59 Best Adventure Books of All Time

The first adventure novel that you ever read is hard to forget: after all, we all remember the first time our imaginations were lit by whispers of buried treasure, lost worlds, and faraway jungles. As Jane Eyre says: “It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.”

Luckily, we’ve made the act of finding action easy for you! We have 59 of the best adventure books for you in this post, ranging from rollicking journeys over land to tales of high-stakes survival on the sea. Who knows where your next book will take you? Let’s find out.

Classic Books of Adventure

Or: the books that started it all. From Don Quixote to Treasure Island, they invented many of the tropes that we still see in adventure novels today.

1. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Regarded as one of the greatest works in literature, Don Quixote recounts the adventures of Alonso Quixano: a middle-aged man so obsessed with chivalric books that he decides to imitate them and become a knight-errant. So begins his journey to find a faithful squire, save damsels in distress, and fight windmills. Read More.
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2. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

In this classic by Dumas, a young man named d’Artagnan joins the Musketeers of the Guard. In doing so, he befriends Athos, Porthos, and Aramis — the King’s most celebrated musketeers — and embarks on a journey of his own. Read More.
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3. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Written by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, this story of “buccaneers and buried gold” launched a million tropes of treasure maps, sea chests, Black Spots, and deserted islands. Read More.
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4. King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard and A. C. Michael

The first English adventure novel set in Africa, this 1885 book is considered to be the origin of the Lost World literary genre. It boasts six adaptations, including a 1937 British film and a 2004 American television miniseries. Read More.
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5. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

Journey to the Center of the Earth is exactly that: a trip to the inside of the world, which is where German professor Otto Lidenbrock theorizes that volcanic tubes will lead. Another one of Jules Verne’s magnum opuses — and one of the most famous examples of subterranean fiction. Read More.
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