The Adventurer's Son, by Roman Dial
In the tradition of Into the Wild comes an instant classic of outdoor literature, a riveting work of uncommon depth: The Adventurer’s Son is Roman Dial’s extraordinary account of his two-year quest to unravel the mystery of his son’s fate.
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.
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.
"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"))
“A haunting, beautifully-crafted narrative by one of the renowned wilderness explorers of our time. Above all else, The Adventurer’s Son is a sensitive tribute to a son who never emerged from his journey into the rainforests of Central America. Riveting and complex, this is a book that will remain with you long after you’ve turned the last page.” (REBECCA MARTIN, President, Exploration Connections, and Founding Director, National Geographic Expeditions Council)
“Gripping, honest, raw . . . . a beautiful and tender book.” (Washington Post)
"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)
Hardcover. February 18, 2020