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Kevin Costner Signs with Atria Books for New Adventure Series - THE EXPLORER'S GUILD

Academy Award – winning director, producer and actor Kevin Costner has signed with Atria Books for a thrilling and innovative new serialized illustrated adventure called THE EXPLORERS GUILD --reminiscent of Conrad and Kipling, with the epic sweep of Raiders of the Lost Ark.  The first book in the series, THE EXPLORERS GUILD, VOLUME ONE:  A PASSAGE TO SHAMBHALA will be published in 2014.  In the tradition of great books like Arabian Nights, the book will combine captivating storytelling with lush visuals to deliver a literate, wholly entertaining multi-book adventure that will be an exciting publishing event.  Produced and developed with writer and art director Jon Baird, and to be illustrated by Rick Ross, the series will appeal to readers from young adult to more mature mystery and adventure enthusiasts.

A natural progression for Costner since it combines his passion for history, adventure, and storytelling,    the project will be serialized across traditional and new media, first as a series of books, then as an animated series, and eventually as live action theatrical films, which he intends to produce and star in, with innovative directors behind the camera.

Behind the staid rooms of an old world gentlemen's club operates a darker, more mysterious organization: The Explorers Guild, a clandestine group of adventurers who seek out the places where light gives way to shadow and reason is usurped by myth. The secrets of this unknown world are hidden in mountain ranges and lost in deserts, sunk to the ocean floor and lodged deep beneath polar ice. The aim of The Explorer's Guild: to discover the mysteries that lie beyond the boundaries of the known world.

Set against the backdrop of World War I, with Western Civilization spiraling into chaos, the first installment in The Explorers Guild series, A Passage to Shambhala, concerns the Guild's quest to find Shambhala, the golden city of Buddhist myth.  Each member is driven toward the City for a different reason: one believes that finding it will save his brother's life; another hopes that it will reveal a path to spiritual enlightenment. Some believe the power of the city can be used to restore peace, while others are certain that Shambhala is responsible for bringing mankind to the brink of apocalypse. 

The search will take us from the Polar North to the Mongolian deserts, through the underground canals of Asia to deep into the Himalayas, before the City finally divulges its secrets and the globe-spanning journey plays out to its startling conclusion.

Commented Costner, "A heroic quest with the vivid wildness of Jules Verne, and steeped in world history but with mystical overtones, I believe that The EXPLORERS GUILD series will engage readers of all ages in a multi-generational experience that will lend itself to a host of entertainment platforms.  As a storyteller and filmmaker, I am intrigued by the inherent resourcefulness, wit, and at times violent nature these characters embody, and I am truly excited to partner with Judith Curr and her team at Atria to bring this epic tale to readers around the world." 

Judith Curr, Executive Vice President and Publisher of Atria Books, says "We're thrilled to partner with Kevin Costner and Jon Baird on THE EXPLORERS GUILD.  Their vision for this project is creative, sweeping, and innovative, and their commitment to the importance of a rich storyline truly won us over. The challenge and excitement of being able to redefine how commercial fiction is published is irresistible.  We will be actively pursuing international partners to create a world-wide publishing event."

The deal, for World rights, was negotiated by Judith Curr with Rob Weisbach and Fonda Snyder of Rob Weisbach Creative Management representing Costner.  Sarah Durand, Atria Senior Editor, and Daniel Loedel, Assistant Editor, will edit.


Kevin Costner is an internationally recognized director, producer and actor, with a cumulative global box office of over 3 billion dollars. Costner's exceptional filmmaking abilities were showcased in Dances with Wolves, which he produced, directed and starred in, and which won seven Academy Awards including "Best Picture" and "Best Director." Costner's first foray into serialized storytelling resulted in the record-setting History Channel mini-series The Hatfields and McCoys, in which he portrays "Devil" Anse Hatfield, the patriarch of the famed clan. He also served as a producer of the series, which stands as the all-time highest rated scripted programming on cable television. The May 2012 premiere of the series set the all-time record with 13.9 million viewers, and the finale broke the record again with 14.3 million viewers.  The Hatfields and McCoys garnered 16 Emmy Award nominations, including Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Movie for Costner. Costner has starred in memorable roles in films such as JFK, The Untouchables, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, No Way Out, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, The Bodyguard, Wyatt Earp and Open Range.  In 2013, he will be seen in the Warner Bros. film Superman: Man of Steel, as the superhero's father Jonathan Kent, and is currently in production on Paramount Pictures' revival of Tom Clancy's "Jack Ryan" franchise.

In addition to performing on-screen, Costner also sings lead vocals and plays guitar in his band, Modern West, and can be seen playing venues across the country and around the world.  The band's release Famous For Killing Each Other (songs from and inspired by The Hatfields & McCoys) charted on iTunes and reached No. 2 overall on Amazon (No. 1 in the Country category). 

Costner's career has taken him around the world and enabled him to become a passionate historian and explorer. This has led to a partnership with Arqueonatas Worldwide, a clothing company that also specializes in marine archaeology with an eye toward artifact preservation. The company's fieldwork has resulted in the discovery of 150 wreck sites, the excavation of fourteen historic shipwrecks, and the recovery, documentation and preservation of more than 10,000 artifacts.


Jon Baird is a co-creator of The Explorers Guild and author/illustrator of the illustrated novels Day Job (Allen & Osborne; St. Martin's Griffin) and Songs from Nowhere Near the Heart (St. Martin's). He is a former editor of the Harvard Lampoon.


Rick Ross is an illustrator and comic book artist with numerous publications to his credit. His clients include Image Comics, Boom! Studios, IDW, Zenescope Entertainment, and many more leading publishers and producers in the world of comics and graphic novels. Among his recent projects, he was the lead artist for the graphic novelization of Spike TV's "1000 Ways to Die," and he also created the artwork for the upcoming motion comic of the Cinemax television show, "Femme Fatales." Prior to that, he provided the pencils and inks for the 3D motion comic, "Deadtown" from M2 Studios, and was the penciller for the Image Comics series, "Urban Monsters." He is also the creator and publisher of the weekly online graphic novel anthology, Agitainment Comics.


Atria Books is an imprint of Simon & Schuster, a part of CBS Corporation. Simon & Schuster is a global leader in the field of general interest publishing, dedicated to providing the best in fiction and nonfiction for consumers of all ages, across all printed, electronic, and audio formats. Its divisions include Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing, Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, Simon & Schuster Audio, Simon & Schuster Online, and international companies in Australia, Canada, India, and the United Kingdom. For more information about Atria, visit our website at

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