One of the first great spy novels, The Riddle of the Sands is set during the long, suspicious years leading up to the First World War. In spite of good prospects in the Foreign Office, sardonic civil servant Carruthers is finding it hard to endure the boredom of his life in London. He accepts an invitation from a college friend, Davies, a shyly intrepid yachtsman, and joins him on a sailing holiday in the Baltic, and there, amidst the sunshine and bright blue seas, they discover a German plot to invade England . . .
Like much contemporary British spy fiction, The Riddle of the Sands reflects the Anglo-German rivalry of the early twentieth century, and the intricacy of the book's conception and its lucid detail make it a classic of its genre.
This Macmillan Collector's Library edition of Erskine Childers' The Riddle of the Sands features maps drawn from Childers' originals and an afterword by writer and journalist Ned Halley.
Designed to appeal to the booklover, the Macmillan Collector's Library is a series of beautiful gift editions of much loved classic titles. Macmillan Collector's Library are books to love and treasure.
Robert Erskine Childers was born in 1870 to an English father, Robert Caesar Childers, a famed professor of oriental languages at University College London, and his wife Anna, from the distinguished Barton family of Co Wicklow, Ireland. Both parents died from TB when he was a small boy, and Childers was brought up at his mother's family home. From Trinity College Cambridge, he went straight into the Civil Service as a House of Commons clerk, pursuing his first passion, for sailing, during the long parliamentary recesses. In 1899 he volunteered for service in the Boer War and wrote a popular account of his experiences, following this up in 1903 with The Riddle of the Sands. As a writer, he took up the cause of Irish Home Rule, and moved with his family to Ireland after distinguished service in the Royal Navy in the First World War. He was elected to the Dail, the Irish parliament, and was a delegate in the negotiations for the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1922. But the terms fell short of his hopes of full independence, and Childers joined the Republicans in the civil war that followed. He was arrested by the Free State government and court-martialled. He was executed by firing squad on 24 November 1922.