These novels have characters who take physical action, possibly going on a quest or on the run, usually with an element of danger.
Novels with Action or Adventure
Don Quixote | Miguel de Cervantes
Influenced by books of chivalry, a man decides to become a knight. He finds a squire and sets out to fight injustice and uphold what’s right. His imagination runs wild as it fills in the gaps in his adventures and often leads him to make absurd decisions and misread situations.
The Three Musketeers | Alexander Dumas
A young man, d’Artagnan, sets out for Paris to join the King’s Musketeers. After a close call, he joins the group and has a series of dangerous adventures.
Treasure Island | Robert Louis Stevenson
Hawkins and Livesey come into possession of a treasure map and set out to seas after it. One of the crew, Silver, plans to mutiny.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer | Mark Twain
Young Tom is a troublemaker and has an active imagination. Tom and his friend Huck are in the cemetery one night when they witness Injun Joe stab and kill a man.
Journey to the Center of the Earth | Jules Verne
It is 1863 in Germany at the home of Professor Lidenbrock. He shows his neprew, Axel, a 700-year-old book he bought. A parchment falls out of it containing Runic letters, which Lidenbrock figures must be some sort of code. He and Axel eventually solve it – it tells how a person can reach the center of the earth. Lidenbrock immediately makes plans to make the trip, enlisting Axel’s assistance.
Ivanhoe | Sir Walter Scott
Richard I, a Norman, is the king of England. On his way home from fighting in the Crusades, he is captured by the Austrians. Ivanhoe, son of Cedric and a Saxon, fights for Richard; he is disinherited by his father. The narrative continues with all the elements of medieval adventures – knights, jousting matches, villains, castles and dungeons, and beautiful women who need rescuing.
Kidnapped | Robert Louis Stevenson
It’s Scotland in 1751 when David Balfour, sixteen, finds himself homeless when his poor father dies. He believes himself destitute until a letter reveals he is actually from a prosperous family. He travels to the home of his uncle, Ebenezer, who is hostile and scheming. He gets David to go with him to conduct business with a sea captain. After being lured onto the boat, David realizes he has been led into a trap.
The Great Train Robbery | Michael Crichton
Edward Pierce is planning a large scale criminal operation – robbing a moving train of its stock of gold. The gold is secured in a safe that requires four keys to open it. Pierce begins investigating how he can either make copies of or steal the keys.
King Solomon’s Mines | H. Rider Haggard
Allan Quatermain records the events of his African treasure hunt. He sets out with a few men to find King Solomon’s mines. Along the way, they hunt, look for water, get involved in the affairs of local tribesmen, fight, and get sick.
The Deerslayer | James Fenimore Cooper
Harry, a bold, good-looking man in his mid to late twenties, goes on an expedition to fight the Indians with his companion Deerslayer, a slightly younger man who respects the Indians. They first visit Hutter, a former pirate who has had many battles with the Indians. Eventually, they meet with a Delaware Indian chief, Chingachgook, and plot the rescue of his betrothed, Wah-ta!-Wah, who is being held by a rival tribe.
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