Commonwealth Foundation Writer's Prize for Best First Book
"I, Jeronimus, am a man of phials, a measurer of powders on bronze scales, a potion brewer, an opium and arsenic merchant. The primped and perfumed Amsterdam burghers came to me in droves requiring cures for fevers, love balms, the miscarriage of a bastard child and, of course, poisons. Ah, poisons..."
The Company is based on the true story of a Dutch East India flagship, the Batavia, which foundered off the coast of Western Australia in 1629. Jeronimus Cornelisz, a thirty-year-old apothecary with murder, mutiny, rape and torture on his mind, assumes command of the survivors, who all thought they were lucky to be alive. With Cornelisz in control, however, an extraordinary reign of terror begins, leaving those who survived wishing they had gone down with the ship.
'Elegant and hypnotically malevolent' Kate Grenville, winner of the Orange Prize 2001
'A compelling and utterly original story of shipwreck, madness and evil. It is written in gorgeous prose . . . and features a splendidly ruthless villain. A fine, dark novel' Patrick McGrath