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Erskine Childers (1) (1870–)

Autor(a) de The Riddle of the Sands

Para outros autores com o nome Erskine Childers, veja a página de desambiguação.

10+ Works 2,645 Membros 69 Reviews 3 Favorited

Obras de Erskine Childers

Associated Works

Great Spy Stories From Fiction (1969) — Contribuinte, algumas edições77 cópias
The Riddle of the Sands [1979 film] (1979) — Original story — 12 cópias
Escape Stories (1980) — Contribuinte — 9 cópias
Spies and Secret Agents (1993) — Contribuinte — 3 cópias


Conhecimento Comum



Some years ago I heard that this book was purported to be one of the first spy novels, and had been instrumental in persuading the UK government and Admiralty of the danger of German invasion, years before the outbreak of WWI. I wasn't sure what to expect, but the book has a surprisingly easy to read style, apart from the density of seafaring detail and references to maps and charts. Yes, this book comes equipped with two maps and two charts, which the reader is often advised to consult, so won't be for everyone.

The 'conceit' is that Childers is merely editing a real life story based on a diary, charts, maps and the verbal accounts of two young men whom, to safeguard their identities, he has named Carruthers and Davies. Those of us accustomed to umpteen TV comedy sketches over the years where the upper class Englishman is usually called Carruthers might find this slightly amusing. The narrative is written as from Carruthers' POV, as the writer of the diary. He is a landlubber who ends up with more than he bargained for when he accepts an invitation from his old University friend Davies to join him on a duck hunt in the vicinity of the German Frisian islands. Carruthers' previous experience of the sea is as 'a pampered passenger' on a fine steam yacht, but instead he ends up on 'a scrubby little craft of doubtful build and distressing plainness', the Dulcibella, a ship which proves redoubtable during their subsequent adventures.

Davies is a natural seaman with an instinctive feel for handling a boat, especially in the difficult passages around the islands which are treacherous with sandbanks and where boats can easily run aground with the falling of the tide. He is happiest afloat wearing clothes as scruffy as his boat, and is fairly inept in social situations, especially where the subject of a young woman, daughter of a German businessman, Dollmann, is concerned. Carruthers gradually discovers that they are not actually there to shoot duck but because Davies needs a second hand onboard for an investigation into whether or not Dollmann is involved in espionage and German preparations to defend the coast using the navigable inlets along the coast, sheltered behind the line of Frisian islands. Having lived in Germany for a while, Carruthers speaks the language fluently whereas Davies has only a rudimentary ability so it is for this that he has chosen Carruthers to accompany him, plus Carruthers' contacts (he works in the Foreign Office in London).

Davies believes that Dollmann deliberately tried to kill him by offering to lead him through a safe passage and then stranding him in an area where the Dulcibella should have broken up in a storm - Davies escaped only by luck and the arrival of another sailing boat with a helpful owner who towed her back into deep water. Now Davies wants to find out why Dollmann was so determined to stop his explorations of the little channels, something he had been doing for enjoyment but which it seemed Dollmann viewed as the act of a spy from England. The two men proceed on a sometimes foolhardy exploration of the island channels and islands, with Carruthers gradually adapting to onboard life and becoming knowledgeable and capable enough by the end part of the story to carry out his own singlehanded investigation of the coastline.

Despite the difficulties sometimes - a glossary of nautical terms would have been handy - and the small size of the maps/charts which required use of a small magnifier with built in torch - I did enjoy the unfolding of the story, making allowances for the slightly old fashioned style and the occasional inclusion of attitudes or terms that were perfectly acceptable at the time but which are racist or sexist by today's standards. Fortunately, there are not too many of those. A slight criticism is that the final section where Carruthers takes the spying investigation up close and personal should have been imbued with much more tension and suspense.
… (mais)
kitsune_reader | outras 67 resenhas | Nov 23, 2023 |
This book, Childers’s only novel, is said to be the model for all later thrillers from Eric Ambler to John Le Carre. Davies, an oddball friend from university, invites Carruthers to join him cruising on a yacht with perhaps a little duck hunting. The first portion of the book is dedicated to that cruise in language that reeks of upper-crust England. The reader begins to wonder exactly where the story is going when Davies explains that he is searching for someone who nearly killed him and whom he believes is a traitor. Thus begins a cat-and-mouse game packed to the gills with nautical minutiae and terms (many of which were incomprehensible to me). It is a tribute to Childers’s abilities that I kept reading, despite the frequency with which the detailed nautical words and sentences appeared. The story itself, published in 1903, imagines a possible German invasion of England by sea and some of the writing dealing with contemporary politics and contemplating this is fascinating. (Fascinating postscript: Childers, born an Englishman, became involved in Irish politics before and during World War One, eventually using his yacht to bring arms and ammunition to the Irish, arms later later used in the Easter Rising in 1916. He was caught and executed by a firing squad. Said Winston Churchill: "No man has done more harm or done more genuine malice or endeavoured to bring a greater curse upon the common people of Ireland than this strange being, actuated by a deadly and malignant hatred for the land of his birth." In 1973 Erskine Hamilton Childers Jr. was elected the fourth president of Ireland.)… (mais)
Gypsy_Boy | outras 67 resenhas | Aug 22, 2023 |
A lot of technical details about currents, tides and sailing. Best for people familiar with the Friesland area and/or sailing. The espionage aspects were ground-breaking in their realism when first published in 1903 but a bit dated now.
leslie.98 | outras 67 resenhas | Jun 27, 2023 |
Cuando Carruthers, aburrido del verano londinense y de la monotonía de su trabajo en el Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, acepta una invitación de su amigo Davies para participar en un crucero por el Báltico, no sabe que ha dado comienzo a un aventura tan peligrosa como extraordinaria. El yate resulta ser un bote destartalado, y mientras navegan las aguas y las arenas movedizas y traicioneras de las islas a bordo del "Dulcibella", Carruthers comprende que el objetivo de la curiosa expedición no es precisamente cazar patos, y que sus conocimientos de alemán tienen una utilidad insospechada. Sin embargo, a medida que surgen los desafíos, acaba por entusiasmarse con el coraje y la templanza de su amigo, y descubre en su propio interior nuevas fuerzas y un desconocido sentido moral.… (mais)
Natt90 | outras 67 resenhas | Mar 29, 2023 |



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