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Adventure books (fantasy or not) in the vein of The Odyssey?


New Member
Before someone tells me this should be in the Fantasy forum, hear me out.

I am looking for suggestions of books that involve getting from A to B and meeting lots of different people along the way.

This can involve a quest, but actually doesn't have to involve any so obvious purpose.

The book that comes to mind is Homer's The Odyssey, which in essence is really just about getting home.

Now the Fantasy genre comes to mind, but it doesn't have to be. For instance, the 1970s movie The Warriors would be an example in film - again a group of people just trying to get home and encountering lots of (unfortunately hostile) people along the way.

Another example of non-Fantasy would be the Coen Brothers' film Oh! Brother Where Art Thou, which sought to transpose Homer's Odyssey to the southern US in the early 20th century.

A key element I'm looking for is a person or persons meeting a lot of interesting people along the way, like in St-Exupéry's The Little Prince.

That said, I'm not averse to the Fantasy genre - both the Chronicles of Narnia and the Lord of the Rings would fit the bill - but I'd prefer some more real-world suggestions.

Lastly, I'm an adult, but am open to books for different ages.

Any ideas?


New Member
This is maybe out of left field, but try if on a winter's night a traveler by Italo Calvino. It's a quest, of sorts, started when the protagonist begins to read a novel he's just bought, but finds that all it contains is the first eight pages of the book, repeated over and over again. His attempt to get a proper copy first from the bookstore, then the publisher, leads him into a bizarre, tongue-in-cheek world of bookish espionage involving publishers, literary critics, a reclusive author and a literary forger.


New Member
Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time for the fantasy sort, though that's really long so you have to know what you're getting into.

The setup you are looking for is very mythic, so it will lend itself to more fantasy situations.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a bit like this.

There's a book for writers called The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler. It's non-fiction, but analyzes stories and movie scripts by breaking it down into this sort of mythic structure. Not quite what you were looking for, but it popped into my mind immediately.


New Member
Thanks, both of your suggestions sound interesting.

I'm actually kicking around my own story idea, so The Writer's Journey will probably be of particular interest to me.

Any other ideas?


New Member
Flannery O'Connor's short stories. A different setup, but still the unexpected interaction of people with very different ideas.


New Member
The Iliad is incredible. (Try to get Robert Fagles' translation) Personally, I think that Homer was the first fantasy author... and one of the best. (if not the best!) Iliad is not so much the "A to B" sort of thing, but Fagles really makes it feel... poetic. (In fact, it's more like an "A to B, back to A, back to B, ..." sort of thing, since the war front keep moving back and forth)

If it's adventure you want, the Lord of the Rings is the next best thing to Homer. I could also recommend Tolkien's Silmarillion based upon its mythological merits alone.

I don't think the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan is what you're looking for, though it is a personal favorite.



Well-Known Member
The Celestine Prophecy - James Redfield
Melonhead - Michael de Guzman
The Phantom Tollbooth - Norton Juster
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass - Lewis Carroll
Candide - Francois M. Voltaire


New Member
I'm surprised no one has mentioned this yet. Oh alright, I guess I'll just have to do it then :): Gulliver's Travels. You might also want to try Watership Down which is essentially The Odyssey with rabbits (don't let this put you off though, coz its a really good book).

Erm, something just occurred to me. Maybe these two books were not mentioned because they were too obvious? In that case, I apologise.



New Member
cold mountain by charles frazier. one of my favourite books. it's about a man's journey home during the civil war and also a woman's journey to independance. really beautiful.


New Member
Balthasar's Odyssey by Amin Maalouf. Balthasar and 3 other people leaves Lebanon (1666) on a quest to find a unique book that contains the secret name of God which will give great powers to those who know it.

It is not really a fantasy book, although you may think it is after what I just said. It is a quest through several countries, meeting different types of people. I don't want to give you too much information, in case I spoil it for you.


New Member
Maybe Stephen King's Dark Tower series would also fit the bill? Although a lot of it is set in different worlds, some takes place in our world. It certainly involves a quest, and meeting different people.


The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen, by Lloyd Alexander is one of the best stories of this type that I've ever read!

Its geared toward young people, but its full of amazing adult-sized wisdom!! It's (obviously) about Prince Jen, and his quest to find a legendary King who can help save his kingdom. He is given some items from the treasury that are supposed to help him on the way, though he sees little use in them. Along the way he meets several strange characters that play varying roles. What happens is really "remarkable" as the title implies!!


New Member
Salamander by Thomas Wharton.

This is SUCH a treasure. It's an a rare gem of a book. I think it's pretty unknown becauase I don't hear it mentioned very much at all.

The writing is some of the most lyrical and beautiful. Here is an example:
Sometimes the reader places her ear close to a book and hears the distant sighing of the waves. In the crevice between the pagers her fingers touch a wand of cold wet and, studded with tiny fragments of iridesent shell.
The ribbed and sloping paper itself seems to invite her.
She wades in cautiously, her naked feet moing like snails over sharp stones.

It also had, in my opinion, THE single BEST starting of any book. Just reading the first 9 pages always sends that special tingle up and down my spine.

The story is ingenious and full of magical wonder. You travel from London, to a tiny far east european country, to viena, the constantinopal, to china, to wild and fantastical islands... Each place filled with many wonders and beauiful prose.

This is one of my very favourite books!

Here is the blurb from the back:
"That night, as the striking of the great clock reverberated through the draughty halls of the castle, Flood, in his shirt and breeches, leaped barefoot, like a pirate boarding a galley, from his moving bed to Irena's. He found her sitting at the head with her arms around her knees, eyes glittering...

In a spectaluar gothic castle of mechanical revolving doors, moving floors, and unstable staircases broods Count Ostrov, obsessive collector of puzzles and stories. He charges Nicholas Flood, the legendary English printer with the task of creating an infinite book; a story with no beginning and no end. But when Nicholas meets the Count's beautiful daughter Irena a forbidden romance begins - and soon ends, as Nicholas is siftly imprisoned in the castles's dungeons. Once free, he embarks on a perilous journey through Veinice, Alexandria, Cina, and London on a quest for knowledge, and in the parth of great danger..."

This is a great book! I urge anybody to read it :)


New Member
The Dark tower series and Watershp Down were great suggestions. I would also include The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. This one is a little bit different but couldd still work: The Alienist by Caleb Carr it involves lots of charcters working together and meeting interesting folks in 1890's New York.
You might also try Angels & Demons by Dan Brown it has multiple characters and insightful facts about the Vatican. I only suggest these in case you dont feel like imbarking on some of the reather lenghtier quests that entail reading Thne lord of the rings, Chronicles of Narnia and such, kinda a short term fix.