With a career that stretches across the last four decades, Kevin Costner has cemented his place as a Hollywood legend. He’s danced with wolves, played on the field of dreams, and fought with the Hatfields and McCoys. A real jack of all trades, the Oscar winner recorded a few country-rock albums with his band, Kevin Costner & Modern West. The group even embarked on a worldwide tour which included successful shows in the United States and abroad. Away from the bright lights of the entertainment industry, Kevin Costner has also ventured into the realm of publishing as co-author of The Explorers Guild, Volume One: A Passage to Shambhala. With a story that promises to be a return to the golden age of adventure, it’s described by Good Reads as a gorgeously wrought, action-packed, globe-trotting tale that combines the kind of storytelling that fans love from legends like Kipling with the irresistible, illustrative style of Hergé’s Adventures of Tintin.
Kevin Costner’s book is as exciting as any movie. Hidden behind the staid public rooms of an old-world gentlemen’s club exists a more mysterious organization called The Explorers Guild. The series follows a clandestine group of adventurers who explore the places where light gives way to shadows and reason is usurped by myth. The secrets they search for are hidden in mountain ranges, buried in deserts, lost beneath the ocean, and lodged deep in polar ice. Battling the harsh elements, the group aims to discover the mysteries that lie beyond the boundaries of the known world.
The first in Kevin Costner’s book series, The Explorers Guild, Volume One: A Passage to Shambhala is a beautifully crafted graphic novel and adventure tale, set against the backdrop of World War I. It focuses on the Guild’s quest to find the golden city of Buddhist fables. The search takes the adventurers from the Polar North to the Mongolian deserts, through the underground canals of Asia and deep inside the Himalayas, before the mythical city shares its secrets and the mind-blowing journey plays out to its surprising conclusion.
While the book’s premise definitely sounds like a movie, when Jon Baird (author of Day Job and Songs From Nowhere Near the Heart) approached the star with his pitch in a fancy Los Angeles hotel, he faltered. Speaking to USA Today about being approached with the concept for The Explorers Guild, Kevin Costner said he didn’t understand what he [Barid] was telling him. But he did have a strong feeling about Baird.
So as the story goes, the Yellowstone star invited Barid to his house to learn about the story which was initially pitched as a movie. That meeting led to collaboration on a 22-minute animated sample the pair pitched to several studios. But they all declined. After their disappointment faded, the pair decided that Baird would write it as a book. Giving it the graphic fiction treatment, Kevin Costner would only make suggestions to completed pages at first, but over time he became so immersed in the characters and story, he would give ideas along those lines too.
The Explorers Guild, Volume One: A Passage to Shambhala was released in 2015, with excellent reviews on top seller sites like Amazon. For now, Kevin Costner and his collaborators haven’t made any announcements about follow-up works, but hopefully, there will be one in the future.