The Best of Adult Adventure Fiction

In adventure fiction readers follow heroes as they set out on desperate missions, fight overwhelming obstacles and often rescuing themselves and others. Our heroes carry out dangerous assignments or missions as save the day. Typically, there is a happy ending with the hero safe and sound. While that might make you think the stories would become stale or predictable, the very best writers in the genre have written stories that thrill readers, even after years in print or several reads. Here are some of the best examples of adventure fiction authors to get you started in the genre.


Clive Cussler is the contemporary author I suggest most when library patrons ask for adventure novels. His heroes tend to be everything an action-adventure reader loves, without being overly predictable. Cussler's Dirk Pitt series is my personal favorite of his, which has over twenty books at last count. His books include four adult series, three non-fiction books, and two children's books.

Arturo Perez-Reverte is better known for thrillers, but he does have a fantastic adventure series. Captain Alatriste is the first book n the series and introduces the title character. Alatriste is a brooding, swordsman-for-hire in seventeenth century Spain. The sixth book in the series is about to be published, and each swashbuckling installment it worth reading by discriminating adventure lovers.

The late Patrick O'Brian's swashbuckling adventure books were set during the Napoleonic Wars. Master and Commander launches the series, which features Captain Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. They are a surgeon and spy who face dangerous and far-reaching adventures.

Bernard Cornwell writes has a large selection of books to chose from. Honestly I think that readers could start with the first of any series, but the Richard Sharpe Novels are the most well known and offers over twenty books for dedicated readers. The Sharpe series is set in the Napoleonic Wars, the novels follow Sharpe's climb up the military ladder. Sharpe's Tiger, set in India in 1799, is the first book in chronological order.

Umberto Eco's best selling novels include The Name of The RoseFoucault's PendulumThe Island of The DayBefore, and Baudolino. He has also written children's books, academic texts and moral essays. His novels take place in medieval Italy and feature mystery and adventure, often with a literary twist.

Some of the other books in the genre include James Clavell's Shogun, Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, and Louis L'Amour's westerns In The Walking Drum and In The Last of the Breed. Other authors to explore in the genre are Richard Adams, Jack London, James Patterson, Tom Clancy, and William Goldman. For adventure lovers that enjoy a fantasy angle the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, David Eddings, and Robert Jordan will also offer a satisfying read. This is an expansive genre with more authors that I can effectively name, however this should be a good start for new readers to adventure fiction.
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