This work describes how in April 1993 Tim Severin set sail from Vietnam in a bamboo raft on a 6000-mile voyage to America. The First Emperor of China despatched the navigator Hsu Fu eastward in the year 218 BC to find the land which grew the drugs to give long life. He never returned. But if he or other Asian navigators did reach America by crossing the Pacific centuries before Columbus's voyage, it would help explain the remarkable similarities between the high cultures of pre-Columbian America and the ancient civilizations of Asia.
Tim Severin has is the author of a series of books about his own explorations, and the holder of the Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society. He lives in County Cork, Ireland.