The Company: The Story of a Murderer

Written by Arabella Edge
Review by John R. Vallely

Jeronimus Cornelisz is a disturbed, and disturbing, man. Ambitious, cunning, ruthless, amoral, and greedy, Cornelisz is also a killer. After experiencing a series of personal disasters in Amsterdam, the young apothecary seizes the chance at a better life in the colonies by signing on to travel on board the merchant vessel Batavia in 1629. The ill-fated merchant ship sinks, and Cornelisz finds himself in control of the shipwrecked survivors. Any who oppose him are tricked into leaving for another island or murdered by this master of poisons. The remainder are cowed or fooled into accepting his leadership. By novel’s end, he is a victim of his own excesses.

This is a dark and chilling view of the inner workings of a psychotic mind. The only character who brings any light into this dark world is the stolid Lucretia. Based on a true story, The Company is most assuredly not for the faint of heart. Those who can digest Cornelisz will be struck by Arabella Edge’s undoubted capabilities as a master of nuance and descriptive powers. It is a good, even compelling, story. One just has to be able to see the world through Cornelisz’s eyes to be able to enjoy it.