Described by Ken Follett as "the first modern thriller", The Riddle of the Sands is the best-known sailing narrative and a true classic. It was recently ranked 37th in The Observer's list of the 100 Greatest Novels of the past 300 years. Winston Churchill even credited it for the Admiralty's decision to build naval bases in Scapa Flow, Invergordon and Rosyth. Following in the adventurous tradition of H Rider Haggard, and being a clear influence on the espionage tales of John Buchan, Ian Fleming and John le Carre, The Riddle of the Sands tells the story of two young men on a sailing trip to the islands off the Dutch coast who discover a secret German naval base, and an enemy armada preparing to invade England. With its prescient plotline and patriotic call for the nation to prepare against its foreign foes, The Riddle of the Sands has remained enduringly popular ever since it was first published in 1903. This new edition includes detailed maps of the Dutch coastline and evocative black and white photographs of some of the places Carruthers and Davies visit.
This is an enduring classic, loved by sailors and non-sailors alike, and its new illustrative material will be welcomed by readers following the storyline.
Robert Erskine Childers took up sailing when a sciatic injury prevented him from taking part in many sporting activities. He served in the Boer War, later becoming vocally critical of how British troops were treated by their commanding officers. During the Irish Civil War of 1922-3 he joined the Republican army and was arrested and subsequently shot. The Riddle of the Sands is his most famous book, written in 1903.