Author(s): Gregory Warwick Hansen
In the antipodean winter of 1629, the Dutch East Indiaman 'Batavia' was wrecked on the desolate cays of the Houtman Abrolhos, an island chain lying beyond the sea horizon of what is now Western Australia.
One year later her merchant commander, Francisco Pelsaert, lies dying in a mildewed room outside the walls of Batavia Castle (modern-day Jakarta), the stigma of shipwreck and bloody mutiny foreclosing on his legacy. With only a servant-carer and the occasional visitor to relieve his solitude, he passes the hours in haunted reflection of events which have shaped his life.
From the Netherlands and its colonial outposts to Mogul India and the coastal wildernesses of the Great South Land, Pelsaert's tale is one of many parts and places, of exotic encounter and shrouded pleasure to unnerving dreams and thwarted certainties. Ultimately, 'Pelsaert's Nightmare' is a journey in the quest for redemption.
The manuscript was shortlisted for the inaugural 2016 First Novel Prize in the United Kingdom and was a First Place Category Winner in the 2018 Chaucer Book Awards for Pre-1750s Historical Fiction.