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The Accomplice [Paperback]

Kathryn Heyman
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Jan 2004
THE ACCOMPLICE describes one of the most shocking events of the seventeenth century: the wreck of the Dutch ship Batavia off the coast of Western Australia, and the extraordinary events that befell its stranded survivors. Combining a gripping narrative with vivid historical detail, THE ACCOMPLICE is a beautiful, terrifying, deeply moving novel of love and anarchy.

Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review (5 Jan 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755302168
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755302161
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 13 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,296,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'A powerful and heartbreaking novel' Tracy Chevalier

Book Description

Love, deception and mutiny in the seventeenth century's darkest heart

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Story of Survival 13 May 2003
The Accomplice tells the the story of Judith Bastiaansz, a survivor of the sinking of The Batavia in the 1600's. Judith tells the story from the perspective of time -she's an older woman, waiting for her grandchild to be born, and trying to find some sort of peace. By placing the story after the events of the mutiny, the writer makes the novel about more than shipwreck, and much more than a page-turning tale of adventure. The novel becomes about what people do to survive, and how they carry on after tragedy. It raises contemporary issues: how will the survivors of war and terrorism live with decisions they make? Judith labours under a feeling of guilt, for events which she ultimately realises are not her doing. The book forces the reader to consider their own lives and actions, and the ways in which we are all connected. It's terribly sad, and frightening, but also, in the end, hopeful and optimistic. I couldn't put this book down, and was astonished by some of the beautiful images. This is a brilliant take on the Batavia story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars would make a brilliant film! 22 Aug 2005
On first glance I thought this looked a bit grim : it's a story of a shipwreck in the 17th Century based on true events. It certainly isn't a light-hearted beach read that's for sure but it is totally gripping and fascinating in its depiction of mutiny and human nature in all forms. It really draws the reader in and the main character is well depicted. I totally recommend this novel for all ages and tastes : it is utterly compelling and original.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 'must' read 13 May 2003
The Accomplice was one of those books that I just couldn't put down. The language flowed like poetry and the story was gripping, terrifying and utterly compelling. The Accomplice tells the true story of the Dutch ship the Batavia, in the seventeenth century and its shipwreck off the coast of Western Australia. The survivors are left stranded on a desert island and the events that unfold, when one of the survivors takes control are utterly horrific and breath-takingly shocking.
However Heyman tells us far more than just the survivors story and it is her comments on human nature and our capacity for evil that have haunted me. She gently leads us on a path which eventuates in the culmination of all that is evil and weak in humanity but points out on the way little choices we could have made which could have taken those survivors to a very different place in history. It left me with a feeling of empowerment, and the awareness that those 'little' choices we make really do matter.
This book is a must read. I haven't come across a book more thought-provoking and a story so beautifully and vividly told as this one, for a very long time.Brilliant!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Are the victims guilty too? 9 May 2003
By A Customer
This superb novel explores the uneasy guilt felt by the victim of a great crime - a mutiny and massacre on an island off the coast of Western Australia in the early Seventeenth Century. The Dutch flagship, the Batavia, ran aground, and when her captain left in an open boat to fetch help, the ship's under-merchant, Cornelitz, led a regime of barbarism that had Holland stunned for a generation.
Heyman retells the story from the perspective of Judith Bastiansz, a naive but spirited eighteen year old, whose venial father is employed as the ship's chaplain. The ship and then the island are the claustrophobic setting for her increasing exposure to the unbearable harshness of deception, treachery and finally an uncontrolable lust for death. Her adulation of Lucretia, her love for Conraat, and her disapproval of Wiebbe Hayes all serve to highlight her intense but misguided allegiences. From the outset we know that Judith will survive the horrors of her ordeal, but how and at what cost? What kind of life can she build from the ruins of hope?
From an already amazing true story, Heyman has crafted a subtle and riveting novel. Though set in the Dutch Golden Age, there are clear parallels with the genocides of the much more recent past. Heyman's unflinching, intensely moving prose seems to require us to answer for ourselves: faced with such evil, what would *you* have done ?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4.0 out of 5 stars An Incredible book 2 Mar 2014
By Jan - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Based on actual historical events, this novel tells the vivid and horrific story of the mutiny and shipwreck of the Batavia off Western Australia in the 17th century. The story is told by the predikant's (priest/pastor) daughter and her first hand account brings the story to life in a most personal yet dramatic way - and the horrifying outcome of the voyage stays with you long after the final page. I found it impossible to put down, and regardless of its brutality it is a book I would definitely recommend.
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