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Publisher's Summary

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.
©2001 Mary Daheim (P)2002 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Olwen on 04-16-15

A great perspective on the threat of war

Any additional comments?

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.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

By Anniebligh on 12-30-17

One of the Best Reads

A very good read and sadly a disappointing listen.

Mostly 2 characters and the voices do need to be clearly distinguishable to work as an audio. Simon Vance usually is an excellent narrator and in this classic story of the sea, he misses the mark.
I appreciate the voices are not forced and accept it is a hard task.

Over a hundred years have passed since the writing of this classic British Espionage story, and there are some lovely allusions relating to the seas. The love of sailing and boating, curious minds, challenging the natural and man made forces by ordinary people and some good old fashioned adventures as the Riddle is solved. Even Riddles are a very British adventure, reflected in another more modern classic with .'.What have I got in my Pocket?.' (Bilbo Baggins)

If the act of reading is difficult, and you are ready to listen closely then this is a book well worth getting to know. Simon has a voice that is easy to listen to that does not jar on the ear drums, and, you will need to listen carefully.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By mrs m on 08-01-14


I thoroughly enjoyed this audio book. The plot unfolded at a good pace.
The narration by Simon Vance was excellent and was well suited to the story.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

By Jacque Hughes on 02-01-17

Classic brilliantly told

I have read riddle of the sands twice before, but listening to it on audiobook added another dimension. An enchanting story brilliantly told and narrated,

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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