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The Company: Portrait of a Murderer

3.1 of 5 stars 3.10  ·  rating details  ·  98 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Based on the 1629 voyage of the Dutch East India Company flagship, Batavia -- which foundered off the coast of western Australia with its cargo of untold riches -- The Company tells the story of passenger Jeronimus Cornelisz, a heretical apothecary so twisted by lust and greed that he turns to mutiny, rape, torture, and murder.
With the ship wrecked, its passengers dying,
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Paperback, 384 pages
Published July 2nd 2003 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2000)
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Julia
Arabella Edge narrates the horrifying events after the shipwreck of the Batavia, one of the most important ships of the Dutch East Indian Company. Interestingly, the moral decay of the survivors is told by Jeronimus, sadistic pervert with a love for luxury and young boys dedicating themselves to all kinds of brutally erotic games who seizes power after the tragic accident and starts to convert the island where the crew and travellers had found a scarce refuge into his own private realm of godles ...more
Lianna
not a big fan of her writing style but the actual story of the shipwreck is exciting. you'd be better off reading a historical account of the whole thing.
Emily
nobody read this book. Historical fiction, at least in this case is something no one needs.
Lisa
In 1692, the Dutch East India Company ship, Batavia, was wrecked off the coast of as-then undiscovered Western Australia. Stranded on an island with no fresh water, things looked dire. When the senior officers, including the captain and the commandeur, left to find drinking water a man called Jeronimus Cornelisz took charge and began a reign of terror where murder and rape came to be the norm.

The Company retells of this dreadful time through the eyes of Cornelisz himself, which is tricky to pull
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Michelle
Dec 08, 2009 Michelle rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like to peer into the minds of psychos; Lord of the Flies fans
A masterly dark and disturbing tale.
Like Heath-Ledger-as-Joker disturbing.
Also disturbing: In the acknowledgements, the author thanks someone I assume is her daughter, who had to listen to the novel being read aloud every day after school. Wha? What's her bedtime story, a Clockwork Orange?

Based on true events from the 1600s, the story centers on an evil young apothecary, exiled to the colonies from Amsterdam, who is shipwrecked and spends the next 40 days marooned on desert isles playing God wit
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Alex Telander
In Arabella Edge’s The Company the reader is taken on a most unusual journey, sadly the journey ends up being a boring one. Our main character, Jeronimus Cornelisz, is a psychopath, though of course not many people know that. He is also an alchemist and an apothecary: poisons are his love. From a young age he has been obsessed with killing and controlling people through poisons and potions. Now he is throwing that all away, and with forged papers, is joining the crew on a ship of the Dutch East ...more
A Reader's Heaven
"This is Bret Easton Ellis camped on Treasure Island with Lord of the Flies." - Robert Drewe

I have to say from the start that I couldn't finish this book. I can see why it is popular, I can see why those who love this book point to it's historical accuracies and prose - I just couldn't read it.

I put up with the language for 150 pages and the ship had only just become shipwrecked - 150 pages of painful dialogue and descriptive prose. There is just too much to read in the world to waste more time
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Lisa
I think I reserve one-star ratings for books I do not feel the need to finish.
I finished this one. It gets two stars expressly for that.
Weird. The story, based on true events, is pretty fascinating. The writing, particularly the voice of a sociopath and ego-maniacal murderer (which should be aMAZingly fun to write... and to read), is only eh. There was a comparison of Edge and Brett Easton Ellis written in a review on the book jacket... so I expected more out of Edge. Unfortunately, I think th
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Abby
This fictionalized account of the atrocities that befell the survivors of the Batavia's wreck. It is told from Jeronimus Cornelisz's (the mutineer and madman left in control of the survivors) point of view. I recommend reading a true account because no fictionalized account can be more compelling than the true story but it is creepy to read the first person POV. Thankfully the book is short because its so disgusting what he does to the survivors that I don't think I could have read much more. Th ...more
Jyv
When I read this, I had no idea it was based on a true story, and perhaps it was better that way, as others appear to have expected more and been disappointed by the author's telling of it from the perspective of Jeronimus Cornelisz, a psycopath. While reading it, I thought it was rather a chilling tale, but on learning at the end that it was true, made it all the more fascinating.
Owen
Very much enjoyed this strange tale of the fortunes endured by the survivors of the Batavia, a ship that hit a reef off the coast of Western Australia on its way to the east Indies, leaving the passengers stranded and, as it transpired, in the hands of a mass murderer. An eccentric text, written in prose designed to match the times of which it tells, and therefore not everyone's cup of tea, as noted in other reviews. Nonetheless, a fine achievement and a worthwhile read for anyone interested in ...more
Brigid
Follows the journey of a dandified nutjob who knows his poisons. After a shipwreck destroys his plans to mutiny (how dare Nature interfere with his plans?), our main character sets out to make himself lord and master of their little refuge. He manipulates everyone, ingratiates himself to those socially above him, and seriously misleads many of the castaways to his own advantage. The whole scene devolves into violence and debauchery, just as one would expect from an opium-addicted megalomaniac.
Josh
I'm not quite sure what this fictional version of the wreck of the Batavia adds to the true story. I understand why the author would try to tell the story from the point of view of the villain, to try to get into his head. She succeeds somewhat, I would say, but ultimately Cornelisz is such a creepy, evil man that it's damn hard to get into his head. Still, I enjoyed the book. Where do you go to wash your brain after enjoying such horror?
Shandana
"lord of the flies" has nothing on this story of the infamous batavia shipwreck and the chaos that ensued when one of the survivors appointed himself king, enslaved the women and killed the men who didn't bend to his will. horrifying from start to finish, especially when you consider it's a true story...
Renae
A bit slow and ponderous. I had a hard time staying with it, even if it was an ok read. Too much time spent crawling in the head of the main character, which was not a pretty place to be...
Kevin Aston Hoey
A fictionalized account of the wreck of the Batavia off the Western Australian coast in 1629. An Interesting read about power and manipulation by a 'madman' during the disaster.
Scott
Fiendishly enjoyable. I'm amazed at how many factual details are known about this shipwreck.
Ann
If you can stomach the violence, it is a fascinating read.
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