The Riddle of the Sands: A Record of Secret Service (not yet read)

An early example of the espionage novel, this 1903 novel by Erskine Childers “owes a lot to the wonderful adventure novels of writers like Rider Haggard, that were a staple of Victorian Britain. It “established a formula that included a mass of verifiable detail, which gave authenticity to the story – the same ploy that would be used so well by John Buchan, Ian Fleming, John le Carré and many others.” Ken Follett called it “the first modern thriller.”


Available at Project Gutenberg to read online or to download to Kindle.

This is also available at Librivox but after reading the few reviews I’ll likely never read it. The first half is very technical about sailing the German North Sea coast, requiring following along on maps provided in the print version. The whole thing is described as slow and somewhat dry, with some excitement toward the end. Oh, well.