Written in 1903 by the active and ultimately executed Irish republican Erskine Childers, "The Riddle of the Sands: A Record of Secret Service" unfolds the story of a minor official in the Foreign Office, Carruthers, and his complete boredom with his occupation. Although his prospects are good, he feels an emptiness in his life, and this in large part encourages Carruthers to go sailing with his friend Davies. This acquaintance suspects German naval activity in the Baltic, and the two overcome numerous obstacles, both by suspicious German patrol boats and tricky inshore sailing, to discover information that complicates the feelings of both young men. The lone masterpiece of a man who died for a cause, this earliest of spy thrillers details not only the love of Davies, but the revival of Carruthers in a time of intrigue, adventure, suspicion, and burgeoning war.
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"Unputdownable... a classic British adventure story, influencing both John Buchan and Ken Follett" (Observer)
"The Riddle of the Sands remains a fine read, enjoyed by people for whom sailing is a mystery and who, just like one of the books' heroes,cannot tell a mainsheet from a marlinspike" (Guardian)
"A ripping yarn, it’s just so exciting" (Ben Macintyre)
A triller anticipating Frederick Forsyth and Len Deighton...never loses its pace. ( Independent on Sunday)
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