The Riddle of the Sands is the first modern English espionage novel. Long before World War I, but in an atmosphere of growing mistrust between Britain and Germany, two English sailors stumble into a secret spying mystery on the treacherous and stormy mudflats of the German coast. They sail the Dulcibella into wild wind and weather, and enter a battle of wits with the sea as well as with the mysterious Herr Dollmann and his innocent daughter, Clara. Childers' narrative style is clear and uncomplicated, and his sailing adventure is a joy to read, still popular after one hundred years. He hauled spies and detectives into the twentieth century by favoring fact over romance and combined nineteenth-century adventure from Scott and Stevenson with schoolboy stories, Kipling's Empire, and prophecies of war.