Four centuries ago, a group of men--led by a one-armed ex-pirate, an epileptic aristocrat, a reprobate cleric and a government spy--left London aboard a fleet of three ships to start a new life in America. They arrived in Virginia in the spring of 1607 and set about trying to create a settlement on a tiny island in the James River. Despite their shortcomings, and against the odds, they built Jamestown, a ramshackle outpost that laid the foundations of the British Empire and the United States of America. Drawing on new discoveries, neglected sources and manuscript collections scattered across the world, this book reveals a reckless, daring enterprise led by outcasts of the Old World who found themselves interlopers in a new one. It charts their journey into a beautiful landscape and a sophisticated culture that they found both ravishing and alien, which they yearned to possess but threatened to destroy--From publisher description.