The ship “Ann” did exist and was launched in London in 1645 by Captain Robert Knox, who died in captivity in Ceylon in 1659. His eldest son, Robert Knox junior, managed to escape in 1679 and returned to England, where he was persuaded to write an account of his time there. The names of the members of his crew are true and correct.
Nick, however, is entirely my invention, and by all accounts never existed. His account of his captivity in Ceylon is a more light-hearted look at what an individual member of the crew of “Ann” might have done in these circumstances. Part of the ship’s crew were tricked and captured, but why no-one managed to escape over 30 years with over 500 men in captivity no one knows; except for these three! So I added Nick as a cabin boy to the crew for humour and perpective!
Oh, by the way, Daniel Defoe, who was a journalist, never went to Ceylon, but it was generally considered at the end of the 17th Century that Robert’s book was the major source of technical inspiration for his classic “Robinson Crusoe”.