The Riddle of the Sands

Written by Erskine Childers

In the rough waters of the North Sea, two sailors fight to save Britain

Charles Carruthers is languishing in the crushing heat of a London summer when an old university chum named Davies throws him a lifeline, inviting him on a yachting expedition in the North Sea. It sounds like a lark, but Carruthers finds that the Dulcibella is hardly a yacht, and Davies’s trip is no pleasure cruise. Off the coast of the mysterious Frisian Islands, he has spotted a German fleet, supposedly engaged in hunting for buried treasure. Battling the elements, the two Englishmen find themselves surrounded by the German navy, which is using the fogs of the North Sea to disguise something monstrous—the Kaiser’s plot to launch a sneak attack on the British Isles.

Published more than a decade before World War I began, this groundbreaking spy novel inspired a young Winston Churchill to reinvigorate Britain’s naval defenses, and it remains just as stirring today.

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