Putting the Adventure Series in order

After spending a very long time putting the Famous Five books in order I thought I might as well see if I could do the same for my other favourite series. The Adventure Series should be much easier to do, firstly there are only 8 books and secondly I think I have already got the order fairly set in my mind.


By now I think that you all know that The Circus of Adventure is my favourite from the series. It may be second last, but it’s definitely the best for me.


I enjoy the slightly unusual situation of having Jack on his own for a while (usually they are at least in twos) trying to navigate the unfamiliar world of Tauri-Hessia, and breaking into Castle Borken with only Kiki to aid him.

There are some very funny parts, like Gussy being dolled up as Old Ma’s granddaughter at the end, and his furious rows with Kiki at the start. And there are is also plenty of excitement with the escaping bears, the trapeze rescue from the castle and the soldiers searching the circus just when they thought they were safe.



Second place has to go to The Island of Adventure.

the-island-of-adventureIt’s where everything starts, but we are never bored with long introductions or getting-to-know-yous. It has the mystery of Bill Smugs, secret passages, the terrifying Jo-Jo (and the joy of the children getting one over on him) and the magnificent location of Craggy Tops.



I find it hard to choose between my next two favourite books, namely The Castle of Adventure and The Valley of Adventure.

Both are very strong books, full of danger, excitement and just enough humour.

In Valley they are completely on their own in Austria, hunted by Juan and Pepe. There’s the thrill of hunting for long-lost treasures, secret passages and the sweet old couple who you just have to admire for their gumption. The humour comes from scenes like the girl’s behind-the-waterfall dance and the altercation by Juan (or is it Pepe?) and the suitcase.

Castle has Mrs Mannering close by for much of it, but the castle remains quite a dark spectre. And of course the children end up trapped inside the castle, which is so impenetrable  it might as well be an Austrian Valley. Castle is potentially scarier, I think. The scene where Jack discovers someone else is there, creeping about at night makes me shiver. No doubt the prospect of being trapped in a valley is scary but it’s a different sort of fear.

I think I will have to put Valley into third place. Living in a cave trumps camping in a castle, and Bill’s arrival isn’t quite so contrived as it is at the end of Castle.

So it’s Circus – Island – Valley – Castle so far.



A great book despite only landing in fifth place, it’s The Sea of Adventure. (This is the problem when there are so many great books!)

the-sea-of-adventureSea perhaps suffers from a slightly slower start, but there is not time to be bored even then. The storm which whips the children’s tents away is thrilling, and the thought of being marooned on an island is nearly as bad as being stuck in a valley or castle. Huffin and Puffin are interesting and amusing companions, and Horace Tripalong, er, I mean Tippalong is a humorous bumbling faux enemy for them to deal with. The only other weak point would be its similarities to The Adventurous Four especially towards the end.



Mountain of Adventure is another one with a few too many similarities to another book (this time The Secret Mountain).

the-mountain-of-adventureA lot of people criticize the stereotypical Welsh characters and their silly language but I can’t say it’s ever bothered me too much. The portion of the book taking part inside the mountain is a strange one, it’s just a very weird place full of very weird people. The best bits have to be don’t forget Bill Smugs and the scenes with the ‘wolves’ hunting the children.



The Ship of Adventure has its moments, the final chapters once they are on the little Greek island are exciting and engaging but perhaps too much time is spent in comfort on the cruise ship.


The ship in a bottle with a hidden message is a nice idea, and Mr Eppy is a menacing figure on the confines of the ship. Allie leaving and Bill arriving seems to be another overly contrived situation as well, and like Kiki I’m not overly fond of Mickey.



The River of Adventure.

the-river-of-adventurePoor River, I’m not sure why I’ve always liked it the least. Possibly I feel that Raya Uma is a really patchy baddie in terms of the fear factor and how seriously you can take him. Bill seems to think he’s extremely dangerous but he acts like a complete idiot at the end. Bill himself is not too bright, taking Allie to a potential enemies house and getting themselves both kidnapped. The end is somehow an anti-climax too, after the fairly thrilling boat ride we get a rather lame ‘we’ll have to come back and see the treasure being discovered.’ Us poor readers certainly don’t get to come back!


And there you have it, and all in one post!

What would your order look like?

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31 Responses to Putting the Adventure Series in order

  1. chrissie777 says:

    “Circus” was my very first Adventure book which I’ve read in late 1965/1966 and that’s why it will always have a special place in my heart. BTW isn’t Jack also by himself in “Valley” when he flies back from Austria to England to get Bill Smugs?

    “Castle” (Buttons is so cute) and “Valley” followed by “Sea” (I love Huffin and Puffin) are my favorites. I enjoy “Island”, but think the beginning is kind of slow.
    With the long underground tunnel it always reminds me of FOATI.

    “Mountain” is o.k. and slowly growing on me (I know it’s Francis favorite).
    “Ship” and “River” did not really compel me that much when I was a child. I usually skip reading them when I reread the Adventure series.

    So here’s my order:
    1. Valley
    2. Castle
    3. Sea
    4. Circus
    5. Island
    6. Mountain
    7. Ship
    8. River

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Francis says:

    Well, I am back at last! It must be the Adventure series effect that did it.it is lovely to read other people’s list of their favourites of this truly great series. It must have helped that these books were mostly written in Enid’s golden age. Well, as Chrissie has divined my favourite is ‘Mountain’ followed by ‘Sea’, ‘Valley’, ‘Castle’, ‘Island’, ‘Circus’, ‘Ship’ and ‘River in that order. ‘Mountain’ for sentimental reasons, ‘Sea’ for a great location, ‘Valley’ and ‘Castle’ almost equally great and ‘Island’ excellent after a necessarily slow start. ‘Circus’ is the best of the later books and exciting and different and still an excellent book. ‘Ship’ is good but not quite of the very best but ‘River’ is definitely slightly less good. A truly great series thank you Fiona.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. chrissie777 says:

    Francis, you have been missed!


  4. jillslawit says:

    I cannot put these in order yet as I haven’t read them all. I have read half of them, and the rest are on the EB shelf waiting for me. Can’t wait to see the lists for the Barney mysteries and the Secret series.

    Liked by 1 person

    • chrissie777 says:

      Jill, I envy you for discovering the Adventure series! Do you have the version with Stuart Tresilian’s illustrations?


      • jillslawit says:

        My copy of The River of Ad. is the Macmillan version with Tresilian illustrations. The rest are either Thames Publishing reprints in hardback, or Armada paperbacks, all with pictures by Tresilian. Nice to have some continuity with the illustrations. I don’t like modern reprints, and pick old ones up at carboot sales, old bookshops, junk shops when I can.

        Liked by 1 person

        • chrissie777 says:

          Jill, I was able to buy 4 or 5 of the Adventure hardbacks at Foyle’s in London at the beginning of my 1981 UK trip. I ordered the missing sequels and picked them up 3 weeks later on the way back to the ferry from Dover to Calais. It was definitely worth the detour to London! If I had them shipped to Germany, it would have cost me a fortune.
          BTW this was still during the pre-Internet age :).

          When I later compared my new English copies with my old German Adventure translations at home, I was delighted to discover the many extra Tresilian illustrations in the English books which the German publisher did not include.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Francis says:

    Yes it’s wonderful to be back! Fiona is right that at least we have clear least favourites. Unfortunately bought ‘Sea of Adventure’ today with dust wrapper for £5 – I couldn’t resist it. I blame Fiona for reawakening my addiction. I’ll have to go back into rehab!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. chrissie777 says:

    Did you tell Izzy, Francis?


  7. Francis says:

    I have already told her that it’s all Fiona’s fault. Unfortunately she is not impressed with blaming Fiona and thinks it is all my fault! .Don’t tell her that I have 48 of the original hardbacks including 12 of the ‘Sea of Adventure’,

    Liked by 1 person

  8. chrissie777 says:

    Francis, the next logical question would be: HOW MANY hardbacks do you have of “Mountain of Adventure” as this is your favorite?

    I admit that I do have 3 copies of “Valley” as Wolfgang gave me a nice German hardback 2 years ago (an Erika Klopp Verlag edition from the early 1950’s), I have my 1960’s Erika Klopp Verlag hardback in German which my parents gave me when I was a child plus the English hardback from MacMillan’s that I bought at Foyle’s some 36 years ago.


    • Francis says:

      I only have 10 copies of ‘Mountain of Adventure’ so I obviously must buy some more! Yes sorry Fiona I have been hoarding but it is an addiction and I am obsessed. I jus keep on seeing these books and I am leaving far more than I buy. Wherever I go I stumble on these books. I f you want me to find some for you or if Chrissie does then I am your man!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. chrissie777 says:

    Francis, that’s a very sweet offer, but I’m slowly running out of space in my EB book case. However, if you ever would stumble on nice old hardbacks of “Secret at the Old Mill” and “At Seaside Cottage” with Eileen A. Soper illustrations (the first Secret Seven stories) (they don’t need to have a dust wrapper, but shouldn’t have any water damage or mold) for less than £10 each, please get them for me and I could pay you via PayPal with shipping costs included, of course. Those two are very hard to get, but you never know. Somebody might sell them without knowing how much they are worth.


  10. Francis says:

    I think that is likely but I can’t say why.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Anonymous says:

    I must agree with the ranking of these – though I would award Valley and Island a joint second place as I can’t really decide between them! The problem is that this is such a strong series as a whole – it certainly doesn’t tail-off in the way that the Mystery series does. I don’t remember being aware of any real shortcomings when I first read them as a youngster and still enjoy them now!


  12. Pamela Perry says:

    I’m late to the party, but I absolutely loved the Adventure books: in the 1950’s I’d save my birthday and Christmas money (half-a-crown or even 5/-) given by my grandfather each year, followed by an eagerly-anticipated visit to our local bookshop to buy the latest in the series, all with the wonderful covers and illustrations by Stuart Tresilian. As for favourites, my personal ranking is Island, Valley, Sea, Castle, Ship, Circus, Mountain (very spooky for a little girl!) and River.

    My middle-aged son now has custody of my Adventure books because he also loved them when he was a child, and I’ve been known to have a surreptitious and pleasurable read of them when visiting him!


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