The Adventurer’s Son, by Roman Dial, will be available February 18th, 2020. Anchorage friends can join Roman Wednesday, February 19th, for a book release event at Bear Tooth Theater.
You can purchase The Adventurer’s Son at Amazon.
I wrote a book review for Alaska Magazine (June 2020) but was limited to 300 words. Here is more of what I wanted to include. I also wrote a short blog post about my friendship with Roman, several years back.
On the flight back from our Arctic Refuge lobby effort in Washington DC, 2019, Roman brought a bound draft of his book to my seat. I have the gift of instantly falling asleep while traveling, but Roman’s book kept me awake through the overnight flight to Seattle, and then Anchorage.
In real life, Roman is an incredible storyteller. He regularly holds rapt audiences, from the Alaska Pacific University classroom to the staffers we had just worked with in DC. His stories are just as compelling in written form.
In 2014, after 10 months traveling through Central America, Cody Roman Dial went missing in Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica. His father, Roman Dial, is a world-class adventurer, deeply familiar with the risks of adventure. Roman immediately flew to Costa Rica for what would become a multi-year search for his son.
The Adventurer’s Son is the story of the Dial family’s search for Cody Roman. Roman’s account interweaves two narratives, factual and emotional. The factual narrative provides the storyline with a description of clues, false leads, and involved parties. The emotional part, intimate thoughts of guilt and responsibility, is more subtle, but digs deeper, and will stick with you after the factual details have faded.
Cody Roman took after his father in every possible way. On their first multi-day hike (60 miles across an Aleutian Island), six year old Cody Roman rebranded himself as “Roman two.” This inaugural shared experience of traveling overland was incredibly meaningful for Roman, and he recalls it while searching the jungle twenty years later. “I had included him, again and again, to the point that a large part of our relationship–his very name–was built on experiences like his illegal bushwhack in Corcovado.”
Roman lets us watch Cody Roman evolve as an adventurer. I appreciated this background; it allowed me to feel like I knew Cody Roman better, had even watched him develop his personal style of adventure. It is a wonderful style, shaped by an inherent generosity that attracts locals and their support, creating social, inclusive, and unselfish memories.
With each new accomplishment in Central America, Cody Roman seeks harder objectives. Roman watches his son’s risk tolerance increase, and he struggles to find the balance between concern and support. “I’ve always resented people who warned me off my plans with ‘No, it’s too dangerous.’… Shouldn’t I feel satisfaction he’s adventuring instead of fear?” Roman edits an email to his son from, “I don’t think you should go…” to, “Be careful with the machete.”
The Dials do find closure, physically, but we are left with the sense that Roman will never assuage his guilt or sense of responsibility. “My regret was that I had introduced Roman to adventure and the excitement of the wild.” But how can you not share what you love? How can you not support your loved ones when they discover their own paths?
The Adventurer’s Son allows us to walk this journey with Peggy, Roman, and Jazz, searching for clues in an unsympathetic jungle, and peace in a tormented mind.