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15 Thrilling Adventure Books For Adults

A guide to help you pick from some of the best adventure books for adults

Hey fellow adventure-seekers! As someone who has always found solace and excitement within the pages of coffee table books and adventure books, I’m thrilled to share with you a curated list of the best adventure books for adults. 

There’s something timeless and enchanting about the call of adventure, drawing us into worlds both familiar and fantastical. 

In this blog post, I’ll be your guide through a diverse selection of novels that have stood the test of time, captivated hearts, and ignited the imaginations of adult readers. 

From classic tales of revenge and exploration to modern thrillers, fantasy epics, and cultural odysseys, let’s embark together on a literary journey filled with excitement, danger, and the unquenchable thirst for the unknown. 

Get ready to dive into worlds where every page is a new discovery, and the only limit is your imagination. Adventure awaits!

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Classic Adventure Books For Adults

1. The Count of Monte Cristo

By Alexandre Dumas

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As a lover of classic literature, few books have captivated me quite like “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas. 

This timeless tale of revenge has earned its place as one of the best adventure books for adults, featuring complex characters, intricate plot twists, and a satisfying conclusion that leaves readers feeling triumphant. 

Even in today’s world, where the definition of justice is constantly being debated, this story has endured as a timeless exemplar of what revenge can look like. 

There’s something about seeing the underdog triumph over their oppressor that is so satisfying, even if the methods used are somewhat questionable. 

For these reasons and countless more, “The Count of Monte Cristo” continues to be a beloved classic that entertains readers of all ages.

2. King Solomon’s Mines

by H. Rider Haggard

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When I first picked up a copy of “King Solomon’s Mines” by H. Rider Haggard, I dove headfirst into the heart of Africa. 

This classic adventure novel has captivated readers for over a century with its thrilling plot and vivid descriptions of the African landscape. 

As I followed the protagonist, Allan Quatermain, on his dangerous journey to find the mythic diamond mines, I found myself completely immersed in the story.

It’s no wonder that “King Solomon’s Mines” is considered one of the most famous adventure novels of all time. 

The book takes readers on a wild ride through uncharted territory, introducing them to exotic animals, mysterious tribes, and of course, plenty of treasure. 

If you’re looking for a gripping tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat, look no further than the pages of “King Solomon’s Mines“.

3. Moby-Dick

by Herman Melville

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I’ll never forget the first time I picked up “Moby-Dick” by Herman Melville. From the moment I started reading, I was transported to a world of sea adventure that was both thrilling and poetic. 

With every page, I was drawn further into the story of the vengeful Captain Ahab and his obsessive pursuit of the great white whale. 

But “Moby-Dick” is more than just a classic adventure novel. It’s a work of literature that explores themes of obsession, madness, and the search for meaning in a chaotic world. 

Melville’s writing is both visceral and philosophical, making this book a timeless masterpiece that continues to captivate readers today. 

Anyone who loves books that challenge and inspire would be remiss not to pick up this literary classic.

Modern Thrillers Adventure Books for Adults

4. Angels & Demons

by Dan Brown

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Having a great love for adventure thriller books, “Angels & Demons” by Dan Brown has always been one of my favorites. 

This gripping symbology-driven thriller delves into the age-long feud between science and religion, revealing the dark secrets that lie beneath the Vatican City.

The page-turning plot, combined with the rich history, unique symbology, and action-packed scenes is what sets it apart from other books in the same genre. 

As I journeyed through this book, I felt as though I was right in the midst of the action, traveling through the streets of Rome with Robert Langdon in his quest to save the Catholic Church from the Illuminati. 

Dan Brown truly knows how to keep his readers engaged with his masterful storytelling and thought-provoking themes. 

Overall, “Angels & Demons” is a must-read for anyone looking for a thrilling adventure into the unknown.

5. The Martian

by Andy Weir

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If you’re looking for a science fiction adventure book that will leave you on the edge of your seat, then Andy Weir’s “The Martian” is a must-read. 

As I started reading, I was drawn into the survival story on the Red Planet, feeling like I was a part of the crew stranded on Mars. 

Weir’s attention to detail and scientific accuracy made me feel like this could be a real-life scenario. 

And while the situation they were in was dire, there were moments of humor and camaraderie among the crew that made me feel like I was right there with them. 

All in all, “The Martian” is a thrilling exploration of what it takes to survive in the harshest of environments, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for an informative, enthusiastic, and personal journey into science fiction.

6. Outlander

by Diana Gabaldon

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I first discovered Outlander by Diana Gabaldon on a visit to my local bookstore. As an avid reader of adventure fiction books for adults, I was immediately drawn to the stunning cover art and intriguing synopsis. 

Little did I know, I was about to embark on a unique and captivating time-traveling historical adventure. 

Gabaldon’s vivid descriptions and detailed world-building transported me to 18th century Scotland, where I fell in love with the strong-willed heroine, Claire Randall, and the charming Scottish Highlander, Jamie Fraser. 

What sets Outlander apart from other books in its genre is its ability to seamlessly blend historical fiction, romance, and fantasy elements. 

I found myself completely engrossed in this captivating tale, eagerly turning the pages to see what adventures Claire and Jamie would experience next. 

Outlander has truly earned its well-deserved reputation as a must-read for any fan of adventure fiction books for adults.

Fantasy Adventures Books 

7. Neverwhere

by Neil Gaiman

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After reading “Neverwhere” by Neil Gaiman, I was completely absorbed in the dark and fantastical world that he created. 

The story follows a young man named Richard who becomes invisible to the society he once belonged to and is dragged into the dangerous and twisted world of London Below. 

The characters he meets on his journey are fascinating, each with their own unique quirks and backstories that add to the depth and intrigue of the novel. 

As someone who enjoys fantasy adventure books for adults, “Neverwhere” did not disappoint. Gaiman’s writing style is immersive and descriptive, making it easy to picture the eerie settings and characters he portrays. 

Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a thrilling and imaginative read.

8. The Princess Bride

by William Goldman

- 15 Thrilling Adventure Books For Adults

The Princess Bride by William Goldman is one of the best adventure novels that I have ever read. 

The story takes place in a whimsical and romantic fairy-tale world and follows the journey of two lovers, Buttercup and Westley. 

As you delve deeper into the pages of the book, you become fully immersed in their thrilling adventure filled with sword fighting, giant rodents, dangerous cliffs, and even a bit of magic. 

The characters are so well-developed that you find yourself rooting for their success and heartbroken over their failures. 

William Goldman captures the essence of true love and adventure with his masterful storytelling and creative prose. This book is a must-read for anyone who loves a good adventure novel.

Contemporary and Cultural Adventures

9. Out of Darkness, Shining Light

by William Goldman

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From the moment I cracked open Petina Gappah’s Out of Darkness, Shining Light, I felt as though I was embarking on an incredible journey through Africa’s rich history and culture. 

As I turned each page, I found myself becoming more immersed in the story of the eleven African men and women who carried the body of Scottish explorer, Dr. David Livingstone, across the continent to the coast. 

Gappah’s vivid descriptions of the African landscape and the people who inhabited it left me feeling as though I was right there with them on their incredible trek. 

Out of Darkness, Shining Light is easily one of the greatest adventure books I have ever read, and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in exploring the often-overlooked history and culture of Africa.

10. The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters

by Balli Kaur Jaswal

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Having just finished reading “The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters” by Balli Kaur Jaswal, I can say with certainty that it is a captivating contemporary adventure fiction book. 

The novel explores the journey of three estranged sisters who are brought together to fulfill their late mother’s last wish of taking her ashes back to India. 

From the bustling streets of Delhi to the serene and mystical Golden Temple, the sisters embark on a journey of discovery, love, and bonding. 

As an avid reader of adventure fiction books, I was pleasantly surprised by how Jaswal seamlessly interweaved cultural and family themes into the story. 

It was a truly enriching experience to delve into the world of the Shergill sisters and their unlikely adventures.

Outdoor Adventures Books for Adults

11. The Great Alone

by Kristin Hannah

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I have to tell you about one of the most amazing outdoor adventure books I’ve ever read – The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. 

This book takes you on a journey into the Alaskan wilderness, where a family tries to survive against all odds. 

The father, a Vietnam War vet, takes his wife and daughter to live off the grid in an isolated, beautiful landscape that is both serene and deadly. 

The descriptions of the natural surroundings are breathtaking, but the challenges the family faces are heart-wrenching. 

You’ll cheer them on as they learn to hunt and fish, but cringe as they struggle against the harsh conditions and their own tumultuous relationships. 

It’s a story that will leave a lasting impression on you, one that shows the power of resilience and the beauty of human connection even in the toughest situations.

12. The Lost Pianos of Siberia

by Sophy Roberts

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I recently had the pleasure of diving into the world of “The Lost Pianos of Siberia” by Sophy Roberts, a captivating travel and adventure book that explores the remote landscapes of Siberia through the lens of pianos. 

As I devoured page after page, I was struck by the richness and depth of Siberian culture and music, as well as by the tenacity and ingenuity of those who sought out long-lost pianos in the most unlikely of places. 

Roberts’ personal anecdotes and reflections added to the book’s charm and made me feel as if I too was on this cultural and musical adventure. 

The Lost Pianos of Siberia” is a must-read for anyone seeking to explore a fascinating and little-known corner of the world.

13. Wild

by Cheryl Strayed

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The journey that Cheryl Strayed embarked on in her book “Wild” was nothing short of transformative. 

As I followed her story of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, I couldn’t help but feel inspired to take on my own travel adventure.

The book captures not only the physical challenges of the trail, but also the emotional journey that comes with pushing yourself to your limits. 

It’s one of the most compelling true adventure books that leaves you feeling empowered and motivated to take on the challenges in your own life. 

If you’re a lover of survival stories books based on true stories, “Wild” is a must-read that you won’t be able to put down.

Other worth mentioning Adventure Books for Adults

14. Heart of Darkness

by Joseph Conrad

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I have read many books over the years, but few have ever taken me on a journey quite like Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. 

The story itself follows Marlow’s harrowing experience in the Congo, as he uncovers the true horrors of humanity. 

The fact that Marlow is retelling the story as he sits on a boat approaching London only adds to its depth, making it all the more personal. 

From the moment I began reading, I was completely engrossed in Marlow’s tale. The suspense and tension throughout was palpable, leaving me on the edge of my seat. 

It’s no wonder that Heart of Darkness is considered one of the best fiction adventure books of all time. It’s a literary masterpiece that will linger with you long after you’ve read the final page.

15. The Lost World

by Arthur Conan Doyle

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I was completely swept away by the world of science fiction novels, and one that captured my imagination early on was Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. 

The intricate layers within the plot, the commentary on imperialism, and Conrad’s masterful use of language entranced me. 

However, as much as I loved Heart of Darkness, I couldn’t help but feel drawn to another classic novel in the genre: The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. 

The idea of a hidden plateau filled with prehistoric creatures fascinated me like nothing else. 

From the moment I began reading, I was transported to that mysterious land and joined the expedition in their quest to uncover its secrets. 

Even today, I still find myself drawn back to The Lost World and the sense of awe and wonder I first experienced when reading this gripping tale.

16. The Road

by Cormac McCarthy

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I remember the first time I picked up “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy. As a lover of adventure books for young adults, I was immediately drawn to the dystopian father-son story. 

The book takes you on a journey that is both heart-wrenching and hopeful, as the pair navigates through a post-apocalyptic world. 

As I read, I felt like I was right there with them, battling against the harsh realities of this new world. I was constantly on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next. 

The relationship between father and son was so beautifully written, that it tugged at my heartstrings. 

The book left a lasting impression on me, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for an adventure that will make you think and feel deeply.

My final thoughts on Adventure Books For Adults

Woman Standing Beside Book Store, sustainable travel, looking for the best adventure books for adults.

Admittedly, the world of adventure books for adults is vast and fascinating. As demonstrated in this post, there are exciting stories from around the world and across history that have been turned into timeless adventures. 

From Ancient Egyptian myths to Spanish comedies to a sweeping fantasy epic, these are tales about courage, resilience, and the triumph of optimism that can still transport us back in time. 

So if you’re ever in need of a captivating adventure story to lose yourself in, why not revisit one of these classics? 

After all, with all of these incredible books available out there, you won’t know how much thrilling fun awaits until you dive right into one!

Check out the best survival books non-fiction that are even more full of suspense and tell true stories of people surviving into the wild.

FAQ about Adventure Books For Adults

What are the best modern adventure books for adults?

Some of the best modern adventure books for adults are American Gods by
Neil Gaiman, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, or Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

What are the best fantasy adventure books for adults?

Some of the best fantasy adventure books for adults are Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin, Stardust by Neil Gaiman, or the The Name of the Wind
Patrick Rothfuss.

What are the best non fiction adventure books for adults?

Some of the best non fiction adventure books for adults are Into the Wild
Jon Krakauer, In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick, or Touching the Void
by Joe Simpson.