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The Riddle of the Sands


by
Erskine Childers

 

"Even in the dim gaslight he clashed on my notions of a yachtsman--no cool white ducks or neat blue serge; and where was the snowy crowned yachting cap, that precious charm that so easily converts a landsman into a dashing mariner? Conscious that this impressive uniform, in high perfection, was lying ready in my portmanteau, I felt oddly guilty. He wore an old Norfolk jacket, muddy brown shoes, grey flannel trousers (or had they been white?), and an ordinary tweed cap. The hand he gave me was horny, and appeared to be stained with paint; the other one, which carried a parcel, had a bandage on it which would have borne renewal. "



Two young British yachtsman discover a grave secret on the shifting tides of the North Sea coast, in what is often considered the first spy novel. The Riddle of the Sands is remarkable for its anticipation of the first World War, its timeless descriptions of the North Sea coast, its moments of cynical humor, and of course, the authenticity of the sailing.

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