Adult Booklists: Adventure and Military Fiction

Sometimes called 'men's books,' most of these are novels of survival, adventure, intrigue and espionage, war, militias, and other thrilling, suspenseful topics.


A Is For Action!: War Stories, Military Adventures & Techno-Thrillers (Lynne M. Kennedy, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY): List of over 300 titles, with author, publication info, and summary for each title. Many series identified and catalogued. From Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms (1929) to The God of War by Chris Stewart(2008).

To the Limit - True Stories of Survival (Gloria Walsh-Rock, Downers Grove Public Library, IL): True stories. Author, title, summary, page count, publication date, and webcat link for 15 titles, from Hiroshima Maidens by Rodney Barker to In Harms Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors by Doug Stanton Compiled 2002.

Page Turners: Adrenaline Rushes (Gretchen Rings, Downers Grove Public Library, IL): 'Featuring spies, action heroes, special operations teams, and code breakers who embark on dangerous missions to save people and priceless treasures.' Author, title, summary, page count, publication date, and webcat link for about 15 titles, from The Cleaner by Brett Battles to Sanibel Flats by Randy Wayne White. Some are the first in a series. Compiled 2010.

Action Adventure (Northbrook Public Library, IL): Author, title, summary for about 40 titles, from Sam Barone's Dawn of Empire to Brad Thor's Blowback.

Survivor Stories - Fiction (Wolfner Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Jefferson City, MO): Lists about 50 titles, with author and detailed summaries of each title, from Airframe by Michael Crichton to Winter Rage by John Legg. Compiled Sept. 2006.

Many Manly Men Doing Manly Things (Wolfner Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Jefferson City, MO): Lists about 20 titles, with author and detailed summaries of each title. Clancy, Wister, L'Amour, Mailer, Cussler, Higgins, Griffin, etc. Updated Sept. 2006.

Manly Fiction (Addison PL, IL): 'Fiction that packs a punch.' Author, title, webcat link and summary for about 20 books, including fiction, mystery and suspense. Authors include Matthew Reilly, Clive Cussler, Owen Parry, James Lee Burke, Bernard Cornwell, et al.

A Taste of Adventure (B. J. Seitzer, Durham County Library, NC): Arranged by category: Spies; On Land, On the Sea, or in the Air; and Future. Provides author, title, and summary for about 30 novels. Compiled May 2000, updated 2009.

If You Like Adventure/Thrillers, Try ... (Mayo County Library, Ireland): Recommends 2 or 3 similar authors, if you like: Evelyn Anthony; Geoffrey Archer; Campbell Armstrong; Desmond Bagley; David Baldacci; Mary Higgins Clark; James Clavell; Jon Cleary; Clive Cussler; Len Deighton; Robert Goddard; John Le CarrE; Eric Lustbader; Alistair MacLean; Michael Ridpath; Gerald Seymour; Sidney Sheldon; Nevil Shute; Martin Cruz Smith; Wilbur Smith; Craig Thomas; Gordon Thomas.

Action Adventures (Kitchener Public Library, Ontario, Canada): Authors and title(s) only for 31 novels of action.

I, Spy: World War II Espionage Tales (Lynne M. Kennedy, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY): About 35 titles, with authors, publication info, and summaries. Enigma, the OSS, Churchill, and Nazi plots to kill FDR abound. From Helen MacInnes's Above Suspicion (1941) to Mark Frost's Second Objective (2007).

Espionage Thrillers (Reader's Advice): Author, title, and Amazon link for about 850 titles, from David Aaron's Agent of Influence to Marcus Wynne's Dale Miller and Charley Payne series. Compiled Aug. 1999, updated regularly.

Spy Fiction (Northbrook Public Library, IL): Author, title, summary for about 50 titles, from Ted Allbeury's Cold Tactics to Marcus Wynne's Brothers in Arms.

Conspiracy: They're Out to Getcha (Central Rappahannock Public Library, VA): PDF. Author, title, and summary for about 30 books, in title order, from Apocalypse Watch by Robert Ludlum to White Flame by James Grady.

Conspiracies for the Femmes (Central Rappahannock Public Library, VA): PDF. 'She may not wear stilettos or skintight black leather, but she's dangerous nonetheless. She can be a photojournalist, law student, Foreign Service Officer, Parisian chambermaid, the First Lady, or an FBI Special Agent.' Author, title, and summary for about 10 books, in title order, from Blackwater Sound by James W. Hall to The Pelican Brief by John Grisham.

Men's Action/Adventure Series (Reader's Advice): 'Action/Adventure series in which a single agent or team of agents opposes the forces of evil.' Author, title, and Amazon link for fourteen series, one of which lists about 145 books. Series include Keith Douglass's Carrier series, Cliff Garnett's TALON Force series, several of Don Pendleton's series, Clay Harvey's Tyler Vance series, and Warren Murphy (and others) The Destroyer series.

Set Sail for Adventure: Tales of Derring-Do on the High Seas (Lynne M. Kennedy, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY): Almost 150 novels listed (some in series), with author, publication info, and summary for each title or series. From James Fenimore Cooper's The Red Rover (1828) to Edwin Thomas's series, The Reluctant Adventures of Lt. Martin Jerrold. Updated 2008.

Anchors Aweigh! A Naval Adventure Fiction Booklist (Lincoln City Libraries, NE): 'Extensive list of Naval Adventure fiction, set from the 1600s through the early 1900s. Most of these titles are military fiction, with a few pure 'adventure' novels thrown in. All the novels in this list feature adventures aboard sailing vessels.' Titles and series listed by author, with webcat links. Hundreds of books listed. Updated June 2006.

UP Periscope!: Submarine Adventures (Lynne M. Kennedy, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY): List of 65 titles, with author, publication info, and summary for each title. From Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1870) to David E. Meadows' Final Run (2008). Updated 2009.

Naval Adventure on the High Seas (Manchester Public Library, Manchester, CT): Author and series summaries for about 15 series. Titles listed. Updated 2006.

Stories of the Navy SEALS (Springfield-Greene County Library, MO): Author, title, webcat link, and summary for 6 novels featuring Navy SEALS.

Masters and Commanders (Central Rappahannock Public Library, VA): PDF. Books similar to Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey and Maturin series: 'These books, many part of a series, feature unforgettable captains facing the rigors and horrors of the boundless deep.' Author, title, and summary for about 20 books, from Apprentice to the Sea by Philip McCutchan to Tom Cringle's Log by Michael Scott.

War and Lawlessness on the High Seas (Central Rappahannock Public Library, VA): PDF. 'Historical stories of men, violence, and the sea, from ancient warring Greeks to state-sanctioned privateersmen.' Author, title, and summary for about 15 books, from Annapolis by William Martin to Tom Cringle's Log by Michael Scott.

Pirate Treasure (Central Rappahannock Public Library, VA): 'From historical swashbuckling classics like Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island to futuristic pirates of outer space like Edgar Rice Burrough's Pirates of Venus, from innocents kidnapped to women privateering.' Author, title, summary for 25 books.

High Seas (Reader's Advice): Thrillers involving sea adventures. Author, title, and Amazon link for about 30 titles, from Dave Barry's Tricky Business to Jules Verne's The Mighty Orinoco. Compiled April 2000, updated regularly.

Sea Adventures (Carol A. Kubala, Fiction-L): Compiled July 2006. Author and title for 8 series and about 65 novels and short story collections of sea adventures, from Mammoth Book of Hearts of Oak: Classic and New Stories from the Age of Fighting Sail (ed. Mike Ashley) to Jay Worral's Any Approaching Enemy: A Novel of the Napoleonic Wars.

Cussler-Like (Reader's Advice): 'Suspense/thrillers with a sea connection.' Author, title, and Amazon link for about 150 titles, from Steve Alten's The Trench to Peter Tonkin's Richard Mariner series. Compiled Sept. 1999, updated regularly.

If You Like Clive Cussler (K. Vernon, Wake County PL, NC): PDF. Author, title, webcat link, and summary for 18 books, by Ted Bell, Matthew Reilly, James Powlik, David Poyer, and others. Compiled 2010.

Military and Naval Adventure (Reader's Advice): 'Adventure stories, usually historical, dealing with warfare.' Author, title, and Amazon link for about 300 titles (most in series), from John Biggins' Otto Prohaska series (WWI) to Richard Woodman's Nathaniel Drinkwater series (Naval, Napoleonic War). Usually the war or time period is noted. Created Aug. 1999, updated regularly.

Military and Naval Adventure (Lansing PL, IL): 9-page PDF. 'These are adventure genre rather than serious portrayals of warfare, although many have excellent scenes of battle. The war novel as a mainstream novel is not included.' Author, title, summary for about 35 books, from Cold is the Sea by Edward L. Beach to The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk. Compiled March 2005, updated April 2006.

Military History (Northbrook Public Library, IL) : Lists about 45 titles, with author and summary for each book. From David Ball's Ironfire to Robyn Young's Brethren.

Uncle Sam Wants You! To Read Military Novels (Lansing PL, IL): 8-page PDF. Author, title, summary for about 30 books, from The Ghost Road by Pat Barker to Wings of Honor by Tom Willard. Compiled Dec. 2004, updated April 2006.

Military Action, Espionage, and Intrigue (Manchester Public Library, Manchester, CT): Author, title, and summary of about 25 books, followed by a longer list of simply authors and titles/series. Updated Oct. 2006.

War/Military Fiction (Reader's Advice): 'Distinguished from military adventure or historical fiction dealing with specific wars, this type of fiction deals more with the social and psychological impact of war and military life, and includes humorous books on military life.' Author, title, and Amazon link for about 110 titles, from Rick Ainsworth's Thunder and Storm to Bill Yenne's Into the Fire. Compiled Jan. 2000, updated regularly.

Fighting Forces & Special Ops (Reader's Advice): 'Adventure stories, often in series, dealing with wars, special military forces, police actions, and those who take part in them.' Author, title, and Amazon link for about 350 titles (many in series), from David Alexander's Special Ops to Bing West's The Pepperdogs. Lots of Tom Clancy and W.E.B. Griffin. Compiled Sept. 1999, updated regularly.

Conquer the Stars! Classics in Military Science Fiction (Central Rappahannock Public Library, VA): Author, title, summary, webcat link for about 15 books, from Bolo Brigade by Keith Laumer and William H. Keith, Jr. to Worldwar: In the Balance by Harry Turtledove.

If You Like Ken Follett (Wake County PL, NC): PDF. 'Stories of suspense, espionage and adventure.' Author, title, webcat link, and summary for a dozen books, by Nelson Demille, Len Deighton, Stephen Coonts, Brian Freemantle, Jack Higgins, Robert Ludlum, and others. Updated Nov. 2010.

If You Like Nelson DeMille (K. Vernon, Wake County PL, NC): PDF. Author, title, webcat link, and summary for 9 books, by Brian Haig, Daniel Silva, Lee Child, J.F.Freedman, et al. Updated Feb. 2011.