booklady's Reviews > The Riddle of the Sands

The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Jun 29, 2012

bookshelves: 2012, adventure, autobiography, classic, crime, fiction, historical-fiction, history, travel, war, favorites, worth-reading-over-and-over, literature
Read from June 27 to 29, 2012

I've had this book on my shelves for so many years (and then delayed reading it!) I was worried my edition might not be pictured here on goodreads. Of course I needn't have feared. Riddle of the Sands is such a classic and the folks here on goodreads so resourceful, every edition of this early English spy novel is bound to be listed—though I wouldn't know them all.

I read and listened to this book and I'm not sure I would have gotten through it any other way.* It's very technical for this non sea-faring gal. Over and over again I found myself wishing to share it with my nautical brother who has departed this life. Mike would have loved this book! At only 10 years old he had built a boat for himself to take down to our ‘lake’. He was sailing with my Dad not long after that—not on a yacht but on a 29 foot sloop. I will definitely be giving my copy of this to my father next time I see him. He will love it! But I digress...

The action of The Riddle of the Sands centers around two young men, Arthur Davies, the owner of the yacht, Dulcibella and his friend, Charles Carruthers, who he asks to join him in adventure along the north coast of the German Frisian islands. The story concerns their quest to uncover the true identity of a local sea-captain, Dollmann, and his purpose in navigating these waters. There are other minor characters who may—or may not—be in cahoots with Dollmann and there are numerous hypotheses offered as to why Dollmann is where he is doing what he’s doing, some of them legit and others not so, but always Davies and Carruthers are battling dwindling time and the elements, especially the sea, sands and fog.

The Riddle of the Sands is an epic story which made history when it was published in 1903 and still stands as a modern classic. A must read, whether you have your sea legs or not!

There is also a 1979 movie which I have not yet seen.

* Audio Editions has an excellent version of this book, the only drawback being the lack of maps and charts included in the book. However, considering the technical nature of some parts of the book, I also appreciated being able to listen as well as read silently to myself. Forced to choose one over the other, however, I would recommend the written text.
3 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Riddle of the Sands.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

06/22 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Homeschoolmama (new)

Homeschoolmama Oh I felt that way about Treasure Island! Lots of nautical terms I didn't know and had to look up or infer from context. This book sounds suspenseful! Thanks for your excellent review. Isn't it bittersweet when you pick up something, (a book, a CD) that you know your late sibling would enjoy? Brings up a lot of emotions for me....

message 2: by booklady (new) - added it

booklady Yes it did... Good emotions mostly. One of the characters reminded me of my brother in fact. ☺

back to top