View Full Version : Mystery and Crime Childers, Erskine: The Riddle of the Sands. v1. 5 May 07
05-05-2007, 12:17 PM
One of the first great spy novels, "The Riddle of the Sands" is set during the long suspicious years leading up to the First World War. The story builds in excitement as two young men on a sailing holiday discover a German plot to invade England.
This book, published in 1903, was hugely popular and influential in the years prior to WWI. Winston Churchill later said that it directly influenced the Admiralty to build a number of major British naval bases. The book remains worth reading, both as an excellent spy story and also as one of the all-time great sailing novels, for its wonderful depiction of early 20th century small boat sailing, in the days when the two most important things to take along on a cruise were a compass, and a pound of your favourite pipe tobacco.
Unfortunately the author, Erskine Childers, came to a sticky end. He was heavily involved in Irish nationalism and was executed by firing squad in Dublin by the government of the Irish Free State in 1922, regarded as a traitor by all sides in the (then ongoing) Irish civil war.
I've added the maps and charts of the original book to the PG text, which (I think) makes the book tremendously better.
05-05-2007, 02:16 PM
Please consider making this version available to Project Gutenberg. This book definitely should be available in HTML.
BTW there was a nice series from this book in TV many years ago.
05-05-2007, 02:23 PM
It is already at Project Gutenberg (http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/2360), and there's a HTML version (http://castor.zsi.fu-berlin.de/~wofa/segeln/stories/riddle/rs.html) also, which is where I suspect the maps came from...
05-05-2007, 02:30 PM
That's correct. There is an HTML version, but it only seems to be available for reading on-line in a "page by page" manner. I downloaded the maps from that, and added them to the text version which is at PG.
There would be nothing particularly to gain from an HTML version of the book's text, because all it has, over the text version, are italics, which are marked in the usual PG manner of _italics_ in the text version. Obviously I've converted these back to proper italics in my version. The main thing the PG version lacks are the maps, which are in the HTML version.
05-05-2007, 02:33 PM
HarryT, do you use GutenMark (http://www.sandroid.org/GutenMark/) as the first step for your conversions? I've found it to give quite good output on whatever books I've tried..
05-05-2007, 02:35 PM
No, I've not tried that. I'll give it a go. Thanks for the recommendation!
05-05-2007, 02:48 PM
I'm not sure if this site would be a time-savings for you but they have many of the books you have been posting already converted to xml format. Here is the book listed in this thread http://arthursclassicnovels.com/arthurs/mystery/riddls10.xml
The main site is http://arthurwendover.com/arthurs/
The books are from the PG sources but have been cleaned up. Unfortunately it doesn't look like the images are included though.
05-05-2007, 03:00 PM
Thanks, Sartori - I'll take a look at that.
I'll be perfectly honest, though. There are two main reasons I'm converting these books:
Firstly, because I want to read them.
Secondly - and this is the main reason - which is simply that I find it a really fun and satisfying thing to do; to start with a text file and finish up with a good-looking book on the Reader.
I'm doing it really solely for my own selfish reasons. If, by uploading them here, other people also find them interesting to read, that's purely a "bonus".
I'm no saint - I wouldn't be spending several hours a day doing this for any reason other than the fact that I just plain enjoy doing it :grin:.
05-05-2007, 03:17 PM
I know what you mean - I've started to play around with converting stuff. Right now I'm at the point of taking the PG plain text and then locating the scanned copy on archive.org and trying to format the book as close to the original as possible. (This is also a great source of images - I've found searching for the book title + the keyword DJVU is the easiest way to find the original book scans in JPG or TIF)
It is fun to try and overcome the limitations of the lrf file format. I'm still not as skilled in BD as I would like to be but the learning process is enjoyable.
P.S. Thanks for all your contributions, they look great.
05-05-2007, 03:41 PM
Right now I'm at the point of taking the PG plain text and then locating the scanned copy on archive.org and trying to format the book as close to the original as possible. (This is also a great source of images - I've found searching for the book title + the keyword DJVU is the easiest way to find the original book scans in JPG or TIF) That's a very nice tip! I especially love illustrations. I'll look into downloading these and including illustrations...
05-06-2007, 01:48 AM
PG has only the plaintext version.