Classic Adventure Novels
Go on an adventure and experience danger and thrills in exciting places with a book or two from this list of classic adventure novels.
A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
In the debut of literature’s most famous sleuth, a dead man is discovered in a bloodstained room in Brixton. The only clues are a wedding ring, a gold watch, a pocket edition of Boccaccio’s Decameron, and a word scrawled in blood on the wall. With this investigation begins the partnership of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Their search for the murderer uncovers a story of love and revenge-and heralds a franchise of detective mysteries starring the formidable Holmes.
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Perhaps the most iconic pirate story of all time, Treasure Island was written by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1881. The book follows young Jim Hawkins who finds himself in possession of a treasure map and embarks on a journey to unearth the pirate booty. His adventure takes him through the turbulent waters of morality, and his subsequent coming of age has captivated generations of readers.
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
The Three Musketeers, by French writer Alexandre Dumas, was first released in serial form in 1844, a year before Dumas’ publication of The Count of Monte Cristo. The story follows young d’Artagnan and his friends Athos, Porthos, and Aramis as they defend honor amidst the power struggles of 17th century France.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
In this thrilling adventure tale by the father of science fiction, three men embark on an epic journey under the sea with the mysterious Captain Nemo aboard his submarine, the Nautilus. Over the course of their fantastical voyage, they encounter the lost city of Atlantis, the South Pole, and the corals of the Red Sea. Along the way, they must battle countless adversaries both human and monstrous. This triumphant work of the imagination shows the limitless possibilities of science and the dark depths of the human mind.
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Rediscover Jack London’s beloved classic in this unique hardbound edition. First published as a serial in the Saturday Evening Post in 1903, The Call of the Wild has never been out of print. Follow a dog named Buck through violence and hardship, loyalty and loss, finally finding himself and his home in the Yukon wilderness. Truly a must-have for London fans, book lovers, and adventurers.
Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
A shipwreck; a deserted island; a single family, wondering if they can survive. Rich in suspense and surprises, The Swiss Family Robinson entices young readers to come along on a wonderful adventure, where each moment brings a new thrill. Featuring amazingly resourceful characters and a wondrous landscape bursting with exotic wildlife and plants, it’s an irresistible tale of ingenuity.
The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas
Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantes is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration. Dumas’ epic tale of suffering and retribution, inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment, was a huge popular success when it was first serialized in the 1840s.
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Daniel Defoe’s enthralling story-telling and imaginatively detailed descriptions have ensured that his fiction masquerading as fact remains one of the most famous stories in English literature. On one level a simple adventure story, the novel also raises profound questions about moral and spiritual values, society, and man’s abiding acquisitiveness. This new edition includes a scintillating Introduction and notes that illuminate the historical context.
The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
The night after a shooting star is seen streaking through the sky from Mars, a cylinder is discovered on Horsell Common in London. At first, naïve locals approach the cylinder armed just with a white flag – only to be quickly killed by an all-destroying heat-ray, as terrifying tentacled invaders emerge. Soon the whole of human civilisation is under threat, as powerful Martians build gigantic killing machines, destroy all in their path with black gas and burning rays, and feast on the warm blood of trapped, still-living human prey. The forces of the Earth, however, may prove harder to beat than they at first appear.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
A consummate prankster with a quick wit, Tom Sawyer dreams of a bigger fate than simply being a “rich boy.” Yet through the novel’s humorous escapades–from the famous episode of the whitewashed fence to the trial of Injun Joe–Mark Twain explores the deeper themes of the adult world, one of dishonesty and superstition, murder and revenge, starvation and slavery.
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
The Jungle Book introduces Mowgli, the human foundling adopted by a family of wolves. It tells of the enmity between him and the tiger Shere Khan, who killed Mowgli’s parents, and of the friendship between the man-cub and Bagheera, the black panther, and Baloo, the sleepy brown bear, who instructs Mowgli in the Laws of the Jungle.
Moby-Dick or, the Whale by Herman Melville
In part, Moby-Dick is the story of an eerily compelling madman pursuing an unholy war against a creature as vast and dangerous and unknowable as the sea itself. But more than just a novel of adventure, more than an encyclopedia of whaling lore and legend, Moby-Dick is a haunting, mesmerizing, and important social commentary populated with several of the most unforgettable and enduring characters in literature.
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle
Don your Lincoln green and prepare for merriment!
What could be merrier than joining Robin Hood’s band of Merry Men for adventures in the English countryside? Pirates of the trees rather than the seas, Little John, Friar Tuck, Will Scarlet, and many others ensure that Robin’s clever schemes relieve the rich of their excess treasures and redistribute the wealth to those most in need.
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
The story of the orphan Oliver, who runs away from the workhouse only to be taken in by a den of thieves, shocked readers when it was first published. Dickens’s tale of childhood innocence beset by evil depicts the dark criminal underworld of a London peopled by vivid and memorable characters – the arch-villain Fagin, the artful Dodger, the menacing Bill Sikes and the prostitute Nancy. Combining elements of Gothic Romance, the Newgate Novel and popular melodrama, Dickens created an entirely newkind of fiction, scathing in its indictment of a cruel society, and pervaded by an unforgettable sense of threat and mystery.
Have you read any of these classic adventure novels?
Are any of these books on your TBR? Have you read any books from this list? What books would you add to this list?