Judith Curr, at Simon & Schuster's Atria imprint, bought world rights to a serialized project by Kevin Costner called The Explorers Guild. Rob Weisbach and Fonda Snyder at Rob Weisbach Creative Management brokered the deal for the star, and the series will launch, traditionally, in book format with plans in place to turn the story into an animated series, then live action films.

The book series will launch with The Explorers Guild, Volume One: A Passage to Shambhala in 2014. S&S said the story is in the vein of Raiders of the Lost Ark; it's set during World War I and follows a group of adventurers, known as The Guild, who set out to find Shambhala, the mythical city spoken of in certain Buddhist traditions. The publisher noted that the story has an Arabian Nights feel and the books will "combine captivating storytelling with lush visuals." Working with Costner on the project are writer/art director Jon Baird--S&S said he "produced and developed"--and illustrator Rick Ross.

Aiming for YA readers as well as adults, S&S will have a two-person team editing the series, in senior editor Sarah Durand and assistant editor Daniel Loedel.

Speaking about the series, Costner said: "I believe that The Explorers Guild 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."