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NATIONAL BESTSELLER  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 Ge NATIONAL BESTSELLER  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.


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NATIONAL BESTSELLER  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 Ge NATIONAL BESTSELLER  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.

30 review for The Adventurer's Son: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    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 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 the same lifestyle. When he is 27, he goes missing in the Costa Rica jungle, and his parents will spend years trying to find out what happened to their son. In February, 4 of my children were in Costa Rica, now grown and making decisions for themselves. I am so glad I did not read this book before they went. This is a book about a search, a quest and us a heartbreaking one. There are beautiful descriptions of the natural world in all its elements. It is an honest account of a parents fear and grief. A parents doubts about doing the right thing, questioning whether if or how much he, himself was at fault. A good book and a harrowing one. ARC from Edelweiss.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    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, 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, hike alone across the damn Costa Rican rainforest? But I get that for some people, like my brother, it's just like, I HAVE TO OR I WILL DIE. But there were just so many problems here. For a book that purports to be about a father grappling with his guilt, he really didn't grapple much, and the few times he did, he let himself off the hook within the space of one sentence. Again, thinking of my brother, the idea that Dial did not notice the email from his son with his planned outdate would be something that would torment me for the rest of my life. My brother texts his outdates and whom to contact if he does not return to me and my mom and we pretty much suffer until we hear from him again. That date is, like, really on our minds, you know? I get that the senior Dial is an adventurer himself, but wouldn't that make him *more* attentive to this kind of information? HIS SON WAS ALONE IN THE RAINFOREST. I don't know how much of this was a failure of the writing. While the narrative was brisk, there was something lacking, almost total flatness, when Dial was describing feelings, e.g.,"Peggy's bravery in the deep water and jungle amplified her beauty and strengthened my love and admiration for her." Just, no. Human emotion is hard to write. There was a reliance on cliche here that became hard to forgive. He insisted upon this perfect love for his son, when there is no perfect love, even between parent and child, and especially when the child disappears as a grown man. In a book about said child's long unexplained absence and death, I became increasingly desperate for nuance that never came. (Petty aside: it was also weird how Peggy threatened Alaska Democratic Senator (at the time) Mark Begich by telling him she was going to vote Republican when he was unable to get the *New Mexico* National Guard to deploy to Costa Rica to search for a grown man who made his own dangerous choices. I understood her desperation to find her son, but is Lisa Murkowski a ghost?) This book called itself a thorough examination, but nothing felt honestly examined. It was mostly a play-by-play and maybe that's enough for some people. Maybe I'm being too harsh, I don't know. There was a hubris to these men, both father and son, and a lack of imagination both in the wilderness and on the page.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Audiobook....read 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 Audiobook....read 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 ending to the mystery as to what happened to Roman’s son. I felt I understood the mixed/negative criticism, before I started this book. Negative reviews said things like: the father was too self absorbed in himself, ( not my experience), and the book was too long with irrelevant stories. I still wanted to read it. The positive reviews moved me. I was willing to go into this book contemplating the praise and criticism ....wanting to draw my own conclusions. So.... I conclude: I LOVED the INTIMACY of the storytelling ( right away). I enjoyed the journey...( becomes heartbreaking)....but it was also another one of those self-reflecting books where we take measure of thyself...(on an array of subjects: our families, marriage, births, education, arts, nature, adventures, our successes and failures, and..... once again [seems to be a theme in my reading lately].....on not only parenting .....but the parent/adult child relationship. I absolutely love what one reviewer said....( by Jamie L. Harmon).... “The message of this tale is that no matter how we try to assume involvement or responsibility in certain devastating events, the truth is ultimately revealed: each person walks his or her unique path from beginning to end. The arc of a life is a toss of a cosmic loom, weaving the fabric of reality. An incredible story: compelling and moving”. Thank you Jamie L Harmon >>> AMEN!!! Other tidbits. I enjoyed the ‘irreverent’? stories.... .....like how PhD programs are poorly paid...( who could raise a family on that salary?)..... .....LOVED THE FAMILY... I was interested in all of them: Roman, his wife Peggy, and the adventures with their children. I enjoyed learning about each of the family members idiosyncrasies. .... Oh, and the descriptions of the outdoor nature adventures amazing... birds, monkeys, bugs, the jungle, and everything wilderness. .....I was deeply moved by the humanity and a father’s love for his son. It’s fair to make comparisons with this book and Jon Krakauer’s “Into the Wild”. Both books are unforgettable stories of family, adventures, tragedy, and love Wonderful as an Audiobook!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    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. 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.

  5. 4 out of 5

    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 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 ignore it is disrespectful to all parties. Shame on those who are responsible. The author is highly skilled in utilizing a powerful style and incorporating dynamic figure of speech and light in descriptive language. There is a map that is included and it is hard to read (which is an issue for the search as well). The pictures that begin each chapter are in black and white, making them very hard to decipher so the beauty and their value is not fully realized. This book is good, it delves deep into the main personalities of the story, primarily a father and son who bonded by their adventures. The son goes missing and many involved drop the ball when it came to locating him. The first portion of the book recounts the various adventures father lived, father and son lived and the son alone undertook with others or by himself. Guilt encompasses the father and he explains in great detail how he failed. Lots of detail also shared in how he questioned what he could have done better. Any parent would be examining the minute details of how things could have been prevented. For anyone who has lost a child, there will be a great understanding of the emotions and questioning that ensued. It was well written but much to detailed for a person, who is not an outdoors person. I was once very active in outdoor sports and even I found my mind wondering. Those who know this family, (they are famous in extreme sports circles) will probably find this detail quite enthralling. It was a good read, while there is some similarity to "Into the Wild", which is part of the marketing of this story, they are two different stories and not all that similar. The parallel is that some adventures took place in Alaska in both books and both encountered severe consequences at the hand of nature. I received this book free of charge in a Goodreads giveaway, in exchange for an honest opinion. Thank you to Mr. Dial, author, Goodreads and the publisher.

  6. 4 out of 5

    M. Sarki

    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 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 provided by Roman for his son to survive in the most extreme environments. I could not help feeling the book was written to assuage a father's guilt for losing his son. I cannot imagine how hard this was on Roman, but he supposedly wrote a book about it. But all I gathered by reading a quarter of it was how great an outdoorsman and father Roman Dial was. And that is not good enough for me. In fact, the book was a bore.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Huether

    Roman " Cody" Dial grew up in a family that loved adventure. He often accompanied his father on hiking trips and exploring. When Roman "Cody" was twenty seven he wanted to explore the jungles of Costa Rica. July 2014 he started out. He told his family that he planed to go through the Jungle in four days and be out on the fifth day. There's a saying " when in Rome do as the Romans do." Cody had lots of confidence so he forged ahead not following the rules of the National Forest in Costa Rica . You h Roman " Cody" Dial grew up in a family that loved adventure. He often accompanied his father on hiking trips and exploring. When Roman "Cody" was twenty seven he wanted to explore the jungles of Costa Rica. July 2014 he started out. He told his family that he planed to go through the Jungle in four days and be out on the fifth day. There's a saying " when in Rome do as the Romans do." Cody had lots of confidence so he forged ahead not following the rules of the National Forest in Costa Rica . You had to have a guide and stay on the designated trails. After a week had passed his family had not heard from him. They were so worried. Was he kidnapped? Was there foul play? Did some one kill him? Who had seen him? With all unanswered questions, his father went to Costa Rica to look for his son. All their efforts were fruitless. When his remains were found everything was intact...no foul play. It was assumed a tree fell on him or he was bitten by a poisonous snake. A very sad and poignant story.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Beth Cataldo

    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 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 of his son, but why should our taxpayer dollars be used to rescue someone who voluntarily goes into the wilderness by himself, breaking the laws of foreign country? Because his father knows people in high places? Ugh. The writing was pretty bland, though I enjoyed his descriptions of nature. In the end, I felt for him but also believe that both he and his son could have been more respectful of the rest of the people and creatures on earth.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Joy D

    Biologist, explorer, and adventurer Roman Dial’s memoir of his search for his son, Cody Roman, age 27, who went missing in the jungles of Costa Rica in 2014. Cody Roman had embarked on a solo trek through Central America, checking in with his dad via email. He had planned to go off trail through the Corcovado rain forest without a (required) guide. When Roman had not heard from his son, he traveled to Costa Rica to find Cody.* Roman encountered uncooperative officials and stories that his son ac Biologist, explorer, and adventurer Roman Dial’s memoir of his search for his son, Cody Roman, age 27, who went missing in the jungles of Costa Rica in 2014. Cody Roman had embarked on a solo trek through Central America, checking in with his dad via email. He had planned to go off trail through the Corcovado rain forest without a (required) guide. When Roman had not heard from his son, he traveled to Costa Rica to find Cody.* Roman encountered uncooperative officials and stories that his son accompanied a local guide thought to be involved with drugs. The book covers the search, Cody’s youthful experiences growing up in Alaska, and past family trips to exotic locations. It takes readers into remote Costa Rica and the world of drug smugglers and illegal miners, as well as good-hearted locals who tried to help. Roman and his wife consulted private investigators, investigated tips from psychics, and engaged a “documentary” producer. While the television cameras helped focus attention on the case, they also warped the story into a sensational reality-TV murder mystery. It is a story of frustration and parents doing everything possible to find a missing child. This book is the story of a family’s crisis. It also portrays their appreciation for the natural world. Roman is candid in this account, admitting to doubts, faults, and feelings of guilt. I had not seen any of the media coverage, so the content was new to me. I found it riveting, moving, and tragic. *Cody preferred to be called by his middle name, Roman. I am referring to him as Cody just to distinguish him from his father, also called Roman.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Truman32

    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 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 nightmare. The Adventurer’s Son has me conflicted. When I am of a more charitable mind I sympathize with Roman’s plight. Having your son be missing and to not know where they are can be crushing. On this level Dial’s book is emotional, exhausting and heart-rending. When I am not feeling quit so charitable I have to question just what the heck is the allure of putting yourself in such dangerous circumstances to begin with. Costa Rican rainforests are renowned for their poisonous spiders, centipedes, millipedes, scorpions, snakes, frogs, and fancy iced coffee lattes. If by God’s grace you manage to avoid the toxic death of these you will be faced with crocodiles, jaguars, pumas, giant ants, mimes, and Bon Jovi cover bands. And that is not all. Let’s talk about the criminals that inhabit these lands. These remote areas contain everything from jaywalkers to litterbugs, to the feared drug traffickers who would sooner fill you with hot lead from their AR-15 assault rifles than loan their neighbor a much needed cup of beans so they can finish cooking up the gallo pinto dinner they have planned for Thursday. So on this level (while still sympathizing) this tragedy seems like something that could have easily been avoided. I equate it with the guy who rides his motorcycle without a helmet, or the NFL player who has chosen to play the big game against the Packers without an athletic cup. You would never wish harm to happen to anyone, but let’s be honest, nobody is going to be surprised when those testicles get mashed. Still it is hard to argue with Dial’s love for his son and the pain he experiences during this ordeal. The pictures of Dial and his son from an infant on are heartbreaking. This book is sure to make the reader consider their own life choices and perhaps wonder where but for the grace of God a tragedy like this could have happened to them.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Patricia West

    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. 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.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Malia

    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 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 hard to write, though perhaps somewhat therapeutic as well. It was certainly hard to read. That being said, I am glad I did and it's a story I won't be quick to forget. Find my book reviews and more at http://www.princessandpen.com

  13. 4 out of 5

    Roxanne

    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 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 either a tree falling on his camp or a snakebite. What was great about this book was the great detail in the story about all their traveling. Also at the end the author had to wrestle with his great grief thinking if he did not raise his son to be so adventourous maybe he would still be alive. Only time can heal these wounds. Wonderful book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kelli

    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.

  15. 5 out of 5

    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 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 author and his son. Their treks were exotic and mysterious to me, seeming as I never have (and probably never will) explore the world in a way that they have. I commend both Roman Dial and Roman Cody Dial for their bravery, along with Peggy and Jazz as well. My heart burns for Roman and Peggy especially, the stuff they endured throughout the process of searching for their son was a rollercoaster of emotions and tragic events. I applaud that they did not abandon their approach about searching for their son, from the beginning they knew he wasn't stupid when it came to adventuring especially in other countries. They exposed him to the world at a young age, he knew what he was doing. I also appreciated the inclusion of quotes and accounts of Roman both of events in his adolescence and younger years and into his adult life. I enjoyed learning about him, both the kind of person he was and the things he enjoyed. I cannot explain enough that this was indeed a beautiful story while also incredibly tragic and sad. For me, the most powerful moments in this book was when Roman explained that he was looking for any trace of his son, he was looking for a yellow Starburst wrapper along the green foliage. It was mentioned earlier in the book that Roman's favorite candy was a yellow starburst, and that his dad would carry them with him on one of their first expeditions together in Alaska. This hit me hard. Thank you Roman Dial for sharing your story of your son with us. I respect your vulnerability but along with your strength and resilience. Thank you.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    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 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 this story. By the time the final chapters came along, I found it difficult to like the author, though my empathy grew as the chapters waned.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Katie.dorny

    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 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 refreshing and this was a read I won’t forget.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie Brody

    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 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 Rica to look for him. The search took two years as he fought the jungle, various bureaucracies and a web of innuendo and rumor. It seemed quite possible that this was a life that terminated in murder, but where was the body? There was innuendo that Cody’s disappearance was a consequence of involvement with drug smuggling, something totally at odds with the family's perception of their son, but leading them to doubt that they really knew him. After two years, the mystery was solved, Cody Roman Dial's body was found and he had most likely died when a large tree fell on him or he was bitten by a poisonous snake. He hadn’t fallen in with unscrupulous criminals nor had he been caught in some part of the drug trade. What is true is that the jungle is dangerous. A blameless tree or a snake took his life, a life he embraced and for which his upbringing had gloriously prepared him. Like many Alaskans, my husband had some familiarity with Roman and his extreme adventures and he followed the story. He was aware of Roman undertaking extreme trips in the Alaskan wilderness and equally extreme pack rafting adventures around the globe, including remote jungles. Until reading this poignant memoir, I was not aware that the whole family had vast experience with jungles at least as wild as those in Costa Rica. This memoir is not about a tragedy of a child desperately trying to come up to impossibly macho standards. It was a tragedy both in terms of his untimely death and the agonies of his loving family. This is a family possessing unique skills and a vast network of influential contacts, yet they were unable to save their precious son or even find him for two agonizing years. This book is a wonderful and poignant read in its own right, but I chose to augment it with the author's interview on NPR's Fresh Air, recorded on 3/3/2020. The author's own words, spoken and written, paint a picture of great love, family closeness, and enduring hope. When asked whether he would have raised his child differently knowing that great adventure would ultimately lead to his death, he answers by stating that we can never know the future. What the author feels in his spirituality is continued closeness with his son and small, connecting, close moments when his son is with him. Thanks to the author for a copy of this book. The content and opinions expressed in this review are all my own.

  19. 5 out of 5

    JoAnna

    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 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 kind of parenting are abundant nowadays. And here you have Mr. Dial, who cherished his son, cherished having him by his side and wanted to share his world of discovery and adventure with him to the fullest extent. I was worried that they would never find out what happened to Cody Roman and was relieved that they eventually did find out what happened and they could get some closure. My sincere and deep condolences to Cody Roman's parents.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ben Werner

    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 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, grappling with a luminous doom. By morning I had vanished at least a dozen times into something better. -Mary Oliver

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Jacobs

    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 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. Anytime an author puts a personal and emotional story out there for the public to judge, it has to be difficult to see it picked apart and have their experiences questioned or being told that they could tell their story differently. I think everyone should read the book and appreciate what the author has put together from his point of view, and appreciate that in an age where everyone hides behind a computer, there is a raw emotional story about familial love....read it, learn from it, and most of all appreciate it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Justin Ryan

    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. 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.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Evelyn Wilson

    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 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 now. Like we are closer to our 2 other daughters. Could they have made a difference? Full of questions with no answers will always be. I would never do most of what they did in their travels and adventures but they should never regret doing them. The world, seeing the world. ABSOLUTELY worth every word of reading!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Linda Munro

    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 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 year-old son disappears in Costa Rico after a lone trek through dangerous terrain, Roman pulls out all stops to locate his son and learn the truth about his disappearance. I cannot imagine what the family felt over the two years it took to solve this mystery! Despite the guilt of the father, I wish I could have been a parent more like him.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    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 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 natural exploration and communion that is difficult for me to fathom, culminating in his son's trek through the very same rainforest--in his case, a pure jungle requiring machete path-hacking and daily water boiling, fraught with several varieties of venomous snakes, crawling with swarming and biting insects, and vulnerable to flash floods and falling trees. Between the experience of the natural world and the approach to leisure time (not to mention parenting...), the book's narrative is not only fascinating on its own but also a reminder of how so close can also be so far.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

    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 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-promoting; a rundown of all the skills he himself has and has taught his son, and how incredibly well-prepared the younger Roman would have been for whatever insane, irresponsible adventure he decide to go on. He was planning on crossing the Darién for Pete's sake! Whenever Roman Sr. even starts to consider that maybe he made small mistakes here and there, he immediately concludes that nah, he probably didn't. He says he feels guilty about not noticing the email containing young Roman's out date, but I don't buy it. Maybe Roman is a better packrafter than writer and that's why no genuine emotion is coming across here, I don't know. But this definitely felt like a man trying to convince the world that he has nothing to feel guilty about.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    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 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 as I put this book down, I rang my parents to thank them for believing in me even when they could so clearly see the potential dangers I was walking into. I have to admit, I probably should have realised it sooner. I'm very fortunate I had the time to make up for this fact. It is clear from the insights into Roman's life, even if we were of a similar age on our long trips to Central America, he was far beyond me in his understanding of the world and the importance of his family. The impact of the loving and nurturing environment he was raised in is beyond measure. He grew to be a son that every family would be proud of. This book has reminded me that I need to be a better son for mine.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alexis

    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 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 wanted to be taken to these places Roman mentioned and I wanted to feel like I was there with Cody. It just fell very short of that.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Maira

    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. 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.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    This was riveting and heartbreaking and I didn't want to put it down. Highly recommended! Full review to come soon. This was riveting and heartbreaking and I didn't want to put it down. Highly recommended! Full review to come soon.

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