The Riddle of the Sands, Paperback

The Riddle of the Sands Paperback

3 out of 5 (2 ratings)


While on a duck-hunting holiday sailing in the Frisian Isles, Carruthers and his friend Davies become suspicious of German naval activity off the North Sea Coast.

The pair decide to investigate, and are soon embroiled in a world of suspense and intrigue, and the pair set about foiling nothing less than a plot to invade England. Initially published in 1903, The Riddle of the Sands proved a prescient vision of the Anglo-German conflict that was to culminate in the First World War.

This thrilling adventure is now regarded as the first - and one of the best - spy novels ever written, inspiring later masters of the genre from John Buchan to John le Carre.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336 pages, maps
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9781843549086



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

I read this as book more as a chore than anything else - a chance to read the father of modern spy thrillers. It is overlong and requires/assumes a knowledge of sailing few landlubbers will comprehend. The language and attitudes reflect the early twentieth century in which it was written that seem very outmoded to us now. There is a certain something about this, though. The technical sailing descriptions and talk do push us into the time and place and the suspenseful lack of action and lack of outright villainy do keep us guessing about who is doing what, when and to whom.

Review by

One on level very boring, as little happens, certainly by modern spy thriller standards. But it is enjoyable enough once you relax into its stately rhythms and allow yourself to be drawn into a very specific world, namely sailing around the shallows of the German North Sea coast at the turn of the 20th century. The ultimate pay-off, however,is far too mild for my, perhaps too modern tastes (and is revealed in the cover blurb anyway).