Cover image for The adventurer's son : a memoir
The adventurer's son : a memoir
1st ed.
Physical Description:
viii, 355 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm.
Prologue: Family -- Usibelli -- 10,910 -- Peggy Mayne -- The cornice -- Cody Roman Dial -- Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn -- Umnak -- Space Captain -- Borneo -- Gunung Palung -- Jungles and ice -- Dungeons and dragons -- Big banana -- Mexico -- Guatemala -- El Peten -- Finding Carmelita -- South to Costa Rica -- "The best map yet" -- "email, please!" -- Dondee -- The corners -- Carate -- The helicopter -- Rio Conte -- Jenkins -- Zeledon -- Cruz Roja -- Whiteout -- Las Quebraditas -- Negritos -- Piedras Blancas -- Homefront -- The fellowship -- Tree fall -- Foul play -- Peggy and Jazz -- Cerro de Oro -- Roman's route -- Rio Claro -- Back to Alaska -- TIJAT -- Carson -- Kool-aid -- Pata Lora -- A backpack -- Discovery -- Sleeping in the forest -- Closure -- Gather the ashes -- Epilogue: Meat, ravens, and seeds.
In the predawn hours of July 10, 2014, the son of Alaskan scientist and National Geographic Explorer Roman Dial walked alone into Corcovado National Park, an untracked rainforest along Costa Rica's remote Pacific Coast. He carried a light backpack and machete. Cody emailed his father that he would do 4 days in the jungle and a day to walk out. He was never seen again. The authorities suspected murder. Dial was forced to confront the question: Was he responsible for his son's fate? --


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book 917.286 DIA 0 1
Book 917.286 DIA 0 1

On Order




"A brave and marvelous book. A page-turner that will rip your heart out." --Jon Krakauer

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.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

A father's outdoor adventures lead his son into danger in this gripping memoir. Dial, a biology professor at Alaska Pacific University, recounts the disappearance of his 27-year-old son, Cody Roman Dial, during a solo jungle trek in Costa Rica's Corcovado National Park. Flying down to lead the search, the author found a primeval forest full of perils--deadly snakes, falling trees, prowling drug smugglers--and bewildering mysteries: government bureaucrats blocked his searches; purported sightings of Cody accompanied by a local criminal surfaced; and Dial got enmeshed with a reality-TV show spinning a murder theory about the disappearance. Backgrounding the narrative are Dial's recollections of his own dangerous adventures--in one heart-stopping mountain-climbing incident, he leaped into a precipice to counterbalance a roped partner's plunge off the opposite side of a ridge--and of taking Cody, from the age of six, on risky wilderness excursions and white-water rafting trips. Dial conveys both his guilt at setting his son on that fateful path and the allure of that path--"y grief painted the jungle black, but the heart of the Osa's wilderness still left me awed.... I couldn't shut out forever the joy in seeing a kingfisher's blue flash or a spider monkey's graceful swing." Dial paints a riveting, richly conflicted portrait of family legacies and the call of the wild. (Feb.)

Kirkus Review

A brisk account of a father's search for his 27-year-old son, who vanished on a solo trek through Costa Rica's Corcovado jungle.Alaskan adventurer and ecologist Dial (Mathematics and Biology/Alaska Pacific Univ.; Packrafting! An Introduction and How-To Guide, 2008) chronicles his quest to figure out what happened to his son, Cody. Fusing personal history with elegy and adventure, this arresting narrative of every parent's worst fear begins with the author's background and then recounts the Dial family's many exciting excursions. Meticulous memories of father and son exploring places like Alaska and Borneo establish Cody as a person who grew into a capable adventurer and biologist. In the second section, the author pieces together Cody's volcano climbs and resourceful forays in Central America before contact with his parents ceased. His last email was written in Costa Rica in 2014, and its haunting last line"it should be difficult to get lost forever"reverberates throughout the text. When he realized that his son may have disappeared, Dial left for Costa Rica to unearth the truth. With the assistance of his friends, wife, and an intriguing mixture of officials and locals (who weren't always forthcoming with information), Dial confronted rumors of foul play and continued to sift through his own knowledge of his son's character for clues. The author's guilt at having sparked Cody's interest in the wild mingles with the veteran adventurer's tactical calm in the face of numerous obstacles. His descriptions of Costa Rica's jungles echo with mystery, and, despite his grief, Dial's writing remains measured and cleareyed. When he recounts how a TV crew took a sensational angle for the sake of drama, the author's dismay is palpable. Two years later, Cody's remains were found, and it was determined that his death was an accident, which brought his family some sense of closure. In its emotional restraint and careful descriptions of the wild, this is a slow-burning tribute.A poignant, highly moving memoir of tragic circumstances and a lifelong love of exploring. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

His son's solo trek into the Costa Rican jungle was only supposed to last a handful of days. But when 27-year-old Cody Roman Dial's father realizes it has been 10 days since he was supposed to return, and there has been no word from him, he travels to Costa Rica to search for his son himself. It would be two years before he would learn what happened to his son, and in this powerful memoir of a father's love of adventure and of his child, Dial reflects on whether he should have shielded Cody Roman from the wild journeys they took together. For a boy whose first name was inspired by an Alaskan mountain pass, Cody Roman grew up sharing his father's love for the outdoors. But the puzzle pieces that greet Dial in Costa Rica paint a much different picture, of a young man involved with a notorious drug dealer. Through the twists and turns of his search, Dial must follow his own compass to stay true to the son he knew. A complex and moving memoir.--Bridget Thoreson Copyright 2020 Booklist

Table of Contents

Prologue: Familyp. 1
Part I

p. 3

Chapter 1 Usibellip. 5
Chapter 2 10,910p. 14
Chapter 3 Peggy Maynep. 22
Chapter 4 The Cornicep. 30
Chapter 5 Cody Roman Dialp. 36
Chapter 6 Tropics of Cancer and Capricornp. 42
Chapter 7 Umnakp. 51
Chapter 8 Space Captainp. 60
Chapter 9 Borneop. 70
Chapter 10 Gunung Palungp. 76
Chapter 11 Jungles and Icep. 85
Chapter 12 Dungeons and Dragonsp. 94
Chapter 13 Big Bananap. 104
Part II

p. 113

Chapter 14 Mexicop. 115
Chapter 15 Guatemalap. 122
Chapter 16 El Peténp. 130
Chapter 17 Finding Carmelitap. 138
Chapter 18 South to Costa Ricap. 145
Chapter 19 "The Best Map Yet"p. 152
Part III

p. 159

Chapter 20 "email, please!"p. 161
Chapter 21 Dondeep. 169
Chapter 22 The Cornersp. 177
Chapter 23 Caratep. 183
Chapter 24 The Helicopterp. 190
Chapter 25 Rio Contep. 198
Chapter 26 Jenkinsp. 205
Chapter 27 Zeledónp. 209
Chapter 28 Cruz Rojap. 215
Chapter 29 Whiteoutp. 220
Chapter 30 Las Quebraditasp. 225
Chapter 31 Negritosp. 232
Chapter 32 Piedras Blancasp. 239
Chapter 33 Homefrontp. 244
Chapter 34 The Fellowshipp. 250
Chapter 35 Tree Fallp. 256
Chapter 36 Foul Playp. 260
Chapter 37 Peggy and Jazzp. 264
Chapter 38 Cerro de Orop. 269
Chapter 39 Roman's Routep. 274
Chapter 40 Rio Clarop. 280
Chapter 41 Back to Alaskap. 285
Chapter 42 TIJATp. 291
Chapter 43 Carsonp. 298
Chapter 44 Kool-Aidp. 303
Chapter 45 Pata Lorap. 308
Chapter 46 A Backpackp. 315
Chapter 47 Discoveryp. 323
Chapter 48 Sleeping in the Forestp. 329
Chapter 49 Closurep. 334
Chapter 50 Gather the Ashesp. 340
Epilogue: Meat, Ravens, and Seedsp. 347
Acknowledgmentsp. 353