Ahoy! And welcome to The Riddle of the Sands Adventure Club.
This is an experiment in reading. Deep reading. Real-world reading. Adventurous reading.
We’re planning to have an adventure by means of a book. The book in question is The Riddle of the Sands, the first spy novel. It was written in 1903, and it takes place between the dates of September 23 and October 26 in an unspecified year.
It starts in London, it finishes in Amsterdam, and in between our two heroes, Carruthers and Davies, sail their way from the Baltic to the North Sea, via the Kiel Ship Canal, and uncover an extraordinary plot among the windswept and tide-drenched East Frisian Islands.
A plot they set out to confound, of course.
That’s their adventure. Our adventure is to follow in their footsteps: to visit the same places, in the same timeframe as they did, to try and experience the world through their eyes, to try and make this vivid, extraordinary, riveting book come alive again.
We call it taking a book for a walk. We’d like you to join us.
How? Well, you can read our posts about the first day of the book, September 23rd. They cover a pretty wide swathe – a shooting lodge with extraordinary similarities to James Bond’s childhood home, a visit to the music halls of the Ratcliffe Highway, a search for galvanized rigging screws, even a glimpse inside a gentleman’s club.
Or you could listen to our first weekly podcast, in which we talk about some of these matters, and chat to London’s last ship chandler about his extraordinary shop. Or read our article about it.
And when you’ve done all that, you could join our adventure club, and get updates about new discoveries, and, in six months from now, experience our adventure as we experience it.
As Davies says, in his letter to Carruthers that kicks this whole thing off:
Forgive this hail of directions, but I’ve a sort of feeling that I’m in luck and that you’ll come.
Will you? Adventures are thin on the ground these days. How about joining us in ours?
Carruthers (aka Tim Wright)
Davies (aka Lloyd Shepherd)