Wednesday, the 9th of March, and time for Shelf Control once again! Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. To participate, all you do is pick a book from your TBR pile, and write a post about it–what its about, why you want to read it, when you got it, and such. If you participate, don’t forget to link back to Lisa’s page, and do also leave your links in the comments below as I’d love to check out your picks as well!

Today’s pick is a classic espionage story which I have had on my TBR for ages, and still haven’t gotten to–The Riddle of the Sands (1903) by Erskine Childers. Erskine Childers was an English-born Irish writer. He served in the Boer War and the First World War but later became a strong supporter of Irish Republicanism, ultimately being executed by firing squad.

The Riddle of the Sands follows the adventures of Carruthers, a minor official in the foreign office who is invited by his friend Davies on a yachting trip. When he arrives, he finds there is no yacht but a small boat, and their trip turns out to be no ordinary one, for they discover a German plot to invade England. The book was seen as a wake up call to England to attend to her North Sea defences. With its nautical action and suspenseful spycraft it is considered a classic of spy fiction.

This was a book I was always curious about because I’d heard so much about it as a classic espionage book, but I knew very little of what the book was actually about or indeed about Childers. After writing this post though, my curiosity has only increased and I certainly do want to pick up this one.

Have you read this one? How did you find it? Looking forward to your thoughts!

Cover image and book info from Goodreads and author info from Wikipedia

Lisa’s pick this week is by another author I’ve been meaning to pick up for Ages, Early Riser by Jasper Fforde, a scifi story where humans hibernate in winter!


9 thoughts on “Shelf Control #175: The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers

  1. I loved it! It doesn’t have quite the usual arc of a patriotic adventure story because it’s serving as a warning of Germany’s naval ambitions, but that made it rather more interesting, if anything. And the writing is very good – my copy also had lots of maps and charts which added considerably to the fun! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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