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Adventure books every traveller should read

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Short chapters, plenty of cliffhangers and preposterous escapes make adventure books the greatest travelling literature in the world. From beating jet lag to whiling away a train journey, these blood-pumping tales of assassinations, secret plots and lost worlds are our favourites. Prepare to be enthralled!

Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Huck’s got the lot: hilarity, murder, pulse-pounding action and literature’s first bromance. Huck and his runaway slave friend Jim must make it down the Mississippi to the Ohio River, navigating the treacherous current on a salvaged raft. Along the way, there’s a faked death, a family feud, a floating house and an epic series of sticky situations. You won’t be able to put it down!

The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth

Forsyth’s first novel was rejected by several publishing houses before Hutchinson took a chance and commissioned a tiny print run. The rest, as they say, is history. Forsyth’s nailbitingly plausible alternative reality tale (Jackal is about an assassination attempt that never happened) rocketed to international success, has spawned two movies and is still one of the greatest cat and mouse thrillers ever written.

We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

Before there was 1984, there was We. Dystopian adventures don’t come any better than this one, about a hermetically sealed society where everyone lives in glass boxes and makes love to a timetable. The first novel to be banned by Soviet Russia (in 1921), We leaked out into the Western world and eventually saw Zamyatin exiled to Paris. It wasn’t published in the Soviet Union until 1988. It’s awesome.

The Death of Grass by John Christopher

A mysterious blight causes all the crops in the world to die. Postwar Britain plunges into anarchy. A normal bloke and his family attempt to escape London, banding together with a small group of fellow fleers heading for a farm in remote Westmorland. As the civilised world crumbles, the family is forced to abandon morals and fight for its survival. If there’s a scarier or more convincing novel about the thin red line between humanity and chaos, we don’t know what it is!

King Solomon’s Mines by H Rider Haggard

When Haggard’s book appeared in 1885, promotional posters trumpeted it as “The Most Amazing Book Ever Written”. 123 years later, the 13th movie inspired by the book, and featuring its legendary hero Allan Quatermain, was release. Nuff said. If you want to rip, roar and rollick your way through lost worlds and fantastically tense scenarios, this is the original and best.

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

OK, so it’s not strictly a single book. But if you’re going on an epic trip, you won’t find a better companion than Pullman’s spectacular trilogy of coming-of-age fantasy adventures, Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. The unending awesomeness of the trilogy is hard to capture in a little review, so we’ll just say this: after the first chapter, you’ll be obsessing over what your daemon would be. And you’ll still have at least 1,000 pages to go, filled with armoured bears, creepy scientists, flying cowboys and alternative universes. Amazing.

What have we missed off the list? Let us know what your top adventure books for travel are. And remember, can get you cheap train tickets when you book in advance, and car hire to get you where you’re going. You’ll earn loyalty points to spend on future adventures every time you book!

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    • Judith_1390765871

    • January 21, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    Enter your comment here…Brave New World – by Aldous Huxley