This is a review by Randy L Harvey of the book, The Pirate Captain Ned Low - His Life & Mysterious Fate from Pen & Sword Books by author Nicky Nielson.

** Edward ‘Ned’ Low’s career in piracy began with a single gunshot. While working on a logging ship in the Bay of Honduras the quick-tempered Ned was provoked by the ship’s captain. He responded by grabbing a musket and inciting a mutiny. Then the London-born sailor and a dozen of his crewmates held a council, stitched a black flag and voted to make war against the whole world preying on ships from any nation, flying any flag. Low’s name became synonymous with brutality and torture during the 1720s as he cut a swathe of destruction from the shores of Nova Scotia to the Azores, the coast of Africa and throughout the Caribbean. Ned Low’s life was one of failed redemption: a thief from childhood who briefly rose in the world after moving to America, only to fall again lower and harder than before. He was feared even by his own crew, and during his life on the wrong side of the law he became infamous for his extreme violence, fatalistic behaviour, and became perhaps one of the best examples of why pirates were classed in Admiralty Law as hostis humani generis: the common enemies of all mankind. **  

** Quoted from the book’s dust jacket.


Pen & Sword Books has released The Pirate Captain Ned Low - His Life & Mysterious Fate. It is a 224-page hardback book, 6.25 x 1 x 9.25 inches in size.  Included with the text are black and white photographs and one black and white map.  The book has a 2022 copyright, a publication date of August 1, 2022, and the ISBN is 9781399094313. 



Prologue: Hostis Humani Generis

Chapter 1 – Slavers, Baymen and Buccaneers

Chapter 2 – A Thief from Horseferry

Chapter 3 – The Parting Glass

Chapter 4 – Trouble in Port Roseway

Chapter 5 – Across the Atlantic and Back Again

Chapter 6 – The Marooning of Philip Ashton

Chapter 7 – HMS Greyhound

Chapter 8 – Hanged by the Neck

Chapter 9 – A Vanishing Trick

Epilogue: The Treasure of Isle Haute

Members of Ned Low’s Crew Captured by HMS Greyhound





Author Nicky Nielsen provides a well written and informative text detailing the life and actions of pirate captain Ned Low.  Nielson goes into great detail regarding the piracy actions of the specified period, the life, actions and unknown fate of pirate captain Ned Low during the golden age of piracy.  I personally feel that Nicky Nielsen has covered all areas and aspects of the life of Ned Low and has provided the information in an easy-to-read format which the detailed oriented reader will benefit from. The text goes into great detail in all areas of the book as outlined on the contents page, please refer to the contents listing for the areas that are covered throughout the book.  One of the main things that I found to be particularly helpful with the information provided by Nicky Nielson is that it is written in a no-nonsense type of writing that provides the history and information on Ned Low and he does not use what I would refer to as fluff writing where a large amount of non-essential extra text is provided just to help fill the pages.  In addition to his own words, Nicky Nielson has also provided personal quotes and first-hand accounts from key individuals.  The text in the book is nicely written and well detailed. As I read through the text, I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings.  I feel that if the text is well written then it shows that the author has taken the time to be professional with their writing.  Anyone wanting to add an excellent history book detailing the life and actions of pirate captain Ned Low to their personal library will be pleased with this informative and interesting book.     


A total of 16 black and white photographs are included in this volume.  Author Nicky Nielson stuck to the title of the book and chose subject specific photographs and did not include photographs that strayed from the main subject of the book.  The majority of the photographs are of period drawings and paintings and provide the reader with details of the period. The images are obviously not always in scale and 100% accurate but I personally feel that they still do their job of providing information as there was obviously no photography equipment of any type during that time period. So obviously, artists were free to use artistic interpretation when they created their paintings and illustrations.  The majority of the photographs are clear and easily viewable.  The majority, if not all, of the photographs will prove to be of great interest to anyone interested in the golden age of piracy due to the details they contain.  


The captions are well written and explain the accompanying photographs nicely.  The captions go into very specific detail regarding the photographs of period drawings and paintings as to the subject shown and the action taking place, the name of the artist that did the original painting/drawing, ship’s name, locations, dates, and other such pertinent information.  As I read through the captions, I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors.  I was impressed by Nicky Nielson’s captions as they are very helpful to the reader due to their detailed content as opposed to other captions that I have seen that are very brief and lacking in detail.   


There is 1 black and while map with a well detailed key included in this volume.  

      - Map detailing the travels of Ned Lowe from his initial mutiny in the Bay of Honduras in December 1721 until he was deposed as captain near Martinique in early 1724.

There is a problem with the map.  The issue with the map is the way that the items of interest, that are listed in the key, are pinpointed on the map itself.  The 28 separate items are pinpointed with black circles with a white number, corresponding with the key, in the center of it.  The circles are so small that the numbers are very difficult to read without the use of a magnifying glass or other such device.  

Pen & Sword Books, The Pirate Captain Ned Low - His Life & Mysterious Fate, is also available digitally from:

Pen & Sword Books as a 5.8 MB eBook (epub) - ISBN: 9781399094320

Amazon as a Kindle edition – ISBN: 1399094319


UK £20.00 / US $34.95

This book was provided to me by Casemate Publishers.  Please mention that you saw the book reviewed here on the KitMaker Network when you make your purchase.  Thank you.



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