The Adventurer's Son: A Memoir (Hardcover)



"Gripping." —New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice) * “A page-turner that will rip your heart out.” —Jon Krakauer * "Destined to become an adventure classic." —Anchorage Daily News

An instant classic of outdoor literature, The Adventurer's Son is Roman Dial’s extraordinary account of his two-year quest to unravel the mystery of his son’s disappearance in the jungles of Costa Rica.

In the predawn hours of July 10, 2014, the twenty-seven-year-old son of preeminent Alaskan scientist and National Geographic Explorer Roman Dial, walked alone into Corcovado National Park, an untracked rainforest along Costa Rica’s remote Pacific Coast that shelters miners, poachers, and drug smugglers. He carried a light backpack and machete. Before he left, Cody Roman Dial emailed his father: “I am not sure how long it will take me, but I’m planning on doing 4 days in the jungle and a day to walk out. I’ll be bounded by a trail to the west and the coast everywhere else, so it should be difficult to get lost forever.”

They were the last words Dial received from his son.

As soon as he realized Cody Roman’s return date had passed, Dial set off for Costa Rica. As he trekked through the dense jungle, interviewing locals and searching for clues—the authorities suspected murder—the desperate father was forced to confront the deepest questions about himself and his own role in the events. Roman had raised his son to be fearless, to be at home in earth’s wildest places, travelling together through rugged Alaska to remote Borneo and Bhutan. Was he responsible for his son’s fate? Or, as he hoped, was Cody Roman safe and using his wilderness skills on a solo adventure from which he would emerge at any moment?

Part detective story set in the most beautiful yet dangerous reaches of the planet, The Adventurer’s Son emerges as a far deeper tale of discovery—a journey to understand the truth about those we love the most. 

The Adventurer’s Son includes fifty black-and-white photographs.

About the Author

Once called America’s most imaginative adventurer, Roman Dial is a pioneering outdoorsman based in Alaska, where he's made full-length traverses by foot, ski, pedal, and paddle of the Brooks and Alaska Ranges. He is a professor of mathematics and biology at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage. The Adventurer’s Son—a best-selling memoir about the two-year search for his missing son—is published by William Morrow (2020).

Praise For…

"Gripping and unnerving. ... This is what it means to raise a child, to introduce that child to the world, and to bet his life — and his joy — on the odds."
— New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice)

"The literature of wilderness exploration is as much about mortal risk as anything else. From Jack London to Jon Krakauer, adventure writing shows us how the rich rewards of interacting with thrillingly raw nature coexist with the simple fact that we tempt fate – and a lonely death – whenever we step from the safely beaten path into the wild. Underscoring this dangerous bargain, The Adventurer’s Son, takes its place among modern accounts of tragic adventure with hard-won wisdom and grace. ... Dial pays worthy tribute to his son with this deeply felt saga."
— USA Today ("Best Books of 2020 So Far")

"Riveting and devastating."
— Chicago Tribune ("10 Books to Read in Winter 2020")

"Gripping. ... A beautiful and tender book.”
Washington Post

The Adventurer’s Son is energized by spectacular descriptions of nature and by the narrative action of a father’s fight to find a beloved son. But it is its universality, this question of how to live and why, of how to understand nature, that gives it resonance and beauty."

— Christian Science Monitor (A Best Book of the Month)

“Roman Dial has written a brave and marvelous book. It’s a page-turner that will rip your heart out.”
— JON KRAKAUER, author of Into the Wild

"A brave, beautiful and eventually restorative book destined to become an adventure classic."
— Anchorage Daily News

"The best adventure writers are seekers, traversing not only physical terrain but their emotional depths. These stakes are raised to new heights by The Adventurer’s Son, a wrenching memoir by Alaskan explorer Roman Dial. ... Moving. ... A brave narrative."   
— Rinker Buck, Wall Street Journal

"Much more than a simple mystery. ... A moving portrait of an inspired young man and a firsthand account of a father’s desperate hunt for his missing son."
— Men's Journal

"Roman Dial is a pioneering legend of deep adventure. ... In this riveting account of a family's search for answers, Dial shares a thought-provoking investigation of what it means to embrace life's wild adventures."
Adventure Journal (Recommended Reading)

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780062876607
ISBN-10: 0062876600
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: February 18th, 2020
Pages: 368
Language: English