Publisher's synopsis

When a mysterious cannibal pot is discovered by Steven Messenger, it is only one of the many bizarre clues that lead to the truth behind an age-old murder mystery.

On 4 June 1629, the Dutch vessel Batavia struck uncharted rocks off the West Australian coast. By the time help arrived, over 120 men, women and children had met their deaths not in the sea, but murdered by two fellow survivors, Wouter Loos and Jan Pelgrom.

In 1986, Steven Messenger discovers gruesome relics from that wreck. Four months later he disappears without a trace. Where is Messenger? Is his disappearance linked to the relics? Someone knows . . . somewhere . . .


  • Winner 1991 CBC Book of the Year for Older Readers
  • Winner 1991 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award
  • Winner 1991 NSW State Literary Award for the Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature
  • Shortlisted 1991 Edgar Allen Poe Mystery Fiction Award (Crime Writers of America)