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3 siblings seek lost city as world war breaks out

The Book Beat: From ice fields to New York City

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This week's read

Travel back to the Great World War, and globetrot the world with a colorful band of characters affectionately known as the Explorers Guild. Published in October, “The Explorers Guild” is by Jonathan Baird and Kevin Costner, the famous actor and filmmaker, assisted by Stephen Meyer. Rick Ross is responsible for the fabulous illustrations.

This great adventure tome harkens back to the golden age of adventure writing in the vein of Jack London, Rudyard Kipling, Joseph Conrad and Robert Louis Stevenson.

The action revolves around the Ogden siblings: brothers John and Arthur, and their sister, Frances. Each has a vastly different reason for searching for the lost city of Shambhala, but all are of the utmost importance to the seeker, ranging from saving a life to saving the world.

This high-octane tale, broken down into five distinct sections, moves from the “Ice Fields Wide and Wicked” to the desert sands of Southeast Mesopotamia to “secret waterways beneath Asia” to the bustling neighborhoods of New York City.

The 770-page novel is almost split evenly between text and graphic storytelling. Costner shares the reason for the length of the book: “It is packed with illustrated comic panels by Rick Ross. His phenomenal illustrations fire my imagination.”

The images provide historical facts or conversation necessary to move along the plot. Because the book is full of comic book images, an assumption could be made that it is a book aimed at children; however, the action may not be suitable for younger readers. For example, the evil Sharif Al-Shar’s end is described as “The Sharif is last seen as a dark feather of blood over the village square” after a maid, in retribution for grievances, ignites a cannon to which the sultan is strapped by Major John Ogden of the Fifth Dragoon Guards.

According to the authors, it took almost 10 years to fully develop the story lines. The word choices are reminiscent of the time period. When Arthur Ogden claims responsibility for the book’s events, he writes, “I can tell you straight out that we are the victims of an ill-judged boast on my part made in a spasm of jealousy and wrath and of all thing patriotism; which boast has flung us far from the pleasure of Society and put us on term of intimacy with Death, as I say without exaggeration.”

Arthur then promises to end his chronicle on a bright note of revenge. With such delicious writing, it forces the reader to journey to the end.

The extended title of the book is “The Explorers Guild Volume One: A Passage to Shambhala — Being an Introduction to that Secret Society and an Account of Certain Travelers in their Far-Faring Search for the Sacred City Yrs. 1912-1918.”