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Childers, (Robert) Erskine

irish adventure ireland

(Irish, 1870–1922)

Born in London, Erskine Childers grew up in Ireland and studied law at Cambridge. He worked as a clerk in the House of Commons and served in the Boer War, publishing a non-fiction account of his experiences, In the Ranks of the C.I.V. (1900). He is chiefly remembered as the author of The Riddle of the Sands (1903), an adventure story that tells the tale of two amateur yachtsmen who stumble across a German plan to invade England while visiting the Baltic. The novel is often cited as one of the earliest spy thrillers. Childers moved to Ireland in 1920, and was made Director of Publicity for the Irish Republicans. Following the creation of the Irish Free State he fought with the IRA and was court martialled and executed by firing squad in Dublin in 1922.

John Buchan. See ADVENTURE, SPY  WB

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