from the author of The Opera House, Ned Kelly and Mutiny on the Bounty
'... a book that can't be put down.' Toowoomba Chronicle
'[FitzSimons] knows how to make words race like eager sled dogs on their homeward run.' Newcastle Herald
The Shipwreck of the Batavia combines in just the one tale the birth of the world's first corporation, the brutality of colonisation, the battle of good vs evil, the derring-do of sea-faring adventure, mutiny, ship-wreck, love, lust, blood-lust, petty fascist dictatorship, criminality, a reign of terror, murders most foul, sexual slavery, natural nobility, survival, retribution, rescue, first contact with native peoples and so much more.
Described by author Peter FitzSimons as "a true Adults Only version of Lord of the Flies, meeting Nightmare on Elm Street," the story is set 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 long-boat across 2000 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 . . . hoping against hope that the Commandeur will soon be coming back to them with the rescue yacht.
It all happened, long ago, and it is for a very good reason that Peter FitzSimons has long maintained that this is "far and away the greatest story in Australia's history, if not the world's." FitzSimons unique writing style has made him the country's best-selling non-fiction writer over the last ten years, and he is perfect man to make this bloody, chilling, stunning tale come alive.
PRAISE FOR PETER FITZSIMONS
'Peter FitzSimons is an Australian phenomenon.' The Canberra Times
'Meticulously researched, well-written and incredibly presented.' Weekend Notes
If we fail to learn from history then we will almost certainly fall into the same errors of the past. Our society is increasingly 'me' centered. Batavia graphically shows where we may be headed if we continue on our current path.
It might just me at the moment but
Peters style of writing has me gripped. Accounts of history mixed with some descriptive license adds an intrigue and excitement to the facts.
I found the book easy to put down and pick up when I so desired and sometimes, it couldn't be put down till the early hours of the morning.
The book was recommended by a colleague who travels as much as I do and he was not wrong. It was a great read. Definitely reading more Peter Fitzsimons
Could barely put this book down.
Peter Fitzsimmons brings this incredible story to life and it is an all engrossing experience. Some poetic license is used to ensure this story reads like a novel, but as hard as it is to believe, these events actually happened and result in one of the most amazing stories you'll ever read.