Languishing one summer at the Foreign Office in London, Carruthers is rescued by an unexpected invitation to join Arthur Davies on the `Dulcibella` in the Baltic. A grouse-shooting party or a weekend at Cowes would have been more Carruthers`s style. More disconcerting still, soon after his arrival it emerges that Davies needs his assistance, not on a yachting holiday, but in a spot of amateur spying ... Sounding a warning of the dangers of a German sea-borne invasion, `The Riddle of the Sands` created a sensation when it appeared in 1903. Recognizably the great forerunner of the espionage novels of Graham Greene and John Le Carre, its vivid period flavour and richly detailed background of inshore sailing have made it a classic among yachtsmen as well as among spy-thriller addicts.