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The Riddle of the Sands Paperback – 24 Feb 2011

3.9 out of 5 stars 193 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (24 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141197994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141197999
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 1.8 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (193 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 47,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A triller anticipating Frederick Forsyth and Len Deighton...never loses its pace. (Independent on Sunday) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

Set in the treacherous seas and shifting sands off the north German coast, Erskine Childers' novel of adventure and intrigue caused a sensation when it was published in 1903, and remains on of the greatest spy stories ever written. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Set in the period before the First World War, this gripping story tells of the adventures of a yachtsman and his non-sailing friend as they uncover disturbing events in the eastern North Sea in a small boat.
For sailors and non-sailors alike, this is a classic spy novel where the protagonists' curiosity and sense of adventure combine with sinister military planning in the misty waters around the Frisian islands. If you enjoy historical novels, this is a great read.
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Format: Paperback
This novel, the first ever spy story, is truly of it's era. The story's heroes may seem quaint by the standards of the 21st Century (it is interesting to observe the manners between foes!!)but Childer's novel accurately predicted that Britain's main threat at the turn of the 20th Century was Germany rather than the more traditional foe of France. Consequently, this book caused shock waves in England and Childers even received the wrath of Winston Churchill such was it's radical prediction. Whilst no invasion via the Frisian Islands materialised, it is allged that this book prompted the navy to develop it's base at Scarpa Flow. Clearly this book was explosive stuff one hundred years ago!
The story concerns two men who uncover the covert plans of the German navy whilst under the pretext of hunting for duck. Whilst the first half of the book concerns itself with aspects of sailing and builds up a tremendous atmosphere that evokes the period and bleakness of the coast of Germany, the pace accelerates as the incredible truth eventually becomes apparent...
Having re-visited this book over and over again, for me it represents my defining image of the twilight of the British Empire. This is a must for all lovers of well -written spy and adventure stories.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This e-version, unlike some others, has a linked table of contents which greatly aids navigation. It also has the charts missing from another e-version I have reviewed. The charts are not linked in the table of contents but you can find them after 'acknowledgements' then bookmark them so that you can easily refer to them while reading the text.The Riddle of the Sands: A Record of Secret Service
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Format: Paperback
This is a beautiful book, I loved every second, have read it cover to cover many times. The story brilliantly captures the nervousness of the period leading up to the Great War. The atmosphere is amazing, you can almost see the cold windswept dunes of the German coast. The tension builds fast to the climax and the ambiguous ending just leaves you wishing that there was more.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I love this book, I've read and re-read it again and again and still get something new out of it each time. The prose style is very much of its time and takes getting used to for a modern reader. Having struggled initially, I now think it's so well written, not as fast-paced as a modern story might be and all the better for it - the clarity and depth of the descriptions strike a balance between the needs of a first-time reader reading for the narrative and the boat-obsessed reader who already knows the story but wants to work out exactly what the tide is doing... I loved it before getting involved in small boats and now that I've become a boat obsessive myself, I like it even more.
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By A Customer on 21 Mar. 2001
Format: Paperback
I suspect, like many people, I was one of those who knew the title of this book but did not have the faintest clue as to its contents. However, I eventually picked up this accessible edition to rectify this lapse and thereby unite the title to a story - I was not disappointed! Childers' novel will appeal to readers interested in detective thrillers and/or maritime adventure. The author is a savant of the terminology of sailing and this (with the reprinted channel navigation charts) creates a real "hands on" feel to the seabourne escapades undertaken by the hero - Carruthers (how English a name!) - and his misanthrope companion Davies - a man who seldom sets foot on terra firma. I shall not eloborate upon the espionage plot of the novel for that would rob readers of the main pleasure of a detective novel. Finally, a word about the novel's atmosphere: the sandbanks and mists, the mudbanks and tidal channels which form the greater part of the setting might not, at first thought, suggest an exotic tale but rest assured, it will be the strangely haunting quality of this half sea/land-scape that anchors the book to the memory.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Erskine Childers was a fascinating character whose life would make a fine subject for a historical novel. This is the book for which he will be remembered, along with the movie version made a few years ago. The book is a good old fashioned ripping yarn, a splendid spy story which is an enjoyable read. The book is lifted above being merely an enjoyable but perhaps forgettable novel by virtue of two things, the first is the authors obvious love of sailing, the book is rich in details of sailing and is almost a manual on how to sail a small boat. Some may find this off putting and dry but for anybody with a love of the sea this is one of the few novels set in a maritime environment which really does have an air of salty authenticity and a sense that the writer really knows the sea and sailing. The second is as a form of social history, the book falls into the invasion scare sub-genre of fiction of the early 20th Century and provides an insight into social attitudes and the deterioration of relations between Britain and Germany of the time. As such it is a book which students of WW1 history should read as it offers a lot in terms of understanding popular attitudes of the time. Unlike most books of this sub-genre which have long been forgotten this one has stood the test of time well as a genuinely fine novel and works on several levels, as an enjoyable spy romp, as a nautical book and as social history, wonderfully evocative it really is a splendid book. Good Kindle transfer too exept for the problem that the charts are at the end of the book and it is difficult to refer to them despite this being quite important in terms of appreciating the story. One point to make, for anybody coming to the book as a result of seeing the movie there are some significant differences between the book and the movie, with the book being far superior to the movie, 5*.
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