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About The Author Irish nationalist Robert Erskine Childers (1870 -1922) smuggled guns to Ireland in his sailing yacht and was also the father of the fourth President of Ireland, Erskine Hamilton Childers. In his 1903 novel Riddle of the Sands he lays the groundwork for a series of invasion fiction preceding World War I. His novel is stylish however, using documents, maps and other evidence to wind a believable tale of intrigue on the high seas.