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The Company by Arabella Edge
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The Company (2001)

by Arabella Edge

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We know who did it. This is a book that compensates for that hurdle by depth of research into one of the big Sea-faring disaster stories. The wreck of the Dutch East India Company's ship "Batavia". The tale is much on a par with Nordoff and Hall's "Pitcairn's Island". Have a good time! ( )
  DinadansFriend | Feb 20, 2014 |
Fascinating story of the wreck of the Batavia and the "Lord of the Flies" type events which ensued. I have seen the remains of the Batavia and some of the items salvaged and have always been interested in the story of treachery and murder which followed after the ship foundered off the coast of Western Australia in 1629. It is amazing that one man was able to exert his will so totally over what were originally more 200 survivors. This book casts a light on the dark shadows of the soul - the view is not pleasant. ( )
  PennyAnne | Apr 14, 2011 |
On to another brutal story...The Company: Portrait of a Murder was depressing. It is sort of a like a coed version of Lord of the Flies told from the perspective of a psychopath. Based on a true story, The Companytells the tale of the 1629 wreck of the Batavia off the coast of Australia. The psychopath uses the wreck as an opportunity to rape, murder etc. in the name of controlling circumstances until they have been rescued. It is an ok read, great for nautical vocabulary building. There's something simply inarticulable that made me disklike this novel.

Maybe I felt that it was too heavyhanded in some places and too light in others? I can't think of one memorable sentence in the whole entire book, but I can think of scenes that haunt me. It's definitely a book I will hide from children (if I had any) until they were, oh I don't know? Married. It was, admittedly, well-written. If the author tackled a slightly less violent tale, then I might take a look at her other works. ( )
  Voracious_Reader | Jun 6, 2010 |
25/06/07-28/06/07

The year is 1628: the place Amsterdam as the Dutch East India Company Flagship the Batavia leaves with a hold crammed with gold and silver for the Company’s new empire – Batavia. On board is the self-taught ‘apothecary’ Jeronimus Cornelisz bearing his forged papers, phials, powders, potions and poisons.

Schooled in the black arts by his mentor, the necromancer Torrentius, the 30-year-old Jeronimus believes himself invincible. He is the epitome of evil – Torrentius’ promise is fulfilled ‘I will make you an object of terror’ … ‘You will not exist. People will look for you and never find you again’. So begins the true tale of The Company.

Wrecked on a reef off the western coast of Australia survivors of the Batavia thanked God they were alive: that was until Jeronimus wrested total control of the colony. With the help of his appointed ‘council’ of aristocratic thugs he began his reign of terror. And so - ‘Soaked with the blood of the innocent and the wicked, The Company plunges, with the weight of history, deep into the heart of darkness’.

This is a fearsome and fearful book, the suspense of which made me desperate to turn to the last page to discover what became of Jeronimus, his acolytes and the unfortunate castaways. Temptation resisted I was held right to the last paragraph. All in all an exceptional and riveting read. ( )
  eas | Jul 2, 2007 |
I bought this book back in 2001 when I had read an article about it. The article said that the story had a real historic background, so I was expecting something like the wreck of the Titanic. Now that I have finally read it (after having it on my shelf for several years), I am truly shocked to learn that not only the wreck of the Batavia really occurred, but also the story of the book's main character is true: a mean psychopath who led history's bloodiest mutiny. After the Batavia has run aground, most of the passengers manage to reach a nearby island ... they had better drowned with the ship though, for that psychopath starts killing and raping them in the most horrible ways, even children and pregnant women aren't spared.
To make things even more appalling the book is written in present tense and in the first-person narrative which gives you a glimpse into this weirdo's mind. At times I had to put the book down as it was just too cruel to go on reading. I finished it, however, and am still in shock. ( )
  Manuelita | Jun 29, 2007 |
In the mid-1600s, the Dutch East India Company sponsored a fleet of merchant ships sailing for the Dutch colonies (today's Indonesia). The fleet's flagship, the Batavia, was carrying "precious artifacts to trade with plump sultans of Mogul courts" when it struck a reef. The narrator of this fictionalized version of the well-known story is Jeronimus Cornelisz, a 30-year-old apothecary forced to flee Amsterdam after discovery of his participation in "secret pagan rites." After the passengers are offloaded to a barren island, the Commandeur (the company's chief representative) and the skipper sail off in the one usable lifeboat to seek rescue. In their absence, Cornelisz, who believes himself fated to "receive fortunes and be elected an emperor among men," and whose hysterical inability to leave the foundering ship until several days have elapsed is mistaken for chivalry, becomes leader. Before long, he exploits the survivors' trust and establishes a reign of terror. A mixture of classic sea-adventure yarn and grisly thriller. ( )
  Jawin | Dec 30, 2006 |
One of the most brutal books I've ever read. The actions of the main character are horrifying, an effect enhanced by the fact that this book is based on actual events. Still, very well written and recommended to those with a stomach for it. ( )
  bookishbunny | May 16, 2006 |
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