Robert Erskine Childers (1870-1922), universally known as Erskine Childers, was the author of the influential novel Riddle of the Sands and an Irish nationalist, who was executed by the authorities of the nascent Irish Free State during the Irish Civil War. He was the son of British Orientalist scholar Robert Caesar Childers; the cousin of Hugh Childers and Robert Barton; and the father of the fourth President of Ireland, Erskine Hamilton Childers.
The Riddle of the Sands: A Record of Secret Service Recently Achievedby Erskine Childers
Written in 1903 by the active and ultimately executed Irish republican Erskine Childers, "The Riddle of the Sands: A Record of Secret Service Recently Achieved" unfolds the story of a minor official in the Foreign Office, Carruthers, and his complete boredom with his occupation. Although his prospects are good, he feels an emptiness in his life, and this in large part encourages Carruthers to go sailing with his friend Davies. This acquaintance suspects German naval activity in the Baltic, and the two overcome numerous obstacles, both by suspicious German patrol boats and tricky inshore sailing, to discover information that complicates the feelings of both young men. The lone masterpiece of a man who died for a cause, this earliest of spy thrillers details not only the love of Davies, but the revival of Carruthers in a time of intrigue, adventure, suspicion, and burgeoning war.
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