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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Riddle of the Sands


I've just read "The Riddle of the Sands", that truly incomparable spy and sailing novel by Erskine Childers, for the umpteenth time, even though I know it more or less by heart.

It is a remarkable book in many ways, if only because it has stayed in print in one edition or another ever since it was first published in 1903. It seems that the account of the sailing adventures of Carruthers and Davies around the East Frisian Islands constantly finds a new audience.

Settle back then and begin at the beginning: "I have read of men who, when forced by their calling to live for long periods in utter solitude—save for a few black faces—have made it a rule to dress regularly for dinner in order to maintain their self-respect and prevent a relapse into barbarism. It was in some such spirit, with an added touch of self-consciousness, that, at seven o'clock in the evening of September 23 in a recent year, I was making my evening toilet in my chambers in Pall Mall." To continue, click here.