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Die A Dry Death

4.5 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Utterly brilliant in every way. It's hard to believe any book could come closer to conveying the essence of this astonishing series of events. If ever there was a five star read, this is it." - Bill Kirton, Booksquawk.com **** "I was pulled down into the story as inexorably as the Batavia herself was drawn down into the sea, and as the castaways of the shipwreck were drawn helplessly under the control of a frightening despot who emerged amongst them ... Brilliant writing and characterization." - Kimberly Menozzi, Fourth Person Obscured **** "I planned to read this novel over the course of a week. Instead, I found myself staying up (far too) late and finished it in two nights. I found it nearly impossible to put down ... I definitely enjoyed this novel more than most. The pacing is fast, the characters believable, and I would almost certainly read it again. Highly recommended." - Spann of Time **** "Greta's imaginative portrayal of Cornelisz is brilliant. She shows how the desire to survive turns him into a monster and yet allows him moments of strange tenderness when in love ... this is indeed a compelling tale and Greta has been fascinated by the story for twenty five years. Her writing skills are impeccable. One is drawn immediately into the scenario and carried on by the sheer power of her depiction, the characters she builds and the settings she creates. But it is an unrelentingly dark tale, so be warned." - Loretta Proctor, Books and Other Things **** "The most intriguing aspect of this story is how the author skillfully unravels one man's motives for gaining power through use of fear and examines to what lengths a person will go to preserve his own life. With such complex and deeply motivated characters, conflict abounds, creating a fast-paced and thrilling read ... Peppered throughout are exquisite details: of vivid seascapes, clothing, work implements, and nautical terminology. Readers who love to be immersed in a historical period will appreciate the precise research that has gone into this work; while those who enjoy an action-oriented and plot-driven story will be riveted." - Historical Novel Review --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Greta van der Rol was born in Amsterdam and grew up in Perth, Western Australia. These days she lives with her husband in sub-tropical Queensland not far from the beach. Die a Dry Death is one of four books she's written, with a fifth well under way. When she's not writing she enjoys cooking and photography. Die a Dry Death has been rattling around inside her head for twenty-five years. It was born of her fascination for the four Dutch ship wrecks on the Western Australian coast, of which the loss of the Batavia was the first and the best-known.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 338 pages
  • Publisher: diiarts.com (April 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907386114
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907386114
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,225,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
The fully laden Batavia wrecks atop a reef. The crew abandons the ship, leaving most of her precious cargo aboard. The passengers, including women and children struggle to reach the small inhospitable islands close to the wreckage. Once there, it becomes painfully obvious that the survivors are facing starvation and dehydration. The ship's captain and commander leave the islands in search of supplies and rescue. In their absence, Jeronimus Cornelisz takes command of the islands. He abandons some survivors on the other islands and then begins to rule supremely. He kills all who challenge his rule. Not even women and children are safe. This is the story of those who lived and died on three small islands.
This book begins with the shipwreck and continually gets worse. The melancholy quickly transitions to fear and dread.
This book is sold as historical fiction, but I believe that this label limits the book. Greta van der Rol has the ability to get into the characters' minds and allow the reader to glimpse into their thoughts. This makes the book deeper and darker.
The writing at the beginning of the book is a little slow, but it is used to set up relationships that will soon become important. The action quickly picks up and the reader becomes lost in the story.
I recommend this book to anyone wanting a good read on when humans stop being human.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read Mike Dash’s account of ‘Batavia’s Graveyard” the background story was not new to me, therefore I did not expect to be blown away by this retelling. But the dramatization of events in this narrative non-fiction is remarkable. Van der Rol brings to life one of the bloodiest mutinies in history, an event that has left an indelible stain on land later to be recognized as part of Australia.
“To Die a Dry Death” is a masterful retelling of the events surrounding the shipwreck of a Dutch East India Company ship in 1629 and the subsequent wholesale slaughter of men, women and children that took place at the hands one man – Jeronimus Cornelisz.
This is not a history you would chose to read if you have a weak stomach. It is both disturbing and true.
For readers of history prepared to encounter the dark side of humanity, this is a masterful must-read.
If I could give this book 6 stars out of 5 I would.
(Read on Kindle)
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Format: Paperback
When I started reading Die a Dry Death, I knew what I was in for. Or so I thought. I had read much of the first chapters when the book appeared on Authonomy some time ago, and I believed I remembered the story well.

I did. And... I didn't.

While I'm no expert on historical fiction by any measure, I kept feeling that this story felt authentic, through and through. No detail rang false, and there is detail aplenty in this tale. Being a fan of such descriptive language, I revelled in much of the writing for that reason. I have no doubt that Greta van der Rol is a writer of remarkable talent, and her skill with words is undeniable. She has incredible control over the tension of the story, building it steadily and sweeping the reader right along in its current, balancing several plotlines and making it look ridiculously easy.

At some point early on, however, my "writer" hat fell off and I was lost in the story itself. I was pulled down into the story as inexorably as the Batavia herself was drawn down into the sea, and as the castaways of the shipwreck were drawn helplessly under the control of a frightening despot who emerged amongst them.

There were times I wanted to just put this book down and walk away. Not for the reason one normally would do such a thing, but for very different reasons. I quickly found myself invested in the characters and I had begun to care about them. As there were moments I knew were coming - since this novel was based on true events, they are a matter of historical record - I wasn't sure I wanted to read them. I repeatedly hoped that these people would evade their fates and the story would take a happier (albeit unrealistic) turn, and continued reading.
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Format: Hardcover
Greta van der Rol's 2010 book "Die a Dry Death", a detailed story of the Batavia wreck and tragic aftermath is a great narrative of the event.

It gives a most graphic picture of the shipwreck itself and of the ghastly slaughter and ungodly acts which followed, and also of heroism on the part of some survivors.

The introductory narrative of its opening chapter is cleverly contrived and serves to immediately gain the reader's interest and keenness to `read on".

There may be some fictional control woven into the story, but this could be described as dramatisation rather than a fictional distortion of events.

The horror of the inhuman and brutal treatment of the survivors is well described and evokes the feeling of man's inhumanity, albeit under desperate circumstances.

In reading the latter chapters one draws the conclusion that the slaughter, especially of women, children and entire families, was brought about by self preservation and gratification rather than a perceived view that there was insufficient water and edible items for all to survive, in the event 125 lives were taken in horrific and terrible ways. Ones revulsion at the heinous acts of Cornelisz and his henchmen is only partly alleviated by the terrible punishment they deservedly suffered.
The book it both an informative tale from an historic standpoint, and a great insight Into an infamous chapter in Western Australia's (New Holland's) early maritime history,

In short, I found it to be an absorbing book with obvious painstaking research having been done, well crafted and written in great style.
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