Riddle of the Sands is set during the long suspicious years leading up to the First World War and is a classic of spy fiction.
"Slow and Earnest"
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.
"A great perspective on the threat of war"
"It seems pretty clear to me that sooner or later we’ll be at war with Germany, whether we like it or not."
Carruthers is looking forward to a relaxing holiday when he sets off for the Baltic Sea. Instead he finds himself at the centre of a complicated and deadly plot. Will Carruthers and his friend, Arthur Davies, discover why the sinister and mysterious Herr Dollman is so interested in their little yacht, the Dulcibella? What does Clara Dollman know about her father’s plans?
"Excellently written and narrated"
The time is 1903. Carruthers, on leave from Britain's Foreign Service, accepts an invitation from his friend, Davies, to sail around the Baltic. But Davies has a secret mission. He has run afoul of a secret German invasion plot and persuades Carruthers to push into unknown waters with him to find out what it is the Germans are hiding before it is too late. The Riddle of the Sands is considered the first modern espionage story.
"technical difficulty is fatal"
Carruthers is rescued from a hot summer at a deserted Foreign Office in London, by an out-of-the-blue invitation to join an acquaintance, Davies, on his yacht in the Baltic. He arrives to find not only that he comprises the whole crew, but also that Davies needs his help in a spying mission with enormous stakes.