it again .......

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Anonymous User on 02-09-18


best book l have ever read 10/10 amasing story line lt even made me cry

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5 out of 5 stars
By ReaderFromOz on 01-03-18

Loved it

If you could sum up Four Fires in three words, what would they be?

Family, warts and all

What did you like best about this story?

I love that the story was from the point of view of a 12 year old boy, wise yet innocent.

Have you listened to any of Humphrey Bower’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Humphrey Bower is superb, I would listen to anything he narrated. His range of voices is amazing

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

A wonderful feel good book.

Any additional comments?

Humphrey Bower and Bryce Courtenay are a match made in heaven!

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