The Essential Man’s Library: 50 Fictional Adventure Books Edition

by Chris on June 2, 2009 · 183 comments

in Books, Travel & Leisure

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Nothing speaks to the heart of man like a good tale of adventure. Whether in the form of a bedtime story read to young boys or a nail biting page turner that keeps you up at night, the adventure story is one genre of literature that stays with you for a lifetime. The very mention of such novels brings to mind images of buried treasure, hidden deep in the jungle of a deserted island, protected by dastardly pirates and the local cannibal population. Or perhaps the mind jumps instead to the image of a forgotten world, complete with lost civilization and monstrous creatures of a bygone era.

Whatever your personal adventure fantasy, there are some stories we all can relate to. Listed here, in no particular order, are fifty adventure novels that no man should go a lifetime without reading. This is not considered a complete list of all the great adventure novels, so please take advantage of the comments section to share what other adventure novels you recommend to your fellow men. Also, be sure to stay tuned for the upcoming second part of this series, The Essential Man’s  Library: 50 Nonfiction Adventure Books Edition.

And now, to jump into the world of high adventure….

(Note to RSS and Email readers: Because of the length of this post we had to break it up into sections in order for it to appear in your reader or inbox. So, you’ll have to come to site to click through past the first 10. Sorry for the inconvenience.)

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

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A tale of survival, Hatchet traces the story of young Brian, who is left stranded in the Canadian wilderness when his plane crashes. Forced to survive with little food or gear, Brian’s will to live is put to the test.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

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Easily the best known adventure novel, this is Stevenson’s masterpiece. The son of an innkeeper, young Jim Hawkins finds himself thrust into the world of piracy as he joins Long John Silver in the search for buried treasure.

Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

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Stranded on a desert island as a result of a catastrophic shipwreck, a family is forced to survive with nothing but the natural resources available. Eventually, they are able to create an impressive compound within which they are able to live at ease in their jungle surroundings.

Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling

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Follow the adventures of Harvey Cheyne, son of a railroad tycoon, as he is thrown overboard on a steamship journey, only to be rescued by fishermen who eventually mold him into a true seafarer.

She by H. Rider Haggard

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A college professor and his young apprentice follow instructions on a broken pottery shard that lead them to a fabled lost city in the jungles of Africa, where they encounter She Who Must Be Obeyed, the seemingly immortal ruler of the land.

Ayesha: The Return of She by H. Rider Haggard

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Set sixteen years after the events of She, this novels follows the same characters as they travel to the far reaches of the earth seeking out a reincarnation of She Who Must Be Obeyed.

King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard

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Adventurer Allan Quatermain is drafted into a search and rescue party that leads into the great unknown of unexplored Africa, where entire civilizations are discovered and rumors of the location of the mines of King Solomon lead the team on one of the greatest adventures in all of literature.

Out of the dark we came, into the dark we go. Like a storm-driven bird at night we fly out of the Nowhere; for a moment our wings are seen in the light of the fire, and, lo! we are gone again into the Nowhere.

Southern Mail/Night Flight by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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A two for one deal, this book chronicles the dangerous lives of the early mail pilots as told by Saint-Exupery, author of Wind, Sand and Stars and himself an accomplished pilot.

The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle

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This timeless classic by Arthur Conan Doyle inspired the imagination of countless young boys and spawned what is now known as the Lost World genre. Inside its pages the protagonist, Professor Challenger, plays tour guide on an undiscovered plateau in South America, filled with dinosaurs and other mystical creatures that time seemingly forgot.

The Man Who Would Be King by Rudyard Kipling

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Rudyard Kipling’s famous short story about two wandering British adventurers who somehow manage to become kings of Kafiristan, only to suffer a drastic fall from power.

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{ 183 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Andrew October 5, 2009 at 12:56 am

I have to echo all the above posters who mentioned Dune. Frank Herbert is, IMO, one of the best writers of this century.

If you liked Dune, do yourself a favor and read the following five books: Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, God Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune, and Chapterhouse Dune.

Frank Herbert non-Dune books that are excellent: Soulcatcher, and The White Plague. I like most everything he’s written, but those two definately stand above, especially Soulcatcher.

102 Charles October 5, 2009 at 7:03 am

You would have to include any or all of the Horatio Hornblower books. Great for teaching leadership!

103 Shad October 10, 2009 at 7:34 am

Deliverance by Dickey.

The Doc Savage books, especially the ones that took place in jungles.

104 Quentin October 25, 2009 at 5:47 pm

How about Mr. America or some of the other books written by George M. Fraser?

105 Garry G November 26, 2009 at 11:38 am

Sadly, no James Fenimore Cooper.. The Deerslayer or Last of the Mohicans should be on this list.

106 J. Vernon Lusung November 27, 2009 at 2:01 am

I would suggest the Travis McGee series of John D. McDonald. The books feature the adventures of a rugged, modern-day Odysseus cum Don Quixote cum James Bond in the persona of McGee, a charming, salt-of-the-earth type maverick whose testosterone-laced weltanschauung leads him into perilous quests to avenge wronged friends, usually females in mortal distress. Mc Gee’s musings, intellectual digressions and profound insights into the human psyche are delightful in themselves and combined with the action and mayhem he gleefully pursues, make for a wonderful tonic for the macho lurking in all of us. No wonder McDonald is Stephen King’s favorite modern author. The Green Ripper is my favorite along with a whole slew of others whose kaleidoscope of colorful titles make for great reading.

107 Ben R December 3, 2009 at 1:34 pm

I would suggest McCarthey’s “The Road.” What is more manly than a father and son surviving in a post-apocalyptic journey?

108 Erik Wallace December 7, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Great list, I’m looking forward to reading some of these this winter. The Rudyard Kipling book, Captains Courageous sounds very similar to a Jack London book I just finished, “The Sea Wolf”. I recommend it for any Jack London and/or Art of Manliness fans.

109 Shane Heins December 16, 2009 at 11:36 pm

Came upon your site not too long ago. It’s great, alot of fun, enjoying reading throughout. This list is really solid. Has actually inspired me to go back and read a few. Some again, some for the first time. A couple highly recommended submissions I’d have to add:

Last of the Mohicans – James Fenimore Cooper
The Power of One – Bryce Courtney

Keep up the great work:)

110 RON December 17, 2009 at 1:35 am

I can’t believe Star Ship troopers by Heinlein didn’t make this list. Classic homage to those who labor to make men of boys.

111 B.R. December 17, 2009 at 1:28 pm

Most of Cormac McCarthy’s earlier works. Blood Meridian (a personal favorite), Suttree. Some of his later stuff, like All The pretty Horses and No Country for Old Men. The entire Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O’brian. Sailing Around the World Alone, by Joshua Slocum. Adrift, by Steven Callahan.

112 stewart December 24, 2009 at 1:24 am

The works of Robert Service. He may have been a poet but he was the real deal. “There is a land where the mountains are nameless and the rivers all run God knows where, there are lives that are erring and aimless and deaths that just hang by a hair there are hardships that nobody reckons and valleys unpeopled and still o there is a land and it beckons and beckons and I want to go back and I will.” Besides, Homer, and Kipling, who else is there but Service?

113 M Bogwolf December 29, 2009 at 2:27 am

+ Shogun

I get your point about Spy stuff… but no Bond? Ok, how about Holmes or Frakenstien? Winners, I say.

Jack Schaffer’s Monty Walsh!

+ to whomever liked TH White over Mallory, I agree (also prefer Mary Stewart’s Merlin Trilogy, maybe even MZB’s Mists of Avalon – are we allowed to have female protagonists on a Manly page?).

If we’re to have a King book I recommend The Stand

Did I mention Holmes and Frankenstein?

114 james January 3, 2010 at 11:00 pm

May I also suggest NORTHWEST PASSAGE and ARUNDEL by Kenneth Roberts and ROGUE MALE by Geoffrey Household. I was happy to see that you included one of Jim Corbett’s ‘maneater’ books in your non-fiction category. All of his books are wonderful.

115 Ben January 6, 2010 at 1:52 am

Looking at the list brought back many memories as I have read and own many of these works, but you should have included: C. S. Forester’s Hornblower series because reading this introduces you to Patrick O’Brian whose novels have a longer pacing, and to Bernard Cornwell how writes about the same period as well. Stalky and Co. by Kipling is another that should be included as boys always enjoy reading about the doing of other boys.

116 elcidi January 6, 2010 at 10:53 am

I’ve seen The Lord of The Ring’s movies and love them very much but I’ve never read the books. After reading your list, I would consider to read it.
I’m too young to know all of this treasure if you hadn’t mention it here.
Thanks for the lost history & art digging :)

117 David B January 6, 2010 at 1:11 pm

great list! I’m making it my new years resolution to read all the books mentioned.

118 Vince R January 8, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Ender’s Game– story of a child who is summoned to join a military school for elite children, learn the ways of war, and command a fleet to battle an alien insect race. By far, my favorite sci-fi book ever and very ‘manly’ reading. Am assuming author has not read it, because there is no way Michael Crichton’s books can even hold a torch to it in terms of excitement, intrigue, and complexity.

119 Christopher January 19, 2010 at 1:23 pm

I’m a little disappointed you don’t have any of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars stories. You can’t get much manlier than a guy asserting himself as the warlord of a planet by the strength of his fists, and the edge of a sword.

120 BlizzardKing January 25, 2010 at 7:53 pm

“The Winter Room” by Gary Paulsen is a must-read.

“Uncle David” and the way he handles himself (especially at the end of the book) is one of the ultimate depictions of TRUE manliness and sprezzatura.

121 z3px January 26, 2010 at 8:18 pm

I would add 1984 and Fahrenheit 451. I also really loved Ender’s Game, but that already made it into the comments.

122 maddog January 30, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Lot of great recommendations. Robert Howard, most of Heinlein, esp. his juveniles–Tunnel in the Sky, Have Spacesuit, will Travel, Red Planet, etc., as well as Stranger, Moon, and Troopers. Burroughs, Fleming.

To which I would add Trevanian: The Eiger Sanction, the Loo Sanction (which first chapter is the most horrific writing in English, twice, at first reading because you don’t know what’s going on, at second reading because you do) and Shibumi.

The Battle at Maldon Bridge, a ninth century true story about Brtnoth the Saxon Lord giving his life defending his people from the vikings. Extra manliness if you read it in the original Anglo Saxon (not that hard).

Larry Niven’s Ringworld and tales of Known Space. Simply amazing hard science fiction written with a nod at the pulps.

Arthur Conan Doyle’s White Company, about the English and Scot mercenaries in late Midieval Italy, and also yeah, his Sherlock Holmes stuff.

Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, also Quenten Durward and Rob Roy.

Roger Zelazny’s Lord of Light, meditations on identity, opression, Hinduism and revolution cleverly disguised as a fantastic adventure with amazing writing. Also his Lord Demon, Isle of the Dead, and This Immortal, plus his short story collection The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of his Mouth, which contains among others, A Rose for Ecclesiastes.

Poul Anderson’s Three Hearts and Three Lions, and the High Crusade, plus pretty much everything else he ever wrote in a fifty year career.

123 David January 31, 2010 at 12:08 am

Oh man, I really though Tarzan wouldn’t be on here! You had me scared there for awhile; that’s my favorite book of all time. A few other greats I would reccomend to anyone here:

1. The Outlaw of Torn, by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Fantastic medieval adventure.
2. The Mucker, by ERB. Another favorite of mine.
3. The Carson Napier of Venus series, also by ERB. Not nearly as well known as the John Carter series but also very cool.
4. Yondering, by Louis L’Amour. A collection of terrific short fiction drawn from L’Amour’s own experiences around the globe.
5. The Four Feathers, by AEW Mason. A terrific tale of cowardice, courage and redemption.
6. Vertical Run, by Joseph R. Garber. Awesome story about a modern man stuck in the high rise office building where he works, everyone he knows turning against him for a reason that remains a mystery to him and the reader for much of the book. LOVE IT.
7. The White Company, by Arthur Conan Doyle. A great medieval adventure by the author of Sherlock Holmes.
8. Fair Blows the Wind, by Louis L’Amour. Adventure of the swashbuckling sort.
9. The Old Man and the Sea, by Hemingway. Some might not see it as an adventure, but I certainly do.

124 Skyler February 8, 2010 at 8:12 pm

I love “My Side of the Mountain”. I read it in 4th grade and to this day I still make an effort to read it at least once a year. It’s all about becoming a man and learning to live for yourself.

125 KOHNAN February 10, 2010 at 8:44 am

WHAT?! A great list, but if this is about Fiction, and the entire world of fiction, then “Starship Troopers” by Robert Heinlein is missing from it…

I may have missed it on another list, but rarely have I see such a great Tale of human nature and Human Ability. I espcially love how the Proffesor in the book explains so well the possibility of a world working towards a “Common Good.” It’s even a pleasure to entertain thoughts of something like this being possible, but the book shows through a gritty space war, what makes us proud to be human. The Author has often been thought of as a true Gentleman, and adds this possible aspect of his own life to the Novel. I recomend it to anyone, even if his particular thoughts on a working government seem farfetched. It’s nice to dream…

126 Barry Wilson February 12, 2010 at 1:54 am

A great list, and now I have a few in mind for my next read. I have read quite a few, and must say I am in agreement, other than the Cussler’s. Can’t say I have read much of his stuff.
I would like to suggest The River Why (David James Duncan) , if you havent read it yet.
Hands down my all time favorite.

127 John Polk February 25, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Last of His Breed – Louis L’Amour should be on this list, no doubt about it.

While being sci-fi the following deserve mention somewhere, perhaps a sci-fi list:
Dune – Frank Herbert
Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
The first 5 Amber Novels – Roger Zelazny
My Name is Legion – Roger Zelazny
The Man in the High Castle – Phillip K. Dick
Snow Crash – Neal Stevenson
Neuromancer – William Gibson
Foundation – Isaac Asimov
The Demolished Man – Alfred Bester
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
Player Piano – Kurt Vonnegut

128 AP February 27, 2010 at 3:00 pm

My literary minded friends and I usually end up passing around short stories on canoe and fishing trips into the BWCA. These consistently include Hemingway’s short stories, especially the Nick Adams series. “The Big Two Hearted River” is the best camping story ever written, and there’s a reference to it on the label of Bell’s Two Hearted Ale.

129 Ben March 17, 2010 at 1:34 am

I can come up with 50 just by Louis L’Amour alone. But for starters I’ll go with: Bendigo Shafter, Comstock Lode, The Empty Land, Fair Blows the Wind, The Haunted Mesa, The Lonesome Gods, The Mountain Valley War, Jubal Sackett, Reilly’s Luck, Passin Through, Sitka, The Last of the Breed, The Warriors Path, Utah Blaine, Silver Canyon, The Tal Stranger, and finally Where the Long Grass Blows.

After you read those, the next thing you know your entire library will be full of L’amour’s works.

130 Mark Case March 27, 2010 at 2:49 am

Many great books have been recommended already, so I will spare you my opinion of those, and give you perhaps a lesser known book by Orson Scott Card (Ender’s Game gets all the credit) and that would be “Treason”. Treason is easily in my top 5, and I highly recommend it to any one who loved “Ender’s Game”, or a great sci-fi/fantasy adventure.

131 Jon Sandlin March 29, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Can’t wait to get started. Thanks.

132 miles April 4, 2010 at 9:38 am

Going Solo, by Roald Dahl is one of my favorite adventure stories. Dahl, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, writes his memoir about getting a job in Africa as a young man and then becoming a fighter pilot at the outbreak of WWII.

133 Miles April 4, 2010 at 11:08 am

The Flashman series, by WW II veteran George Macdonald Fraser is a wonderful and funny adventure series set in the British Empire during the reign of Victoria. The first novel, Flashman, is fantastic. My personal favorite is the third in the series, Flash for Freedom. In addition to being great adventure stories, the are incredibly funny, unromantic about human nature, and historically interesting.

134 Eric April 7, 2010 at 10:18 pm

When a Man’s a Man by Harold Bell Wright is one of my all time favorites. It was brother’s favorite before me and it was my Dad’s favorite before him!

135 Big J April 14, 2010 at 5:25 pm

One other one is “American Captain” by Edison Marshall. Its out of print, but you can find a used copy on Amazon. One of the greatest adventure books I’ve ever read. Throw in some Alan Quartermain, some Count of Monte Cristo, a little Robert E. Howard and a dash of Jack London. Its in my top 5 books of all time.

136 CWHale May 17, 2010 at 11:38 am

Great list…

I’d add the following:

The Alienist by Caleb Carr – Historical fiction set in 1890s New York as a journalist and psychologist try to track down the first American serial killer. Bonus: Theodore Roosevelt is a secondary character as the Chief of the NYPD.

Any of the John Bellairs gothic mystery/adventure series for teens: The House With The Clock In It’s Walls, The Curse of the Blue Figurine, The Mummy, The Will, and The Crypt – and many more. I loved these when I was a kid (and still do).

Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton (AKA The 13th Warrior) – A great retelling of Beowulf from the eyes of Arabian adventurer Ibn Fadlan.

Jack London was my first favorite author as a kid, but I never read The Sea Wolf. But after so many recommendations, I’ll pick up a copy this week.

137 Ted Joy May 26, 2010 at 10:50 pm

What can I say — you folks ave left out the greatest adventure series of all times: P. C. Wren’s Foreign Legion trilogy of Beau Geste, Beau Sabreur and Beau Ideal.

Also first rate are Alistair MacLean — best known for The Guns Of Navarone — and Bernard Cornwell who writes several historical adventure series.

For kids, I’d recommend the novels of Armstrong Sperry and Howard Pease and thr true adventures of Roy Chapman Andrews, a scientist, explorer and the real-life model for Indiana Jones.

138 Sherrill Philip May 29, 2010 at 7:51 pm

If you want manliness, anything by Hammond Innes.

“Horn of the Hunter” by Robert Ruark

Ernest Hemingway – “Green Hills of Africa”

One of his best Hemingway’s best short stories:
“The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber”
It starts out bad, but by the end the testosterone is flowing. :-)

139 vanessa dmello May 30, 2010 at 12:11 pm

I love reading THE FAMOUS FIVE book written by ENID BLYTON.The author haz described it so very well that i feel as if i’m a part of it .

140 scott June 15, 2010 at 11:42 pm

No Hemingway?…You’re kidding. The Nick Adams Stories or possibly Islands in the Stream belong.

141 Cole June 23, 2010 at 5:43 pm

I didn’t get a chance to read every blog so if it’s already been mentioned then I apologize now. One of my favorite adventure novelists is Wilbur Smith, he is an Adventure Ficton and Historical Fiction writer. I say read the Balantyne Novels first, they follow a family who explored much of Africa through the generaions starting around 1800 A.D.

142 Mike June 24, 2010 at 12:58 pm

If you like adventure books read one of G. A. Henty’s. I would personally recommend starting with “Beric the Briton” or a “Knight of the White Cross”.

Also you should read one of Stephen W. Meader’s books as well. I would recommend “Traplines North” for a start.

143 Alex June 29, 2010 at 8:16 pm

It’d be nice if you poster books that weren’t boring as hell.

144 Alex June 29, 2010 at 8:16 pm

It’d be nice if you posted books that weren’t boring as hell.

145 Andrew July 1, 2010 at 1:05 am

“Papillon” by Henri Charrierre. Greatest adventure story I have ever read. Autobiographical account (perhaps embellished/part-fictional) of a french convict shipped to a penal colony in South America and his continuous escapes and adventures through South America.

Two of my other favourites are “The Power of One” by Bryce Courtenay and the sequel, “Tandia”. About a white boy who grows up in South Africa during apartheid and becomes a boxing champion of the world. Both really engrossing and powerful books.

Some other great non-fiction adventure stories – “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer (greatest mountain climbing story of all time!) and “Kontiki” (account of a group of Norwegian men who build and sail a traditional south american Indian balsa raft from South America to the Polynesian islands). Maybe we need a Non-fiction list also!

146 nick fairman July 8, 2010 at 1:12 am

nice library dude

147 air jordan July 20, 2010 at 9:02 pm

the next thing you know your entire library will be full of L’amour’s works.

148 Bink Owen July 21, 2010 at 11:24 pm

A delightful compilation of adventure novels as well as a treasure of suggestions from readers. I would only suggest two which may have been inadvertently overlooked as I somewhat hurriedly ran down all the suggestions:
“The African Queen” by C. S. Forester
“The Flight of the Phoenix” Elleston Trevor
Thank you, all!

149 Matt October 14, 2012 at 12:14 am

I’d add The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear

150 Ross Chartrand October 27, 2012 at 6:32 pm

Great list, but don’t leave out Alistair Maclean and his works like Where Eagles Dare and Ice Station Zebra!

151 David November 21, 2012 at 3:39 am

Apparently, James Rollins doesn’t get the credit he deserves. The Sigma Force novels are some of the best adventure novels to date.

152 Matthew November 27, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Great list, thanks for doing this! Hard to capture everything, but definitely worth trying. Thanks

153 Trevor Hays November 28, 2012 at 10:46 pm

I still love to read about Captain Stormfield, The Mysterious Stranger, Tom Sawyer, Huck….for any of these works by Mark Twain NOT to be included on this list should cause serious contemplation towards criminality. Respectable list though.

154 gabe December 4, 2012 at 5:43 am

“time enough for love” by Heinlein. other than Alan Quartemain there is no better manly hero than Lazurus Long

155 Jprdan December 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Starship troopers gave me a whole different view on being a citizen of a nation and fighting for it.

156 DS January 3, 2013 at 9:29 am

No Walter Scott? No James Fennimore Cooper? No G.A. Henty? No Charles Kingsley? How can you possibly ignore them?
Also, Prester John by Buchan, and Tom Sawyer, of course.

157 Dan January 7, 2013 at 9:43 pm

BUT YOU’VE ALL OVERLOOKED ONE OF THE BEST ADVENTURE STORIES EVER WRITTEN: WATERSHIP DOWN BY RICHARD ADAMS.

158 Damain January 23, 2013 at 4:53 pm

I see Tarzan, but how can you leave off “Princess of Mars”. Also the “World of Tiers” series by Philip Jose Farmer is a must read.

159 Mr. Potter February 10, 2013 at 10:14 pm

@ Vince R

I posted a proposition on AOM’s “100 Books…” post that Ender’s game should be on the list. It brings the depth of morality, respect, mortality, honor, and humility to the table. A true “must read.”

160 Lewis February 12, 2013 at 1:59 am

Wow, what a great list! So many of the authors mentioned are so utterly peerless in the quality of their work, you could fill whole libraries with a handful of their names. And I’m happily surprised to see a few titles I didn’t expect to see, but has no one yet mentioned Gulliver’s Travels? Has no one mentioned Tom Jones?

161 Titus February 21, 2013 at 9:04 am

Three by Clive Cussler? And Tom Clancy is omitted? I’d recommend Shibumi or The Eiger Sanction by Trevanian. Lost Horizon is another good read.

162 Nick February 28, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Good list. But no Lastof His Breed by Louis Lamore or The Age of Zues by James Lovengrove

163 Daniel March 1, 2013 at 12:58 am

Was looking for some reading material, and stumbled on a gold mine with this article! Thanks!

One adventure I’m nearly through reading (and which I’ve enjoyed very much) is “Mutiny on the Bounty” by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall. I had no idea it was part of a trilogy, and so I am excited to read the next soon.

I never heard about “The Man Who Would Be King” before this, but the description piqued my interest. Thanks again!

164 Leia March 19, 2013 at 11:08 pm

The James Bond novels and the Mack Bolan/Executioner novels. Action/adventure-packed for sure…..

165 Adam April 20, 2013 at 1:48 am

I am now inspired to return to some great books I once read and some new jewels I have not gotten to yet.

No adventure list can be complete without Louis L’Amour books like “The Last of the Breed”.
Fictional tale of the last descendant of an Indian tribe who is shot down near Russia and put in their remote prison (WW1 era i think) and escapes rather quickly but must adapt and rely on his skills he learned as a boy to evade capture and defeat his ultimate rival.

Also, if you likes “Hatchet” there are 4 more sequels (all good).
“The River” for when he returns to the wild with a reporter who wants to document his survival only to turn into a new adventure,
“Brian’s Winter” covers the alternate story-line if he had not been rescued in Hatchet and had to survive the cold winter.
“Brian’s Return” follows Brian as he realizes society isn’t his home anymore, and he returns to the woods.
“The Hunt” covers his tracking of a man-killer that destroyed almost all that he loved. It ties into the history of all the other books and is a captivating read.

166 Owen Garratt April 29, 2013 at 3:21 pm

I’m a huge fan of John D MacDonald and P.G. Wodehouse. John D’s Travis McGee series is, in my opinion, the single best series of Man Fiction to date. Read them and try to refute that claim…

“Plum” Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster books are light comedy that reads almost like a detective story; Bertie gets into some sort of trouble and Jeeves gets him out. Awesome!

167 Julie May 23, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Aside from title already quoted :

- The Grizzly King – James Oliver Curwood : James Oliver Curwood is one of the great in far north fiction, along with Jack London, and this one is his best that I know of, about hunters tracking grizzlies in the far north.
- Moonfleet – John Meade Falkner : Moonfleet inspired the movie by Fritz Lang, but is very unlike it. It is made of awesome. Young John Trenchard, in 18th england, search for the treasure of BlackBeard, a black diamond, and is helped in his ways by the local smugglers.
- The Treasure of the Sierra Madre or The Death Ship – B. Traven : B. Traven wrote some of the best adventures books of all, along with great infos on Mexico and its political ways.

168 Jan May 24, 2013 at 12:42 pm

The Ballad of Flim Flam Man, by Guy Owen. Great book, great characters, great adventures. This is The Adventures Tom Sawyer for grown-ups.

169 James W502 July 5, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Anything by Bernard Cornwell, but his Sharp Series (Napoleonic War), Warlord Chronicles (Celts), and Saxon Stories (Vikings) are particularly good.
Also George RR Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire (Game of Thrones) is very well done.

170 christina anne knight August 6, 2013 at 12:09 pm

I have read many of the books on this list, including those written by Edgar Rice Burroughs (I love the Tarzan series, Pellucidar series, Mars series, Venus series, and the Land that Time Forgot trilogy), Sabatini (Captain Blood, The Black Swan, Scaramouche, The Tavern Knight), and Dumas (his best work- The Count of Monte Cristo, as well as The Three Musketeers, and The Man in the Iron Mask). Another fine work is the Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

171 Joe Murphy August 17, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Henryk Sienkiewicz’s stuff isn’t listed anywhere and it should be. With Fire and Sword and The Deluge are fabulous reads with non-stop action and great introductions to Polish History. The Teutonic Knights is great too. Cecilia Holland’s Firedrake is a great read too – Irish knight at the 1066 Norman Invasion.

172 Vince D August 27, 2013 at 9:11 pm

My all time favorite is Lonesome Dove. The characters are written in such a way that you never want the book to end. I never enjoyed westerns until that book.

George R.R. Martin- a Game of Thrones. Very popular now because of the HBO series, but the books are great.

Surprised to see a The Power of One listed by other readers. It is not that well known bu a great read.

Icarus Agenda by Robert Ludlum, the Bourne books are great as well.

173 Jared September 16, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Much props for including several Crichton books. All someone has to do is get lucky.

174 Jayesh September 22, 2013 at 10:05 am

Well….. the list is good but there are many elements missing like how can anyone forget to have Game Of Thrones and Hunger Games….These are the best novels of all time…..

175 Seth October 22, 2013 at 9:52 pm

Some great books. As addendums, since G.A. Henty has already been mentioned a couple of times as has Louis La’mour and Tom Clancy, I will add Patrick O’Brian and his 21 book Aubrey-Maturin series.

176 Hamlet November 13, 2013 at 3:50 am

Very good list. Lots of classic books here. Some of them are totally new name to me. Thank you for this list.

177 Gilbert7 December 13, 2013 at 2:30 am

Very good list but no Wilbur Smith.

178 ben January 16, 2014 at 12:51 am

How could the great exploits of the one and only John Carter of Mars be forgotten? He is what all men should strive to be, a well built man of about 30 something, 6’2″ with short cropped black hair and keen grey eyes. He is a Calvary man from Virginia, war hero, warlord of all Mars, married the most beautiful women on the planet, has a son just like him in almost all regards, and an infallible sense of justice and chivalry. How does he not make the list?

179 Brad January 26, 2014 at 8:40 pm

I think the list would be better served by listing the best book written by 50 different authors., Not absolutely sure if this would qualify as Adventure, but my unlisted favourite would be “Red Harvest” by Dash Hammett. Talk about edgy! Reading it made me feel like somebody had slipped a blotter of acid into my 4th espresso.

180 Trent March 3, 2014 at 7:22 pm

Louis L’amour wrote a lot of “adventure stories”. In fact he has a collection of them. Probably 400 pages of nothing but manliness! From a tramp freighter captain fighting the germans, to a gritty detective out to bring down the mob.

-Night over the Solomons
-West from Singapore
-Collection of short stories: Vol IV

and others besides.

181 Ben M March 11, 2014 at 6:24 am

It’s already been mentioned, but the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik is great reading.
In the same vein as Peter Pan, Hatchet, and Tolkien’s works, more great books that are entertaining for any age are:
The Monster Blood Tattoo series by D.M. Cornish- not as dark as the name suggests; think of 18th century Europe, with monsters and surgically altered monster hunters.
The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell-A totally different fantasy setting where pirates in floating ships feature heavily; loads of action and many wonderfully detailed pen and ink illustrations throughout.
The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi- modern kids embroiled in adventures with fairytale creatures; much better than the movie.

182 G March 21, 2014 at 8:19 pm

Good list but i missed Ben Hur and Don Quijote.

183 Gabe April 3, 2014 at 1:12 am

I really enjoyed the list many of these books I have read some I Haven’t. I would like to see “The Time Machine” by H.G. Wells or 1984 by George Orwell

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