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The Adventurer's Son

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  4,458 ratings  ·  641 reviews
"I’m planning on doing 4 days in the jungle. . . . It should be difficult to get lost forever": These were the haunting last words legendary adventurer Roman Dial received from his son, before the 27-year old disappeared into the jungles of Costa Rica. This is Dial’s intensely gripping and deeply moving account of his two-year quest to unravel the mystery of his son’s fate ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published February 18th 2020 by William Morrow
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I think it's as much the author's own memoir as it is the story of the loss of his son, so the title and the details of the author's own history made …more

I think it's as much the author's own memoir as it is the story of the loss of his son, so the title and the details of the author's own history made sense to me. The handwringing did too- he introduced his son to this life and supported him in it. Many parents who have lost a child question their role in what happened. The short shrift given the daughter bothered me at first too, but this was not her story; had it been, I'm sure it would have looked very different.(less)
Shaun Skelton
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

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Diane S ☔
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nfr-2020
As a parent raising five sons, I often wondered how to find the balance for the adventurous things they wanted to do and the safety that for myself was paramount. It was definitely a struggle. The author of this book, was a keen adventurer himself and when he married and had a son, he combined his love of adventure with the love of his family. They took amazing trips in sometimes risky countries. Did many things together that I would never even attempt. So it is understandable how his son craved ...more
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
I was interested in this book because I love Krakauer (who blurbed it and I guess helped edit) and part of the reason I love Krakauer is because my brother is an outdoorsman/risk taker/adventurer type, and I am *so* not. So I'm always seeking to understand the whys and the hows of this way of life. Thus, when I read these books there is always the judgy voice in my head saying, are you *f-ing* nuts, why in a world with so many natural, everyday risks, would you, say, as in this particular book, ...more
Elyse  Walters
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing by Fred Sanders ( an excellent narrator)....easy connecting to his voice, clear and very precise.

Much about this book appealed to me.....and ‘not’ just the ‘grab-ya-by-the-throat’, book blurb, either....
“I’m planning on doing four days in the jungle... It should be difficult to get lost forever: These were the haunting last words legendary adventurer Roman Dial received from his son, before the 27 year old disappeared into the jungles of Costa Rica”.

I already knew the general
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that will stay with me, one that I will look back on over the years. It will be placed on my favorite read shelf in my mind. It is one of those books that is very personal to the reader. Many things resonated with me. I've lost an adult child, I've visited some of the places father and son did, I respect nature yet I have not hiked, trekked, studied, adventure traveled, like this family.

The Adventurer's Son is a primarily a memoir of two lives and it is well worth the read.
Kathryn in FL
1/5/2020 Update

Thank you goodreads for dumping my 10 paragraph essay, analyzing the numerous insights offered in this book. I only spent nearly two hours writing out the salient points and you didn't save any of it. I spent a great deal of time thinking about this work to share with others and because the owner of this website doesn't fix these timeouts (this is not even the fifth time such a loss has happened to me), whatever flaw that makes this occur, needs to be remedied to continue to ignor
M. Sarki
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
After trudging through 25% of this highly anticipated book, with all the great blurbs by peers such as Jon Krakauer, I had to quit reading it. The backstory Dial was providing was all about Dial and how hard he worked teaching his son Cody the ways of the wild. It is unfortunate that Roman did not begin the book with his search for his lost son. Throughout what can only be imagined as an agonizing operation he could have provided the necessary backstory details to emphasize the preparedness prov ...more
Sharon Huether
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs, adventure
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Beth Cataldo
Mar 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
This story had grabbed me when I read about it online. I have traveled to Corcovado National Park and was curious about what happened to this adventurous young man. While reading this book, though, I kept asking myself why didn't I like the author. What was it about his writing that made me dislike him?
I realized that he has such an entitled point of view. His name-dropping and bragging about his various adventures was tiring. How self-important he is. I understand how he feels about the loss o
Mar 16, 2020 rated it liked it
In his new memoir, The Adventurer’s Son, Roman Dial writes about his son’s 2014 disappearance in the untamed rainforest of Costa Rico. Roman is an Alaskan biologist, mountaineer, and overall fan of risky travels and adventures. He shared his love of these endeavors with his son Cody and now he experiences a parent’s most dreaded fear after his son fails to report back after a particularly treacherous solo hike in the remote jungle.
While slow-moving, this is a harrowing story of a parent’s worst
Patricia West
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I easily give this book five stars. It is an amazing book. The adventurous life described in this book, of both the father and son, was made a fascinating read. I loved the colorful descriptions of life in the wilderness. Their relationship described was heartwarming. My heart broke for the father in his search for his missing son. But, he never gave up until he got his answer. It's a memoir I would definitely recommend to anyone looking for a good read. ...more
Jade Melody
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The blurb on the front cover of this book could not be more accurate,

"A brave and marvelous book. A page-turner that will rip your heart out."
- Jon Krakauer

This book indeed ripped my heart out of my chest and crushed it to dust right before my eyes. I thought by knowing the expected ending before it began would have braced me for this ending but, along with Roman looking for his son, I still had hope that he would be found.

I enjoyed the adventure background of both the au
Nov 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was a pleasant, though melancholy surprise. I came across it by chance, and am always tempted to reach for books about adventurers doing things or going places I may never do or see myself. The Adventurer's Son was no ordinary travelogue, though. It tells the true story of Roman Dial and his family, in particular his son, Cody, who took on his father's love for exploration. It is no spoiler to say, this book deals with tremendous personal tragedy for the Dial family and must have been ...more
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a Goodreads win review. This is the most awesome, heartfelt book I Have read in a long time. The author was always out climbing, and rafting, and doing backcountry races and he got high degrees in College. He traveled to other countries and his kids loved all the same things. His son went on an adventure to the jungles and off paths in Costa Rica and then they did not hear from him again. They searched for him and after a long while found the remains of his body. They think he died from ...more
May 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: out-in-2020
This was one of my most anticipated books of the year, but sadly it was just okay for me. It feels wrong to me as a parent to not connect with a memoir that (should be) focused on tremendous, unimaginable loss. I wish I felt differently about the book because my heart breaks for the author.
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
I can't imagine being Roman or his wife, Peggy, and living through the hell of not knowing where your son is, if he's alive, or what has befallen him. To that end my heart goes out to them both for this entire ordeal and the inner strength and fortitude they found to carry on. That said, this entire book reads as a guilt trip apology from a father who was a very self-involved parent. While many folks give 5 stars, those who give it fewer seem to mention the hubris of the author in his telling of ...more
Dec 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, non-fiction
A book in the style of Krakauer and with just as much punch and power in the writing, this one was wrenching and gripping in spades.

Detailing his son’s childhood and disappearance; we follow Roman Dial Sr as he fights judicial bodies in Costa Rica to find his son after he never returns from the jungle.

This book was engaging and never faltered with the prose. It posed difficult questions and didn’t try to answer them all as some simply can’t be. The voice of honesty coming from Roman was refres
Bonnie Brody
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing

The Adventurer’s Son is the heart wrenching memoir of famed adventurer Roman Dial as he desperately tries to find his son, missing in the jungle of Costa Rica. Cody Roman Dial, like his father, was an intrepid adventurer, a scientist enthralled by the wonders of the natural world. He was 27 years old when he sent his last email home telling of his plan to hike a famously difficult and dangerous trail through the Costa Rican jungle.

As soon as Roman realized his son was overdue, he flew to Costa
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a Goodreads Giveaway that I won and an advance copy--yay, so cool!!! This was an extremely well-written book. This is a very heavy subject so many things come to mind. I can't imagine the sorrow and heartbreak. Mr. Dial questions his parenting. There is no doubt that he was a very good father. He loved his son very, very much. In this day and age, I question the parents that don't love or treasure their children and abandon, neglect and harm them horribly. The horror stories of that kin ...more
Ben Werner
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sleeping in the Forest

I thought the earth
remembered me, she
took me back so tenderly, arranging
her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds. I slept
as never before, a stone
on the riverbed, nothing
between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated
light as moths among the branches
of the perfect trees. All night
I heard the small kingdoms breathing
around me, the insects, and the birds
who do their work in the darkness. All night
I rose and fell, as if in water, grap
Nicole Jacobs
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of this book. I cannot imagine how difficult it was for Roman Dial to write this book, although I can see how it might be cathartic in some way. In the age of social media, we tend to forget that there is a human element out there, and I thank the author for writing this book that not only highlights what had to be a harrowing experience, but also highlights the love a father has for his son and his family. The grief was palpable through the pages. Anyt ...more
Justin Ryan
Feb 27, 2020 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this one more than I did. I haven't read many memoirs, and maybe they are arrogant to begin with, but the authors tone just felt smug and got in the way of the story for me. It was also hard for me to feel much sympathy for what happened to his son when it seemed like he was just asking for it by ignoring the law and common sense in his quest. ...more
Linda Munro
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received this via a goodreads giveaway.

This is the memoir of Roman Dial, an outdoorsman, an adventurer, a teacher a father. It looks back on the life Roman has provided for his children, especially his son. Throughout the book, there is a sense of foreboding doom; there is also am underlying sense of parental guilt. Do you give your child unlimited access to the natural beauty surrounding you and the danger that goes with it, or do you keep them close, smother them with love?

When Roman’s 27 ye
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
The author's son disappeared on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica in 2014, five years after my husband and I spent a blissful part of our honeymoon there. We were ensconced in a pricey eco-lodge, admiring scarlet macaws, coatimundi, and awakened by howler monkeys. We marveled in the glamour of sleeping under mosquito nets and choosing from three different showers in our private bungalow (I regret not a single cent!). Meanwhile, the author of this book raised his children embracing a level of natur ...more
Roman Dial and his wife (also his daughter, but she's pretty absent from this tale) have suffered a terrible loss. But man is it hard to tell from this book.

The writing is flat and riddled with clichees. The author himself is apparently the most amazing adventurer alive, his son also a brilliant outdoorsman and accomplished biologist, and his wife the most badass of all the rugged wilderness women out there. His daugher exists, too. I may be judging him too harshly here, but it felt very self-p
Evelyn Wilson
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
I won this book through Goodreads Giveaways. I am surprised and how much I enjoyed reading this book because in April 2017 I lost my LT Navy daughter. We believe her husband is responsible. We are working on Justice. I was not sad or upset reading this book. It is a wonderful, evaluation and feeling of doubt you are a good parent when you lose a child. Why didn't we take better care of our daughter, why didn't we get her away from him? Just like Roman and Peggy. I am glad they are closer to Jazz ...more
Mar 29, 2020 rated it did not like it
I tried to love this book. I was so excited to have found another adventure memoir with the support from Krakauer; however, the writing was so impossible to get past. Even after realizing how dry of a read this was going to be I still tried to love it. I hoped after the back story of his son the writing would get better, but it continued to be a dry step by step description of their lives. Roman is clearly a scientist. His writing screams this. Unfortunately, that isn’t what I was looking for. I ...more
Apr 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I throughouly enjoyed this book. I am always drawn to memoirs that involve grief, guilt, redemption. Especially if it's about thrill seekers and wilderness.
I was taken aback by some reviews I read here that focus on judging or criticizing the lifestyle and the efforts put into the search for the truth. I mean, it maybe could have left me a little annoyed if it was fiction? But damn, it's real life, real people, their struggles, mistakes and suffering.
Mar 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, favorites
This was riveting and heartbreaking and I didn't want to put it down. Highly recommended! Full review to come soon. ...more
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There are a lot of parallels between mine and Cody's (Roman) life. I travelled to Borneo and walked in its jungles as a child. I studied Biology at University. I travelled through Central and South America when I was 26/27. At that age, I never really fully considered the concern I was putting my parents through, the potential danger I was in. I too was grateful for the trust and freedom they offered me. They never tried to hold me back from the life changing experience I went through.

As soon a
I worried the entire book would be about the search for Dial's missing son but turned out the first half was about his own life and that of his son who were both extreme adventurists (I love that kind of stuff), and the second half involved the excruciating and heartwrenching search for his missing son in the jungles of Costa Rica. Along the way, Dial includes personal details about their relationship and a bit of personal reflection about how his love of adventure has affected his family.

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Roman Dial lives in Anchorage, Alaska with his wife Peggy and Icelandic Sheepdog Poppy. A professor of mathematics and biology at Alaska Pacific University since 1992, he is also an avid adventurer.

He's written two books: Packrafting! An Introduction and How-to Guide and The Adventurer's Son, which was released February 18, 2020 by William Morrow and imprint of Harper Collins.

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