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Samurai William tells how, in 1598, William Adams, an English seaman of humble origin, sailed out of Rotterdam on a Danish ship en route to the East Indies. After 20 months at sea in which they survived a series of disasters, starvation and disease, Adams and a few remaining sailors floated into a harbour on the island of Kyushu in southwestern Japan. Though not the first Westerner to reach Japan - Portuguese traders and Jesuit monks from Spain had arrived about 60 years earlier - Adams was the first Englishman to arrive. The impact this one man would have on future relations between East and West is the subject of this engrossing book.