CHILDERS, Erskine.

The Riddle of the Sands.

£4,800

The Riddle of the Sands.
A record of secret service recently achieved.
London, Smith, Elder, & Co., 1903.

In stock

The Riddle of the Sands.

Description

A superior example of a Haycraft-Queen Cornerstone title, notorious for being found either incomplete or in poor condition. Erskine Childers (1870-1922) was an enigmatic man, an early career in the House of Commons masking an adventurous and romantic spirit that saw him voyaging abroad in small sailing boats to the European coastline and outlying islands. This innate duality obviously serves as a base for the character and adventures of The Riddle of the Sands’ chief protagonist Carruthers as he becomes increasingly aware of the imminent threat posed by the German navy.

The Riddle of the Sands contains a wealth of nautical information and a wonderfully evocative sense of the sea & landscape traversed; he maintains a sense of pace and excitement that has thrilled readers ever since publication, defining it as landmark title of the 20th century, comparable with Buchan’s The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915) in its significance both as an espionage thriller and an example of the “invasion” literature of the Edwardian period. The book was also in 1979 turned into a film, starring Michael York and Simon MacCorkindale.

Erskine Childers was eventually sentenced to death for the possession of an illegal firearm in Ireland, after years of growing political dissatisfaction that had seen him involved with gun-running and propaganda writing for the Irish Republicans. Seen by many in England as a traitor following his actions in Ireland, his reputation was fortunately rescued by time and the popularity of this typically paradoxically and fervently patriotic novel, securing his place amongst the great spy novelists of all time.

Description

First edition, first impression. 8vo. Folding frontispiece map, 3 further maps & charts including one folding, 4pp. advertisements, coeval ownership signature to half-title, minor foxing mostly to terminal ff. and extremities, front free endpaper seemingly replaced some time ago, possibly to remove earlier ownership markings, otherwise internally very good, publisher’s near-black cloth blocked and lettered in white, the infamously susceptible lettering to spine retained brightly and to a unusually large degree, usual minor bumping and rubbing, but overall a sharp, tight copy.

Bibliography

 

Stock ID: 95807