Ahoy! Welcome to The Riddle of the Sands Adventure Club.
The central mission of the Club is to convert one of the nation’s favourite ripping yarns into a real-life adventure - and then publish the new story of that adventure, both in digital form and in print.
The yarn in question is ‘The Riddle of the Sands’ by Erskine Childers, first published in 1903. Set on the windswept sea shores and islands of Germany’s Baltic and North Sea coasts, the story has two British heroes stumbling onto a dastardly conspiracy which could change the world. Think Richard Hannay in oilskins or Eric Ambler wearing a sou’wester.
This is a book that is curiously specific about dates and locations. Our two heroes – Carruthers and Davies – meet at Flensburg, Germany on September 26 and end their adventures on October 26 at Ostmahorn, Holland. It’s entirely possible, therefore, to map out the entire story day-by-day.
Better still, the book offers the enticing prospect of being able to retrace accurately the footsteps and sailing routes of Carruthers & Davies, and thus, to play out the book in real time.
Lloyd notDavies and Tim notCarruthers aim to walk, cycle and sail the route from Flensburg to Ostamahorn using only the book as our guide – stopping when night falls in one chapter and continuing the journey the next day, starting from the very next sentence in the book, in the exact same timeframe as the novel itself.
When we’ve completed the adventure part of our project, we will have all the elements needed to create a very special Handbook Edition of the Riddle of the Sands
This will contain the original text of Childers’ novel, beautifully assembled with exquisite charts, photographs and illustrations. And it will also be a guide to the places featured, a travelogue of our adventures reliving its events, and a set of fascinating historical anecdotes that put the story into context. There’ll be practical information about planning your own adventure – boat hire, cycle paths, hotels, B&Bs, places to visit. And there’ll be pictures and, of course, maps. Lots and lots of maps.
ADVENTURE CLUB ONLINE: FIELD AUDIOBOOK, LIVE STREAMING, DAILY UPDATES
On September, 23 when the adventure begins, those who have paid to support the project will be able to access the site and, for a month, follow our adventures in northern Germany, as we seek to follow in the footsteps (or rather the wake) of Carruthers and Davies.
There’ll be videos, photos, blog posts and, most importantly, we’ll be reading the book, day-by-day, from the very places it describes. By the end of the adventure – on October 26 – we’ll have a full unabridged atmospheric Field Audiobook.
Already hundreds of Club members are enjoying free podcasts, regular posts from notCarruthers and notDavies and lots of useful comments, insights and information from fellow Club Members at http://www.riddleofthesands.net
So what are you waiting for? Pledge your support and join the Riddle of the Sands Adventure Club today. As Davies writes in his letter to Carruthers: “Forgive this hail of directions, but I’ve a sort of feeling that I’m in luck and that you’ll come.”
In The Shed on Unbound, everyone who pledges support for the Handbook can get hold off a free sample chapter covering October 2 in the book. You’ll also find the Field Audiobook files for October 2 and October 3 in the Shed - but only after you’ve pledged.
We publish loads of free content on http://riddleofthesands.net - including regular podcasts that can also be found on Soundcloud and iTunes - that will give you a strong sense of what we’re about.
The elements that will make up the Handbook they are:
The Locatd Edition
During one of our many wanderings, this time in Lincolnshire, we acquired a ragged 1920s edition of ‘The Riddle of the Sands’ that not only seems to be chopped up by date, but also has notes scribbled all over by its owner, known as ‘H.G’ – or maybe ‘O.K’. We’ll be reproducing pages from this edition and will attempt to decode what all the scribbles mean…
2: The Original Text
The Handbook will include Childers’s original story, so you can take this great adventure novel out into the field and follow it day by day.
We’re going to produce maps that merge the world of 1898 with present-day Germany, so you can follow the route of Carruthers and Davies precisely (or as precisely as nature and modern trespass laws will allow).
4. Advice for Adventurers, Historical & Cultural Notes
There’ll be Handbook entries on where to stay, what to eat, things to see and do – and a wealth of information about all the references in the original book to historic landmarks, people of note, clothes, food, national customs, politics, war, duck-shooting, sailing, piracy, pipes and so much more.
5. Photos & Archive Images
The Handbook will not only contain photos from our travels through modern-day Germany, but also
relevant archive material that relates to incidents and references in the book.
6. More Maps
For every day in the book there’ll be a map to guide you through the adventure and show you exactly where Carruthers and Davies are at point in the story.
All supporters get their name printed in every edition of the book. All levels include immediate access to the author's shed.