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Batavia cover art

Batavia

By: Peter FitzSimons
Narrated by: Richard Aspel
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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....

©2011 Peter FitzSimons (P)2011 Bolinda Publishing

What listeners say about Batavia

Average customer ratings
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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good story

Grim true story. All news to me, enjoyed it. Surprised by the ending. A Good read.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good read (listen) but could be better

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

It was an enjoyable listen overall, and I don't regret having purchased this audiobook. It's a great story which is worth getting to know

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The best aspect is the historical nature of the story - it transports you back to a time of exploration when life was a lot harder and there were new lands to be discovered but it's also very gritty. The style of retelling a historical even as a novel is always (well maybe not always, but mostly) enjoyable. The least interesting is that it doesn't go quite far enough in the novel-isation of the story - it's a bit of a half-way house, not quite history, not quite story.

What three words best describe Richard Aspel’s performance?

OK,

If this book were a film would you go see it?

Yes

Any additional comments?

The insistence of throwing in Dutch words when not necessary is a little annoying - it doesn't really add anything.

Overall a great story but the retelling (both by the author and reader) are good but not great.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic listen

One of the best creative non-fiction stories I've listened to on Audible. The writing could be a little better, but the story becomes so utterly compelling, that any criticism I have would ultimately feel unfair as I am very grateful and thankful to the author for bringing to life these incredible and haunting historical events. I found it a little slow until the shipwreck, but it turned out all the context given in those early chapters was absolutely necessary to understand the context of what happened next. Imagine 350 people marooned in the early 1600's on a reef off an unexplored Western Australia, with no water, natural shelter or expectation that anyone would ever know that they were there. With very limited supplies recovered from the wreck and only a small yawl not designed for ocean going conditions that was able only to hold a seventh of their number, they were some 2000 km from the nearest friendly port which lay due north across treacherous seas. If things weren't bad enough, one of their leaders turned out to be a hedonistic and heretical psychopath. What happened in the ensuing months will shock you to your core, the story is absolutely gripping and takes many unexpected turns. I was completely enthralled. I finished the book last week and still feel deeply moved and affected by what happened all those years ago, I've just learned they are still turning up secrets that have lay hidden in the coral sands of that remote archipelago for some four hundred years. If this story was fiction, you probably wouldn't believe it.HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. (If you are beguiled by shipwreck stories as I am, check out the audio book Endurance by Alfred Lansing, narrated by the incredible Simon Prebble).

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great concept not a great delivery

The history of this wreck is so very interesting. I would live to see it in a tv series. The narrator does a good job of this book, but it is a slow start.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

History with a bit of fictional flavour

A dramatised retelling of the harrowing story of the Batavia. I felt his additional parts to help flesh out the story were mostly welcome additions, and helped add some depth to people we knew very little about like Cornelis the Fat Trumpeter.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant !!!! A must read.

Rarely have I experienced a fabulous story quite brilliantly narrated. The narrator brings this fascinating research to real life, living every moment throughout. For me, this is the best of the best.

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Painful

Having listened to the 'Bounty' I came into book with not only high hopes, but also I was excited!
What a stupid mistake....
For some stupid, ridiculous reason there is translation plagued throughout this narration. Yes, when physically reading a book this would fine, as you can quickly disregard this when it appears over, and over and over again. Yet, with audiobooks, the listener is no so lucky. Get ready for translation after translation that quickly sails you further and further away from the story being narrated. You will get to point where you get basically upset every time you hear the irrelevant translation being shoved down your speaker/headphones. I listened to this in May and it's now November, yet I will not allow myself to go through that disgusting voyage of listening to this again in the current form.
This is such a shame as the story is okay, but it is painful to listen to. Whoever gave the narrator the order to include every single translation into this audiobook should be fired and never be allowed to work in such an industry again.
Redo this book, without the translations every 2 minutes that decimate the dialogue and this book could have potential. I could have narrated this and done a far better job.
If you want to waste your money and want your ears to bleed, then this is the book for you.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Pronunciation is below poor

I am dutch and was really looking forward listening to this book. The person who reads it pronounces dutch names places and other things below poor. I had to look up in the actual book what he was saying. Very annoying and ruins listening to it. There is this new phenomenon called Google, you can type in a word with pronounce behind it. Maybe use that and put in a bit of effort next time.

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3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Grim

Got about halfway through before deciding I didn’t need to spend any more hours with it, clearly things were not about to get better and I already found the misogyny, violence and general sense of impending doom and chaos heavy going, and that’s before the bad stuff happened (I googled the story). There’s no historical perspective in the writing, it’s a straightforward dramatic account which sometimes comes across like the author thinks it all good fun, which it really wasn’t.

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1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Poorlywritten and poorly told in a stocatto manner

I Cannot finish this book and it's a great true story. The reasons are 2 fold:
Poorly written and poorly told

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1 person found this helpful