• by Peter FitzSimons
  • Narrated by Richard Aspel
  • 17 hrs and 0 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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....


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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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- Hugh

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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- Todd

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-13-2012
  • Publisher: Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd