Genre guide – Adventure fiction

This page links to recommended reading lists for a range of adventure fiction sub and cross-genres as well as other adventure fiction resources. It also lists authors whose work you may like to try - including familiar names and some that may be new to you.

Follow the thrills and spills of a central character - a determined but often unwitting hero - on a mission full of suspense and action, loaded with obstacles and dangers.

Adventure tales use straightforward language, with a focus on dialogue and description that keep the action moving and excitement building. Whether your personal tastes lean towards spies and espionage, historical and military, the fantastical world of steampunk or dystopian settings, or stories of "human vs wilderness", there are plenty of options. Adventure awaits!

Authors of adventure fiction:

Recommended reading

Classic Adventure

Classic Adventure tales that have stood the test of time. Whether it's pirates, desert islands, war, vengeance, or the great outdoors, these stories all have action, conflict and excitement between their pages. Go on a journey with beloved characters to far off lands filled with adventure. 

Contemporary Adventure

Whether it's an expedition gone awry, someone seeking justice, or exacting vengeance, you'll love the thrills and spills of modern adventure fiction. From the perils of nature to modern military intrigue, you're sure to find the antidote to boredom within these titles.

Dystopian Adventure

What says "adventure" more than the fight for survival after a ruinous worldwide cataclysm? In this list you'll find ruined worlds, humans barely clinging to humanity, and through it all a character with the will to thrive in this new hostile landscape.

Historical Adventure

Travel back in time and go on an adventurous journey without leaving your chair! Discover what it would've been like to march in a Roman legion, sail with pirates, escape with a gang of bushrangers, take the oar on a Viking longship... This and more can be found in the pages of an Historical Adventure novel. Explore your way through battles, sieges, revenge, and conquest.

Historical Military Adventure

If you like Bernard Cornwell’s ‘Sharpe’ series, or the naval heroics from the pen of Patrick O’Brian (Master and Commander), then these titles are for you. Honour and duty, bravery and enterprise, all packed together with a seemingly unstoppable enemy to create action-packed sagas of triumph and heroism. 

Military science fiction

Expect battles against an unknowable enemy, faster than light travel to leave you reeling, and an honour-bound duty to protect humanity and to secure peace across the galaxy. It’s no small thing being a space marine. These are big stories, most are the beginning of larger series - you’ll find action, adventure, and camaraderie.

Political/Spy/Techo Thriller Adventure

Follow characters on the run from government forces or assassins, embroiled in a tightly woven mesh of intrigue or carried off on a mission to rid the world of a super intelligent computer system that has been turned against the world by villainous billionaires. Whatever the situation, you are guaranteed a story with intricate plotting, suspense, full of action, and with many moving parts. One thing is for sure however; don't trust anyone!

Romantic Adventure

Looking for a romantic tale with added action and suspense? From impressive swordsmanship, and humour, to romance at a circus, bittersweet time travel lovers, to steamy suspense filled mystery stories, consider this list your go to for adventurous love stories.

Steampunk Adventure

Imagine the history and intrigue of the 19th century blended with magic, monsters, and mad science.

Swords and Sorcery

Exotic settings, fast-paced adventures and morally compromised protagonists, these works are imaginative and filled with adventure. If you want action and you want it now, then crack open the door to a long-forgotten tomb, cuddle up to your favourite battle-axe, grab a friend to watch your back and venture into the genre that is Swords and Sorcery.

Wilderness/Survival Adventure

Misadventure in the great outdoors has always made for a great story with all of the bad decision making, perilous undertakings, and life-threatening action that will carry through to the thrilling end. We're only ever a moment away from the need to survive in the wild, and these stories represent humanity at its most desperate and resourceful.

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