On 8th March 1421, the largest fleet the world has ever seen set sail from China. The ships, some nearly 500 long, were under the command of Emperor Zhu Dis loyal eunuch admirals. Their orders were to proceed all the way to the end of the earth.
The voyage would last for 2 years and by the time the fleet returned, China was beginning its long, self imposed isolation from the world it had so recently embraced. And so the great ships were left to rot, and the records of their journey destroyed. And with them, the knowledge that the Chinese had circumnavigated the globe a century before Magellan, reached America seventy years before Columbus, and Australia three hundred and fifty years before Cook.
649 pages PB