The best adventure books capturing the thrill & excitement of adventure and the mystery & challenges of the unknown

Who am I?

Some look through the glass and admire what lies beyond. I look beyond the glass and imagine what's ahead. What is an adventure? It's an encounter with the unexpected, an exquisite moment in time that can never be repeated, those memorable chapters in our personal story that cause us to go to the attic and lift the lid of the trunk. I've lived the experiences in my books because I walked the beaten paths where those stories were born and embraced the culture that colors the pages. I'm an intrepid traveler and adventurer with still a few personal chapters to write. As I look beyond the glass, I wonder… Will my trunk ever be full?


I wrote...

Cannibal King

By Nanine Case,

Book cover of Cannibal King

What is my book about?

In l847, young and daring John Rumell jumps ship on the French-occupied Marquesas Islands, inhabited by hostile cannibals. There, he becomes infatuated with the chief’s daughter, Princess Marita, a beautiful and irresistible temptress. To win the princess’s hand in marriage, John must kill her former lover and submit to a painful tattooing custom. Months later, he discovers he was tricked. Broken and permanently branded with tribal tattoos, John leaves the tribe, wandering aimlessly about the island.

When word reaches John that the chief is dying, he returns and accepts the dying man’s wish that he become their leader. John works tirelessly to form an alliance between his tribe and the French, ultimately leading his people toward a more peaceful existence.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life

Nanine Case Why did I love this book?

Typee is Herman Melville’s account of his sojourn on the Marquesan Island of Nuku Hiva in the 1800s. It nearly replicated my distant relative’s story, making it a must-read.

Melville was a young sailor with an adventurous spirit. Disenchanted with his hard life on a whaling ship he deserted and escaped to Nuku Hiva’s Bay of Taipaivi where he was captured by a cannibal tribe. For four months, he lived and survived among savages. 

After Melville returned to civilization he later wrote Typee – the story that forever changed how I view savages. A century-plus later, I stepped freely off a boat onto Nuku Hiva’s distant shore. Visions of the impetuous and foolhardy sailor relative whose footprints I was about to trace made my scalp tighten with anticipation.  

By Herman Melville,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Typee as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Melville, Herman, Typee


Book cover of The North Water

Nanine Case Why did I love this book?

I am particularly drawn to stories about early adventures at sea. 

Life on a whaling ship was difficult and bred all manner of contemptible acts by the crew. When the journey was ill-fated, like the one in this book, it pointed the spotlight directly on the tainted core of ship life. 

This book introduced the greedy side of the 1800s whaling industry and told the story surrounding the doomed whaling ship and the ship’s drug-addicted surgeon. It presented the raw side of humanity and what lengths desperate men resort to in order to survive. It was shades of whaling seamen Herman Melville and John Rumell’s experiences surviving with savages. 

The story was riveting and begged the question: Who are the real savages?

By Ian McGuire,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The North Water as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2016
A NEW YORK TIMES TOP TEN NOTABLE BOOK 2016

A ship sets sail with a killer on board . . .
1859. A man joins a whaling ship bound for the Arctic Circle. Having left the British Army with his reputation in tatters, Patrick Sumner has little option but to accept the position of ship's surgeon on this ill-fated voyage. But when, deep into the journey, a cabin boy is discovered brutally killed, Sumner finds himself forced to act. Soon he will face an evil even greater than he had encountered at the…


Book cover of Fatu Hiva

Nanine Case Why did I love this book?

Norwegian-born Thor Hyerdahl was disenchanted with the civilized world and desired a more primitive lifestyle. In 1938, he took a bride and set out for the wild and remote Marquesan Island of Fatu Hiva—minus all worldly possessions. 

The couple stepped headlong into the unknown—most notably the natives. But the once-hostile natives had abandoned their savage ways, allowing for a peaceful co-existence. A year later, the extreme hazards of island living won out over idealism, forcing the Hyerdahls to return to civilization.

Hyerdahl’s notion that he could shed his civilized cloak to live bare-skinned in paradise was foolhardy. Like Herman Melville, Hyerdahl survived to tell his amazing story. Other daring adventurers, like my branded relative, were less fortunate.

By Thor Heyerdahl,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fatu Hiva as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Outlander

Nanine Case Why did I love this book?

Outlander is an adventure of epic proportion, from the 1940s WWII war-torn battlefield where the story begins, to the bloodstained 18th-century Scottish battlefield of Culloden. 

Like clansman Jamie, whose red arm hairs stood on end when he made love to Claire in the grass, so did the little hairs on the back of my neck stand on end with this talented author’s vividly described scenes. Page after page aroused the adventurer in me, sending me on a wild and unimaginable journey into the unknown. My heart was synchronized with the passionate relationship between the former British combat nurse and her Scottish lover, each bound by the double-ended cord tying them to the century that threatened to keep them apart. 

It is a masterpiece of storytelling!

By Diana Gabaldon,

Why should I read it?

29 authors picked Outlander as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The first book in Diana Gabaldon’s acclaimed Outlander saga, the basis for the Starz original series.

One of the top ten best-loved novels in America, as seen on PBS’s The Great American Read!
 
Unrivaled storytelling. Unforgettable characters. Rich historical detail. These are the hallmarks of Diana Gabaldon’s work. Her New York Times bestselling Outlander novels have earned the praise of critics and captured the hearts of millions of fans. Here is the story that started it all, introducing two remarkable characters, Claire Beauchamp Randall and Jamie Fraser, in a spellbinding novel of passion and…


Book cover of The Painted Veil

Nanine Case Why did I love this book?

I love adventure stories that offer unexpected challenges in foreign lands. 

This story, set in upper-class England and rural China in the 1920s, is about Kitty, a selfish, beautiful, and attention-seeking woman, and the shy and unattractive English bacteriologist, Walter, who falls hopelessly in love and asks for Kitty’s hand in marriage. Kitty consents, but Walter’s discovery of her lover and the resulting social pressure, force the couple to enter into a marriage doomed for failure. 

Even though bitterness prevails, the couple set off for Walter’s assignment in the cholera-infected area of China. It is an act of suicide, fraught with peril. 

During their dangerous sojourn in this strange and foreign land, the couple’s discoveries are many. In the end, they realize that the greatest discovery is their mutual love.

By W. Somerset Maugham,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Painted Veil as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'She did not know what to say. She was undecided whether indignantly to assert her innocence or to break out into angry reproaches. He seemed to read her thoughts. "I've got all the proof necessary" '

Kitty Fane is the beautiful but shallow wife of Walter, a bacteriologist stationed in Hong Kong. Unsatisfied by her marriage, she starts an affair with Charles Townsend, a man whom she finds charming, attractive and exciting. But when Walter discovers her deception, he exacts a strange but terrible vengeance: Kitty must accompany him to his new posting in remote mainland China, where a cholera…


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The Romanov Heiress

By Jennifer Laam,

Book cover of The Romanov Heiress

Jennifer Laam Author Of The Romanov Heiress

New book alert!

Who am I?

A proud native of Stockton, CA, Jennifer Laam resides in California with a temperamental tabby cat named Jonesy. Her other works of historical fiction are The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, The Tsarina’s Legacy, and The Lost Season of Love and Snow. When not reading or writing, she enjoys planning cosplay for the next San Diego Comic-Con, experimenting with vegetarian recipes (to mixed results), cooing at Baby Yoda, or obsessing over House Targaryen. 

Jennifer's book list on the last Romanovs

What is my book about?

Four sisters in hiding. A grand duchess in disguise. Dark family secrets revealed. An alternate future for the Romanovs from Jennifer Laam, author of The Secret Daughter Of The Tsar.

With her parents and brother missing and presumed dead, former Grand Duchess Olga Romanova must keep her younger sisters safe. The Bolsheviks are determined to eliminate any remaining holdovers from the tsarist regime, hunting down the last Romanovs and putting them to death. Now living in England, the Romanov sisters remain hidden to protect their identities, even as isolation strains their relationships. But they can’t distance themselves from the world forever.

The Romanov Heiress

By Jennifer Laam,

What is this book about?

Four sisters in hiding. A grand duchess in disguise. Dark family secrets revealed...an alternate future for the Romanovs from Jennifer Laam, author of The Secret Daughter of the Tsar and The Lost Season of Love and Snow.

With her parents and brother missing and presumed dead, Grand Duchess Olga Romanova must keep her younger sisters safe. The Bolsheviks are determined to eliminate any remaining holdovers from the tsarist regime, hunting down the last Romanovs and putting them to death. Now living in England, the Romanov sisters remain hidden to protect their identities, even as isolation strains their relationships.

But they…


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