Written in an attempt to highlight the author's controversial political agenda, the riddle of the sands is a left over from a forgotten time. The characterizations are a little dated now - gentlemen yachtsmen, muddle through with sheer determination and British verve. The underlying thesis that Childers was trying to promote, although through the lens of history can be seen to be utterly impractical - at the time had such a measure of authenticity (due in part to the general German paranoia at the time, but largely due to the authentic feel of the narrative) about it, questions were ask in parliament (which was Childers agenda) Childers is at his best when describing the sailing and the sea - Less convincing in the "spy" plot. It has an added poignancy when we remember that Childers the "British" patriot who tried through this novel to awaken the empire to the weaknesses of its naval policy and the danger of German imperialism - dies in front of a British Firing squad because of involvement in running guns during the Irish rebellion. Read it primarily for the description of the sailing and the sea, enjoy the "spy" story as a boys own distraction.