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Batavia's Graveyard

Mike Dash

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Prose: non-fiction, History, General & world history

The true story of the mad heretic who led history's bloodiest mutiny - 'An adult version of LORD OF THE FLIES that is, moreover, entirely true' Evening Standard

When the Dutch East Indian Batavia struck an uncharted reef off the new continent of Australia on her maiden voyage in 1629, 332 men, women and children were on board. While some headed off in a lifeboat to seek help, 250 of the survivors ended up on a tiny coral island less than half a mile long. A band of mutineers, whose motives were almost beyond comprehension, then started on a cold-blooded killing spree, leaving less than 80 people alive when the rescue boat arrived 3 months later

Batavia's Graveyard tells this strange story as a gripping narrative structured around 3 strong principal characters: Francisco Pelsaert, the cultivated but weak-willed captain; Jeronimus Cornelisz, a sinister apothecary with a terrifying personal philosophy influenced by Rosicrucianism who set himself up as the ruler of the island; and Wiebbe Hayes, the only survivor with the courage to fight Jeronimus' band. The background to these events, including the story of the Dutch East India Company, and the discovery of Australia, is richly and vividly drawn.

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Mike Dash

Mike Dash read history at Cambridge and received his PhD from the University of London. Having worked for the Fortean Times and The Ministry of Sound, and authored several books including the bestselling Tulipomania, he is now setting up his own company.

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