sounds like an interesting book and an interesting thesis.
while we are all now aware of zheng he's adventures, how come nobody talks about rajendra chola's armada of 1025 CE, which went clear across the indian ocean to sumatra and defeated the maritima srivijaya empire? it must have been one of the biggest fleet -- if not the biggest fleet -- before the age of steam in the 19th cent CE. for it not only sailed across, it conquered the powerful srivijayas and captured the srivijaya king. it would have taken a heck of a lot of ships to ferry enough soldiers to conquer kadaram, the capital of the srivijayas.
i wish somebody would do more research on this. how come tamils, including the chauvinist dmk, are not researching copiously about rajendra chola?
it is clear that rajendra chola's armada was likely bigger, and certainly more succesful, than the famous spanish armada of 1588, that struck such terror into english hearts. and it was more than 500 years earlier too.