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Publisher's Summary

The story begins in 1629, when the pride of the Dutch East India Company, the Batavia, is on its maiden voyage en route from Amsterdam to the Dutch East Indies, laden down with the greatest treasure to leave Holland. The magnificent ship is already boiling over with a mutinous plot that is just about to break into the open when, just off the coast of Western Australia, it strikes an unseen reef in the middle of the night. While Commandeur Francisco Pelsaert decides to take the longboat across 2,000 miles of open sea for help, his second-in-command Jeronimus Cornelisz takes over, quickly deciding that 250 people on a small island is unwieldy for the small number of supplies they have.
Quietly, he puts forward a plan to 40 odd mutineers how they could save themselves, kill most of the rest, and spare only a half-dozen or so women, including his personal fancy, Lucretia Jansz - one of the noted beauties of Holland - to service their sexual needs. A reign of terror begins, countered only by a previously anonymous soldier, Wiebbe Hayes, who begins to gather to him those are prepared to do what it takes to survive....
©2011 Peter FitzSimons (P)2011 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Hugh on 03-04-13

Great Australian History

What did you love best about Batavia?

It was unbelievable! However it was true! This story just proves that fact is stranger than fiction.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The Dutch soldier who rescued many of the passengers and crew from the depravity of Jeronemus and the mutineers.

Which scene was your favorite?

The description of the executions of the mutineers including the summing up in the epilogue. Justice was crude and rough in the 17th century!

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

I was amazed by the events that took place.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Todd on 02-07-13

Disaster, Mutiny, Murder, Survival

After being recommended this book by my father-in-law, I was intrigued to hear this stunning tale of disaster. Peter Fitzsimons has crafted a terrific retelling of the ill-fated voyage of the Dutch East India Company's flagship vessel. Eloquently narrated by Aspel, the story seems so fantastic that one cannot deny that truth IS stranger than fiction.

From the telling of the VOC's founding, to the Batavia's journey and subsequent shipwrecking on the Abrolhos Islands, to the murderous tyrannical short-lived island regime of Jeronimus Cornelisz, this tale is both amazing and horrifying.

Every Australian should read of this disaster that took place off the coast of Western Australia. It paints a chilling portrait of just how far power can corrupt those who have naught to fear from the outside world. Murderous executions, sexual slavery, survival and heroism: these are all present in this adventure that many have forgotten or are not even aware of.

Although told in present tense and actual dialogue spoken could be contested, Fitzsimons states this at the beginning of the book. It makes for a vivid story that places the reader there at every chilling moment.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By PTW on 12-12-17


Fantastic historical story, ruined by the author. The author tries to add drama through the characters dialogue, but ends up sounding fake and unbelievable. .

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3 out of 5 stars
By Thomas on 07-07-14

Good read (listen) but could be better

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

It was an enjoyable listen overall, and I don't regret having purchased this audiobook. It's a great story which is worth getting to know

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The best aspect is the historical nature of the story - it transports you back to a time of exploration when life was a lot harder and there were new lands to be discovered but it's also very gritty. The style of retelling a historical even as a novel is always (well maybe not always, but mostly) enjoyable. The least interesting is that it doesn't go quite far enough in the novel-isation of the story - it's a bit of a half-way house, not quite history, not quite story.

What three words best describe Richard Aspel’s performance?


If this book were a film would you go see it?


Any additional comments?

The insistence of throwing in Dutch words when not necessary is a little annoying - it doesn't really add anything.

Overall a great story but the retelling (both by the author and reader) are good but not great.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By Karen on 02-25-16

Batavia - the worst voice ever

Good story bit long winded but the guy who read it had the most grating voice and it was very difficult to listen to, frankly I couldn't wait to finish so I could get away from that voice. Not worth the credit I spent on it - oh well😞

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Lauren on 07-17-16

incredible story!

This is an incredible story, and a little piece of history that reads exactly as a high drama, thriller fiction. While there are moments when the telling of the particulars is a little repetetive, and the dramatic narrating style is a little overbearing in parts, but nevertheless, it's a story worth hearing.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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