Kevin Costner is already a man of many talents. He’s had a hugely successful career as an actor, an Oscar-winning director/producer and an accomplished recording artist. Now he can add novelist to the long list, as his first novel The Explorers Guild: Volume One: A Passage to Shambhala has now hit book shelves.
Set in a world of change in the WWII era, The Explorers Guild is a boy’s own style adventure that harkens pack to a simpler time. Costner is co-author on the book along with Jon Baird and illustrator Rick Ross and the 781 page book is a rollicking read. You wouldn’t be surprised if this heavy novel was published 70 or 80 years ago. There’s a literary honesty to the type of language delivered by Costner and Baird which never feels like a pastiche of those old-fashioned adventure stories – it’s one of them, albeit one that has arrived decades after they were at their peak. Kevin Costner has built his fascinating career around telling classic tales that some (wrongfully) feel are no longer relevant. He has a knack for taking these well-worn tropes and presenting them to willing audiences who never even realised they needed these stories retold.
Writers such as Jules Verne and Rudyard Kilpling have been mentioned as a touchstone by the authors and that sense of wonder and excitement about the unknown world. The time period is incredibly important here – these adventures are set in a time when the world was on the cusp of great change, but technology and science wasn’t so advanced and this means that a world of possibilities lie waiting across the globe for our explorers.
The Explorers Guild is littered with glorious imagery. Comic-strip style illustrations add another colour to the detailed prose, while Ross also delivers some luscious paintings that add to the reader’s imagination. Time and effort has gone into making this book feel authentic, even down to the ageing and discolouration of the pages. Meticulous care and attention has gone into making not just the book’s content, but also its look and feel.
The Explorers Guild: Volume One: A Passage to Shambhala is an epic tale and an epic book. Kevin Costner, Jon Baird and Rick Ross have created a wonderful throwback to a time when this type of adventure story thrilled generations of children. This mighty tome isn’t just for children though, this is a book for those with an powerful imagination and an unabashed sense of adventure.