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A Passage to Shambhala (The Explorers Guild #1)

3.31  ·  Rating Details ·  787 Ratings  ·  211 Reviews
The golden age of adventure stories returns with this splendidly designed, action-packed, globe-trotting tale that combines the bravura storytelling of Kipling with the irresistible style of The Adventures of Tintin.

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
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Hardcover, 800 pages
Published October 20th 2015 by Simon & Schuster UK
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Tom Asdell The mixed style of the book (partially prose and partially graphic) is not easy to follow, and some of the content will (hopefully) be lost on him. I…moreThe mixed style of the book (partially prose and partially graphic) is not easy to follow, and some of the content will (hopefully) be lost on him. I wouldn't recommend it for the under teen-age crowd although I find the story quite enjoyable.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Trapper
Oct 29, 2015 Trapper rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let me start by telling you what this book is not. It is not a casual read; a book that you can pick up at odd moments and continue the story without really caring about it or the characters, as so many books are, nowadays.

No, this is a truly delicious book that demands your attention, that sucks you in from the first passage and doesn’t let you go until the last. The characters, the story, captivate you and make you want it all to continue. It’s not hyperbole to compare it with Kipling, Stevens
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Beth
Oct 29, 2015 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is really difficult to describe a book like The Explorers Guild. On the one hand, it's an adventure novel that somehow mashes Jules Verne, Joseph Conrad, Rudyard Kipling and Indiana Jones all into one. On the other, it's a graphic novel that somehow reminds me of The Adventures of Tin-Tin, despite not having a child detective nor a rascally dog. But, really, The Explorers Guild is really its own thing, which makes it difficult to review. I loved the narrator, who deigns to give you the inform ...more
Garrett
Dec 13, 2015 Garrett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
People will make comparisons to H. Rider Haggard and the Adventures of Tintin because those comparisons are helpful and accurate. People will evoke Kipling and Victorian adventure tales and the authors of this thing are hoping that you will do exactly that. But there's something more pressingly obvious that this review must address before moving on to the content of the book.

The corpus codex, if you will, the stuff of the book itself, the actual item you hold in your hands. If you are reading th
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Carmen
Nov 25, 2015 Carmen marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Kevin Costner is writing books now?!??!!?
Quentin Wallace
Sadly, this is the first book in recent memory I didn't finish. I just couldn't get through it. Still, there were pros and cons.

First, what I liked. I liked the book itself. The pages are browned to simulate antique paper, and I thought that was a nice touch. I also liked the format. Its part text and part graphic novel, and while I was leery at first, I don't think the format was what gave me trouble. Also, the book did manage to capture the flavor of the old time adventure writers, most notabl
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Sarah B
Nov 03, 2015 Sarah B rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites

I can understand why some people may find it difficult to switch back and forth, from reading a novel to a visual novel, then back again, but I loved it.
I enjoyed reading the novel portions of the book, with it's rich descriptions, but I also loved having the visual novel format for the conversations. I really appreciated being able to "watch" the action, so to speak, rather then being told it all.
I also loved the setting. I can understand why the writing's been compared to Kipling. I think if K
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Jeff
Oct 25, 2015 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed so many things about this book; the design is superb, the narrative voice is very proper and humorous, the characters each have their own identity and a genuine camaraderie, the artwork is simplistic yet extremely effective, and its usage to illustrate key moments is downright perfect. It's a 750+ page book but much of that is artwork; nevertheless it takes a bit of an investment, time-and-focus wise. But if you enjoy classic adventure tales like Treasure Island or 20,000 leagues under ...more
Lauren
Oct 17, 2015 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the idea of this book. It's beautiful, well done, and historical. However, the writing was just not interesting enough to convince me to stick around for that many pages.

For an adventure story, it wasn't very exciting.
Ryan Hillis
Oct 13, 2015 Ryan Hillis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great top notch adventure novel.
Nathan Smith
Feb 05, 2016 Nathan Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw this for fifty percent off at Barnes and Noble and had to have it. It is a beautiful book. Normally, I don't buy a book based solely on its cover. The Explorers guild was an exception. It is not an easy read. It mirrors the style of old adventure books that were popular in the early 1920s and is written in an almost archaic style. It consists for traditional blocks of writing, but the story is also supplemented by comic book strips. The art in this book is as wonderful and intricate as the ...more
Michelle Mullens
Got to page 500 & saw almost 300 more to go. Couldn't do it. Intrigued by format & Kevin Costner. Burned!! Boring story. Characters and driveling plot not cohesive. Read the last chapter & felt a big "so what". Breaks from narrative to "graphic novel" make no sense. This is probably the 4th book in my whole life, I've not completed but I'm getting too old for crappy reading and want to start the new year with a new book. Sorry Kevin, I hope the movie version is better.
Nick Scott
Nov 08, 2015 Nick Scott rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Yikes. This book was rough. I will say that the design here is fantastic, and the book is actually full of interesting characters, situations, and ideas.

But these things could not have been presented in a more dry, boring, bloated manner. This thing is a slog. It seems like for of 4 pages of actual plot of excitement, there are 80 pages of droning on about nothing important to the story (I am well aware that math probably doesn't actually work out, but you get my point).

I was desperate for Ogden
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Bára Alexová
Nov 27, 2016 Bára Alexová rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Po grafické stránce je tato kniha naprostým skvostem, jako byste z truhly vytáhli staré papíry s dobrodružným příběhem. Ta atmosféra z knihy přímo sálá a je opravdu radost na ni pohledět. Kniha je kombinací vyprávění, dopisů, deníkových zápisků a komiksu. Z tohoto důvodu se tato téměř osmi set stránková bichlička čte opravdu rychle. Nicméně přechod mezi vyprávěním a komiksem působí poněkud zmatečně a stejně tak i větší množství postav. Některé části příběhu byly možná až zbytečné. Kolem a kolem ...more
Ron
“The future remains as closed as it ever was … and I am not sure the past is any less a mystery.”

A conscious throwback to the adventure tales of the likes of Verne, Burroughs, Kipling, and Haggard. Larger-than-life heroes and villains set upon a stage much like actual world history and geography to play out a great adventure. Even told, narrator and all, with a nineteenth century tone. There’s a reason we don’t write like that today. What’s starts as quaint, soon devolves into cute, and decays i
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Amy
Feb 11, 2016 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! Though it is long and takes some commitment of time, it is worth it. Baird and Costner have written a fully developed adventure story that keeps you guessing and at times nail-biting and yet they never vary the pace of the story from one of an elderly gentleman, sitting in the guild, sharing his tale with no regard to time. This goes against today's society of movie-goers and thrill-mongerers and yet it works beautifully. The story and its band of misfits made me laugh, cry, g ...more
Miranda
Jan 06, 2016 Miranda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Indiana Jones fans, Victorian mystery lovers, treasure hunters, people who love the book S.
This is the first graphic novel that I have ever finished though I have started several others. I would give it some credit for being engaging enough to see me through a genre I wasn't certain of. I got this novel for Christmas from my husband after falling in love with the cover of the novel in Chapters.

This novel is a victorian style adventure story in the vein of Indiana Jones and other treasure hunting adventurers. I recently bought the board gamae Fortune and Glory and this reminded me of i
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Chris
Jan 09, 2016 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wish that I liked this book as much as I wanted to. It wins some points for presentation, as the book itself is a nice thing to look at. The idea of creating a novel/graphic novel hybrid is also creative and interesting. However, I do not feel that the story was very good. First of all, I will admit that I am not a fan of sci-fi or fantasy and "The Explorer's Guild" has elements of both. Secondly, and I don't want to be too pedantic, but this book's complete disregard for history drove me batt ...more
Lesley
This was a book of incalculable ambition but it falls short of it's goal. I am a big fan of the prose/graphic novel style and the ideas involved were fascinating (the abbot is so obese he's been turned into an island!) however in the execution of this story the actual story itself gets lost. Who are we rooting for, what is the adventure about? I feel as though I've missed something vital that would pull this book together for me. If this had been chopped up (seemingly random things just happen f ...more
Michael
Jan 18, 2016 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was gorgeous. It's reminiscent of old Tin Tin stories and I loved it. It's a great mix of traditional novel and graphic novel and perfectly well made. It dragged quite a bit, and should have been way less than its 750 pages, but I forgave it because of how much I liked looking at the book itself.
Frederik
Jan 23, 2017 Frederik rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As with many books thick enough to serve as masonry units, The Explorer’s Guild is slow to start and all too easy to set aside for more appealing distractions – and this despite the fact that the book is part graphic novel. Where there’s a case to stick with for the first few hundred pages or so, it lies in Rick Ross’ clean artwork and, most of all, Jon Baird’s beautifully crafted writing mannered after the style of Victorian/early 20th Century. Unlike Susanna Clarke’s clever but twee pastiche o ...more
Austin Storm
Mar 08, 2017 Austin Storm rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An incredible labor of love. It's not a pastiche of adventure stories, it's the genuine article. Like H. R. Haggard and similar. The writing is tremendous, it does lose some momentum around page 500 but saves some of its best moments for the last 3rd. I wish there would be more volumes, but I can't imagine such a work (which took 4 years and many, many co-authors and artists) succeeding well enough to warrant another. Nor can I quite imagine it on the screen without significant changes. But I'm ...more
Hayley
Dec 25, 2015 Hayley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted on BlueAnteater

The short:  A lengthy, somewhat dense book that mostly captures the aesthetic of early 20th century literature but fails in the most important aspect: heart.

The long:

This book wasn't at all what I expected, and that's both a good and bad thing.

First, the physical aspects. It really is a gorgeous book. You open up the cover, and the gently aged appearance of the thin pages do look like a novel from the 1910s. And the illustrations, though sparse, are lush and old-
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Honzi
Jan 10, 2017 Honzi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4/5*

Bylo to úplně něco jiného, nikdy jsem nic takového nečetl a právě to mě na tom tak bavilo. To zpracování je božské a nečetlo se mi to zas tak špatně, i když nějaké to poškrtání by knížce rozhodně neuškodilo.
Therese Thompson

This booked practically tossed me a rope to tow me in from its place on the library shelf. I’m a sucker for a good spine and cover design and the book just plain looked splendid! The old time type-face and mysterious illustrations, the inscription on the back cover addressing me as “Gentle Reader” and aged tone of the paper-they all called to me, as did the spine notation of Volume One, signifying more adventures to come! Cracking the booking, I found striking graphic illustrations interspersed
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Steven Spayd
Mar 02, 2016 Steven Spayd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a wonderful reincarnation of the swashbuckling, cliff-hanging, adventure story. It has a mystery, a daring quest, an honorable hero, and enigmatic villains. Or are they? There are enough twists and blind turns to keep a reader engaged to the end.

In form, the book is a combination of prose and graphic novel. Although I have read few graphic novels, and generally prefer the more traditional novel format, I bought the book out of curiosity. I was intrigued by the cover, the premise, an
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Cathy
Temporary update: Started this on 3/7/16 but stopped later that night because it was too hard to read with a headache, plus it wasn't so much to my taste that it was worth pushing when it was so hard to see. I'm just not that into historicals these days, especially ones without humor. (Like Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series.)

The reason I'm posting this now is to say that I wouldn't recommend this book for a black and white ebook reader. The colors are lovely and are part of the design.
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Carolyn
Dec 01, 2015 Carolyn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
1.5 stars. When I first learned of this book I rejected it as Kevin Costner was listed as the author, and I felt that a 769 page adventure novel was far too ambitious for a first time writer famous for other things. Examining the book at a store I saw that other names were prominently associated with it so decided to take a chance on the download version.

The book is gorgeously designed. It is written in the manner of a boy's adventure book from the 1800's. There is also a graphic novel element
...more
Erin Cataldi
Dec 01, 2015 Erin Cataldi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
The layout of this book is truly beautiful. Its a mixture of comic panels, text, maps, and illustrations. The eye catching quality of it is what prompted me to pick up this book in the first place. That and one of the authors is Kevin Costner. I was intrigued. The book takes place during the great war but it isn't really set in the European Theater, it follows a group of explorers as they travel all over the world, New York, Tibet, India, Asia, and more. Their fearless leader Major Ogden is look ...more
Tamlyn
Nov 03, 2015 Tamlyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Pretty good book with a couple of annoyances. The good news is that the story was interesting and the writing style was great. I loved the humor and the author addressing me as the "gentle reader." :) The interleaving of graphic novel portions was very cool - the drawings were amazing! The bad news is that I never had a strong understanding of what was going on. There were too many times when the graphic novel portion switched points-of-view without a clear cut-over, and sometimes I just couldn' ...more
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“If developing ties to this world and exercising love and compassion are not the very point of us -- I cannot presume to know -- then we are at least better occupied in this way, I feel, than with the riddles of other worlds, which only prove impossible for us to solve and unhealthy even to ponder.” 0 likes
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