While on a sailing trip in the Baltic Sea, two young adventurers-turned-spies uncover a secret German plot to invade England. Widely recognized as the first modern spy thriller, this 1902 lone masterpiece by World War I Royal Navy officer Erskine Childers was written as a wake-up call to the British government to attend to its North Sea defenses. It accomplished that task and has been considered a classic of espionage literature ever since. Praised for its nautical action and richly authentic background as much as for its suspenseful spycraft, The Riddle of the Sands is the brilliant forerunner to the realism of Graham Greene and John le Carré.More
"This is a book of great renown....Its beautifully sustained atmosphere...adds poetry, and...real mystery." (Ian Fleming)
"Simon Vance lends a mature sound and considerable technique to his narration, making Childers's seafaring not only apparent, but contagious." (AudioFile)
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A great perspective on the threat of war
This book is not for those looking for an action-packed spy novel. I enjoyed it and was fascinated by the setting and the historical perspective - the book was written in 1903 to warn of the potential threat of German invasion of Britain. There is a lot of detail about sailing and tides on the northern coast of Germany. This detail can be a bit tedious at times, particularly if you can't imagine the geography. The printed book had a series of maps that help considerably, and these can be found online in the Project Gutenberg version. As a spy novel, it isn't particularly thrilling by today's standards, but it is a valuable perspective on the time before the first world war. Simon Vance's narration is wonderful.
Only if you love sailing...