FitzSimons, Peter

  6 Reviews

On the 1629 maiden voyage by the Dutch East India Company's flagship 'Batavia', from Amsterdam to Jakarta (Batavia), disaster strikes. Not only is the ship wrecked on the Abrolhos Islands off the west coast of Australia, but worse is to follow: murder, mayhem and depravity.

A brutal but fascinating account, this story recreates this dramatic and horrific episode in Australia's past in a gripping blend of fact and fiction. Not for the faint hearted. [Big read, larger font]

Comments from Groups

Great book. All of us loved it. We found it very informative. [Nelson 014]

Not read by all members and others struggled to read it. A few read it fully and enjoyed it. Historical facts very interesting. [Papamoa 001]

While the group have very diverse views on the merits of this book, most appreciated the historical aspect. The book stimulated very vigorous and good discussion on a wide range of issues and topics. [Matamata 003]

Great discussion. 2-3 members hated it, but most felt it was so interesting and well researched. [Waipukurau 001]

Very much a 'Lord of the Flies' for older males! Some found the graphic descriptions of the vioence too much. An amazing tale of survival but also disturbing in what it suggests about how people can behave when social controls are lacking. [Wellington 178]

People found it very interesting but a bit violent. Most were glad they had read it. [Dunedin 033]

An amazing story of savagery, heroism and bravery. Historically accurate account of how evil can flourish and how heroism and goodness wins the day. A challenging read. [Doubtless Bay 002]



NELS 085
Good story. Language a bit over the top at times. Could have done with more editing.
We read this during Covid-19 lockdown, April 2020. Some found the subject matter too awful for such a time. Others, who read it, were amazed we had never heard this story before and thought it made Covid lockdown look like a walk in the park. It is gruesome in parts but an absorbing account of the lives and times. The style of writing is easy to follow. A few of us have read others of Peter FitzSimons' books and they are all well-researched and brilliant.
CHCH 317
Two of our group read the whole story and felt it was a very well researched and written account. The gruesome nature of the story seemed to put the rest of the group off. Peter Fitzsimmons has a chatty, personable style of writing which appealed to the two who read the story.
TAUP 004
Appalling subject matter , but very well-written - novelistic. An important story and a good description of ship life and the strength to survive. We found the murders a bit gratuitous. Fascinating account.
Most of us found this book historically interesting. We were surprised that only 1 of us had heard of the Batavia previously. Some members were distressed by the detailed violence and found these parts difficult to read. Although, in general, the author's style was very readable.
WAIK 004
Most found it a great read. The historical side was fascinating. A couple found it too horrific to finish.