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Die A Dry Death Paperback – April 12, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
“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)
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book was recommended to me by an Aussie friend who is also a writer. He gave me a bief background on the story and thought I would enjoy it. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Karin Smith
A dramatisation of several good sources brought together. Which is what we needed considering 17-century writers sometimes don't get into detail. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Ezza Terrick
As a fan of Joseph Conrad it's hard for me to pass up a good shipwreck! To Die a Dry Death tell the tragic story of the wreck of the Batavia, and even worse, what man is capable... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Mike Hale
To Die a Dry Death is a novel about the shipwreck of the Batavia, a ship owned by the Dutch East India Company. Read morePublished on June 14, 2014 by Great Historicals
To Die a Dry Death is an historic fictionalized account of the ship Batavia's sinking in 1629 on the North West Cape of Western Australia and the subsequent fight for survival of... Read morePublished on May 28, 2014 by David R Anderson (Author/Writer)
Greta Van Der Rol is a master at writing. To Die A Dry Death is a chilling story that I could not put down. This story will pull you in and make you want to read it again.Published on April 3, 2014 by heather
History is unfortunately full of tales of maritime disasters from the infamous Titanic to the controversial disappearance of the small crew aboard the Mary Celeste. Read morePublished on March 15, 2014 by Elspeth G. Perkin
A true story, it tells of the shipwreck of the Batavia and the fate of the abandoned survivors on three islands and the rise of one ruthless evil man. Read morePublished on January 2, 2014 by Fredrik Nath (author)