Pelsaert's Nightmare Synopsis﷯ Pelsaert's Nightmare is a tale of afflicted witness, a story whose catalyst is the 1629 'Batavia' shipwreck and its infamous mutiny. One year after this tumultuous event, the ship's merchant commander, Francisco Pelsaert, lies dying in a room outside Batavia Castle (modern-day Jakarta). With only a servant-carer and the occasional visitor to relieve his solitude, he passes the hours in troubled reflection of events which have shaped his life. Pelsaert is a servant of the Dutch East India Company, a careerist who has forged a prominent role for himself as part of its thrust into Mogul India. His success, however, has been overshadowed by tropical illness, the dangers of an illicit personal life, and the machinations of Company rivals. Following a visit to the Netherlands, during which he strengthens his authority in matters pertaining to Company business in Hindustan, Pelsaert is provisionally appointed to the Council of the Indies and embarks on 'Batavia' to return East. Recurring ill health, however, prevents him from recognising the malcontent which festers during the voyage. Although shipwreck off the coast of the Great South Land (Australia) precludes an immediate outbreak of mutiny, Pelsaert's 'desertion' of survivors - first to seek water, then to cross the Timor Sea to Java to procure rescue - allows the marooned conspirators to unleash their murderous plan. ﷯With his standing already jeopardised through the loss of 'Batavia', Pelsaert's return to the wreck site shockingly reveals that most of those 'deserted' have been slaughtered under the regime of his Company lieutenant, Jeronimus Cornelisz. Dealing with the ringleaders and salvaging what he can of the material and human cargo, he returns to Java to defend his reputation, his exhausted self exposed to personal misgiving and public censure. Early manuscript recognition﷯ An early draft of the novel was joint runner-up in the 2013 Fellowship of Australian Writers (FAW) National Literary Awards (Jim Hamilton Award for an Unpublished Manuscript), and a more developed version was shortlisted for the inaugural 2016 First Novel Prize (UK). In 2018, Pelsaert’s Nightmare was a First Place Category Winner in the 2018 Chaucer Book Awards for Pre-1750s Historical Fiction. Lorena Goldsmith, literary consultant at Daniel Goldsmith Associates and one of the judges for the First Novel Prize, observed, ‘Making a selection for the First Novel Prize shortlist was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do… We have a shortlist of amazing new voices to work with and we are thrilled to note that it reflects the wide range of genres entered in the Prize.’ In the wake of the Chaucer Book Awards, Pelsaert’s Nightmare received a 5-star review with Chanticleer Book Reviews.