Category Archives: August – Adventure

Review: Passage to Shambhala – Book One of the Explorers Guild by Jon Baird, Kevin Costner, and Rick Ross (illustration)


“Behind the staid public rooms of an old world gentlemen’s club operates a more mysterious organization: The Explorers Guild, a clandestine group of adventurers who bravely journey to those places in which light gives way to shadow and reason is usurped by myth. The secrets they seek are hidden in mountain ranges and lost in deserts, buried in the ocean floor and lodged deep in polar ice. The aim of The Explorers Guild: to discover the mysteries that lie beyond the boundaries of the known world.” – Inside cover of The Explorers Guild

The Explorers Guild is a unique book that is both wonderfully archaic and inventively modern. It blends stylized writing that recalls the golden age of adventure books by Jules Verne and Rudyard Kipling with graphic novels like The Adventures of Tintin. This does not mean that this heavy tome is meant for children or to be undertaken by the faint of heart. The language used is old-fashioned and the style even more so. That is not to say that it is dull or boring, but for anyone looking for a light read on the bus home, this is likely not for them.

The story itself follows a few different perspectives, and while it is not always easy to tell at first when there is a perspective change, each character and story arch is unique. From the washed up pseudo-adventurer, to the leader of a fearsome mercenary band, to the young boy with a mysterious past, each character has something deep and meaningful to add to the journey to discover the fabled passage to Shambhala. While it is obvious that the most growth is experienced by the youngest character, Bertram, it is exciting to watch the story unfold around Major John Ogden and his rough-around-the-edges dragoons.

The blend of dense, traditional prose and beautifully rendered graphic novel sections make this an endearing, amusing romp through the golden age of Victorian style adventure stories. However, the length at over 700 pages and the archaic languages make this a “love it or hate it” kind of book. If you love adventure, mystery, and old-fashioned storytelling, and you don’t shy away from the more difficult reads, this book is for you!

A solid 4 out of 5 stars. Gorgeously rendered, beautifully written, and co-written by one of the best storytellers in modern film, Kevin Costner, this book is highly recommended.

Jules Verne: A Legacy of Adventure!

Jules Gabriel Verne was born on February 8th 1828 in Nantes, France. He is best known for being the Father of Science Fiction, but that is not how it started out. In 1863, at the age of 35, he wrote his first novel, “Five Weeks in a Balloon,” which started his writing career.

He soon went on to write many more books such as “Journey to the center of the earth”, “Around the world in 80 days”, and “20000 leagues under the sea.” He wrote them as adventure novels and not as Science Fiction. We call them that today because of the technology and theories he created in his books. In “20000 Leagues Under The Sea” he invented atomic energy and periscopes years before there was a physical prototype. In “Around the World in 80 Days” he showed just how far technology had come in the speed of travel. In “Robur the Conqueror” he invented a zeppelin type flying machine that is still to be matched.


Adventure Prompts

In honor of our Adventure month, here some open ended prompts to get your adrenaline pumping and your wanderlust burning! You can use as many of the Adventure themed prompts in any project you like, and we’d love to see what you come up with!

It was supposed to be a routine flight over the Himalayas. As looked over the wing I saw something that couldn’t possibly be what I thought it was; it looked like a white step pyramid, one even larger than the great pyramid of Giza. I didn’t get a good enough look at it, though, because as soon as I started flying in that direction my instruments went haywire, and I started going down. When I woke up the plane was a fiery wreck, I was the only survivor, and I was alone in a jungle. I had been nowhere near a jungle.

I should have known it was too good to be true. The government doesn’t just offer to buy out millions of dollars in debt to people like me. Now I’m stuck in a spaceship headed right into a black hole. They assured me it would be safe, and they only wanted to know what’s in a black hole, but the tether that is my lifeline is fraying and what I see on the other side… It can’t possibly be real.

I never believed the stories about mermaids and sea monsters, I always figured they were wind blown from old, bored sailors meant to entertain each other on long voyages. However, that changed when our ship wrecked on a misty cove off the edges of the map. It’s pretty hard to deny the existence of mermaids when one is staring you in the face.

I was commissioned to a freighter crew bound for Lagoon 4861, a gas cloud said to harbor huge creatures able to survive and maneuver in space. With our Solar Sails at full we set out at speed, and I finally met my captain. I thought his name sounded familiar, maybe from some old story I read when I was a kid, but couldn’t be sure. Then he told me of the white beast we were hunting.

I’ve dealt with many cursed objects before, it’s sort of unavoidable in my line of work. But when the golden scarab came across my desk, withering and rotting everything it touched, I knew this assignment was going to be a little more challenging.

The Underworld the ancients always talked about is very real. And if you’re clever enough, and know where to go, you can get there.

The Great War was upon us. In the midst of the roaring cannons, screaming horses, and gas filled trenches, something very strange shimmered over the battlefield. I was a courier trying to make my way to the next trench when an enemy soldier blocked my path. We didn’t have time to even aim our weapons at each other before the thing above us exploded in the brightest light I’d ever seen. When we came to, we were on some tundra surrounded by a herd of very agitated Wooly Mammoths.

Our airship went down over an unnamed, unmarked island in the North Pacific ocean. I had always thought the stories of Atlantis were just that, stories. But looking at the ruins on this island I’ve become a believer.