Project image
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£1,088
pledged of £5,000pledged of £5,000 goal
44
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Thu, April 11 2019 3:40 PM UTC +00:00
£1,088
pledged of £5,000pledged of £5,000 goal
44
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Thu, April 11 2019 3:40 PM UTC +00:00

About

 Immerse yourself in the puzzles of The Hidden Sun; a richly illustrated 'armchair treasure hunt' book that will take you on an adventure for real gold, silver and gems! 

The concept for creating this book is to reconnect people with a sense of discovery, the use of the mind and also the beauty of the outdoors. The added bonus is the prospect of finding hidden treasure – using puzzle solving skills and some imagination. The poetic story will take you away to a world of myth, ancient legend and history in a real-world setting, that inspired Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials – a magical place rich with history. So on the way to the gold you'll learn more about an ancient area near Oxford and the Cotswolds in the UK.

By making a pledge here on Kickstarter, you'll recieve a copy and be directly involved in bringing this project to life. Look for the EARLYBIRD digital reward to get a head start on the hunt!

All you need is the book, either printed or digital. The hunt can be decoded by anyone, from anywhere... in your bed, on top of a mountain, in church, on a lilo floating in the Caribbean... anywhere. If you have kids or relatives, get them involved with the puzzles and poems too; they might have a unique perspective on how to solve them. Once you have an answer, submit it to the website to see if you're victorious.

Inner pages with cryptic poems, illustrations and a mythological tale
Inner pages with cryptic poems, illustrations and a mythological tale

Test your skill and imagination to decode the following;

Location: Found using the first letter of 24 real-world objects hidden in plain sight – and also within the book's verses and illustrations.

Password: Found at the correct location – and also by decoding the puzzle-based symbols scattered throughout the book.

Although having your 'boots on the ground' can help in finding the Password, for non-UK hunters there are sketched symbols and puzzles throughout the book that relate to shared UK-US history in the area. Solving these puzzles will provide you with same Password, which can be seen somewhere in the United States.

Puzzles are interspersed throughout the pages to help you decode the answers
Puzzles are interspersed throughout the pages to help you decode the answers

The Story's Themes:

Suitable for intrepid individuals, gregarious groups or fearless families – if you are interested in any of the following subjects, you're sure to enjoy the story's themes;

   ►   Storytelling, Ancient Myths & Legends
      ►   Poetic Verse
      ►   Nature & Countryside
      ►   Exploration & Discovery
      ►   Alchemy & Magic
      ►   Art & Architecture
      ►   Astronomy, Astrology & Star Lore
      ►   Maps & Ley Lines
      ►   Secret Societies
      ►   Factual History 



"A shadowy tear for lost Sol as he burns, But time it keeps ticking as Earth slowly turns..." The Hidden Sun.

Examples of the book's illustration workings
Examples of the book's illustration workings

The Hidden Sun's narrative is a cosmic story told as an ancient fable, one which resonates with readers of any age. Lovingly illustrated on every other page and with rhyming verse to embellish the adventure, this book harks back to a mythic time of old.

Somewhere deep within the rolling hills of the UK (and within the book), lays the answer to a multi-layered treasure hunt that involves decoding a story, deciphering cryptic verse and looking over atmospheric and enigmatic illustrations.

The hunt has taken around 3 years of hard research and design time, to get to a point where it can now be realised in full... but only with your help.

The Story:

When the immovable stars of the heavens jealously conspire to steal away the sun's light-giving powers, the moon urges the dwellers of the ancient land to go out and hunt for various objects scattered around, clues to which are found throughout the book. Only then will they (and you) be able to locate the hidden treasure and restore light to the land. This ancient style narrative weaves through the book to help assist in creative thinking.

The Illustrations:

There are around 30 illustrations giving clues to the whereabouts of 24 objects (and three bonus artworks if Stretch Goals are reached). The illustrations have been painstakingly designed using photographic montages in order to bring the required detail and scope of imagery needed for the hunt.

The Verse:

Each object to be found has an accompanying verse of poetry in order to help decode that particular puzzle and give a sense of it's location. Here's an example of the style;

"A big pile of rocks or a vision of strength? I break the sun's rays of diminishing length, A beeline untangled from love's starry gaze, Standing tall in the shadow a green thorny maze"

Ebook production details:

  • Ebook, Kindle or PDF at backer's preference.

Printed Book production details:

  • 52 page hardback book.
  • Dimensions: 8.268" x 11.693" (210mm x 297mm)
  • High resolution, full premium colour ink, on art quality paper stock (matte laminate)
Examples of the book's illustration workings
Examples of the book's illustration workings

Previous armchair treasure hunts such as the legendary Masquerade by Kit Williams and Conundrum: The Cadbury's Creme Egg Mystery by Don Shaw, captured the imagination of the world.

They sent thousands of fortune seekers out into the British countryside armed with dizzying ideas, a shovel and a flask of lukewarm tea.

In the US, Byron Preiss created The Secret – most of which still remains unsolved or undiscovered to this day, yet the world has changed since the innocent days of the 1980s. This hunt does not require digging of any sort, anywhere, (except possibly the deepest parts of your mind). It encourages people to get out into the real-world to track down and confirm their findings, and although this isn't necessary to find the answers, it may help you on your quest.

One successful seeker will earn the right to an artwork crafted of gold, silver, quartz, precious stones, Swarovski crystal and other artifacts, waiting in expectancy for the correct Password and Location. If the Stretch Goals are successful then there will also be other artworks hidden away for other seekers.

The individual elements are in possession and are being crafted together, before being held in a safety deposit box. Once the campaign is funded, the website thehiddensun.co.uk will enable you to submit answers and sign-up for updates and clues as the hunt progresses.

All instructions will be included within the final book and the official website once the campaign is funded.

The final artwork in preparation stage. Updates on assembly will be posted throughout campaign.
The final artwork in preparation stage. Updates on assembly will be posted throughout campaign.

To keep all the details and locations under wraps, the whole book has been conceptualised, researched, designed, written and produced by me – Oxford based artist, graphic designer and conceptualist Ben Brewis.

Today I have over 20 years professional experience in producing graphic design, working alongside creative individuals and internationally known brands for my company Firesnake Design. I bring a broad knowledge of the qualities needed to create such an inspiring project.

I have helped produced content for the likes of: Good Looking Records, fabric London, English Heritage, Canon, SunMaid, L'Oréal, Hilton, Kelloggs, Gumtree, Alton Towers, Save The Children, Sky and many other brands.

My digital fine art has twice toured around the globe with The Lumen Prize ('the world's pre-eminent digital art prize' - The Guardian UK), being exhibited in galleries in London, New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, Riga and Cardiff.

As a father of two young tearaways who always keep me on edge, being creative and imaginative is as essential as putting the kettle on every morning.

Being a child myself in the early 80's, I remember as clear as day the moment I first opened the cover to Kit William's Masquerade, that first spark of wonder and potential coursing through this young boy's mind. So throughout my life I've been incorporating an element of magic and curiosity in my designs and artworks; something to stir the soul and change people's perceptions from the 'ordinary' to the 'extraordinary'.

"For this campaign I have devised a hunt, constructed puzzles, created illustrations, created artworks and written poetry... all with an underlying myth that has roots to real history in Britain and America. Will you be the one to crack the codes?"

A sample of the poetry featured throughout The Hidden Sun
A sample of the poetry featured throughout The Hidden Sun

Stretch Goal 1: £7,000

I have planned 3x bonus artworks to be included and found within the hunt. They will have their own poem and illustration pages dedicated to finding them.


1x 'Curious Hare' Ornament: 

An ornamental hare painted using the blackest black paint you can buy, making the hare appear as a silhouette (mockup below shows standard paint). Made by artist Stuart Semple via CultureHustle and not on the market yet, the paint absorbs 98-99% light. It will be decorated with real 24ct gold leaf and feature hand painted stars and constellations. The eyes will be studded with 22 sparkling Swarovski crystals. Behind these will be glow-in-the-dark (and light!) paint, adding a mystical presence. There will also be a handwritten clue to aid in the book's main hunt, on the underside.

'Curious Hare' mockup in progress and in-book artwork.
'Curious Hare' mockup in progress and in-book artwork.

1x 'Ring of Gold' Painting: 

The Rollright Stones are in the area that the hunt covers. They are one of the most popular and mysterious megalithic stone circles in the UK, with strange legends, mysterious lights and general witchery-ness associated with it. Spooky! I will create a 1m x 1m painting on natural wood featuring CultureHustle's blackest black paint, real 24ct gold-leaf and other hand-crafted embellishments. The artwork will also have a further clue for the book's main hunt burnished into the back.

Painting test piece
Painting test piece

1x 'Mythology Collection' Hand-Finished Art Prints: 

A collection of 6 large scale giclee art prints will be created, representing the mythology of The Hidden Sun's real-world setting:

'Banbury Cross' (as featured in the famous nursery rhyme Ride A Cock Horse),

'The Fine Lady' (x2 versions of the mysterious rider of the horse in that rhyme),

'The King Stone' (one of the megalithic Rollright Stones),

'All The King's Men' (the phantom ghosts witnessed over the Battle of Edgehill field),

'Land of the Free' (based on the USA's Founding Fathers who's families lived in the area).

These gallery quality prints will be signed, hand finished with real 24ct gold leaf and stamped with glow-in-the-dark paint.

In-progress digital workings of the first four art prints
In-progress digital workings of the first four art prints


  • Having a copy of the book (printed or digital) is the only thing needed to start hunting. Anyone in the world that reads english can try their hand at cracking the puzzles. It is not necessary to travel.
  • This Kickstarter project is only to help fund the book production and costs incurred creating the illustrations, puzzles and rewards.
  • The main artwork on offer once the hunt commences is solely independent of this Kickstarter project and is already self-funded. It is the book that seek creation, along with the puzzles and the time invested. There are no financial incentives or rewards involved in this campaign.
  • Full guidance on how to take part and correctly conduct the hunt is explained within the book.
  • Location/Password submissions can be securely sent to the email address provided on the official website once the launch is complete.

That's it... I hope your interest has been stirred enough to help me bring The Hidden Sun to life. If you have any questions then plese leave a comment and I'll get back in good time. In the meantime all pledges will be graciously accepted.

Best of luck in your journey. May the treasure shine for you.


Risks and challenges

The only elements this Kickstarter campaign will fund are the illustration time, book production costs and fulfilment requirements.

In the event that the project does not meet it’s funding target, the project will not be able to be finished. This would be due to the financial outlay needed to physically print the books in large numbers.

Apart from the final digital and print versions of the book, no files are hosted remotely so there’s no risk of information being leaked. Anything relating to the hunt is handwritten and securely locked away in a personal safe when not in use, so can only be accessed by me.

I will always give the backers as much information as possible when I receive updates on the production, shipping and fulfilment stages. As a backer you are the most important part of this project.

I will be using a globally established printer and distributor to create and send the books.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions and thank you for checking out my project!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £8 or more About $10

    The Initiate Package EARLYBIRD

    If you're quick to grab these, you'll get a head start on the hunt by recieving a pre-release digital version (ebook, pdf or Kindle) + a named thank you credit within all versions of the book & the official website.

    Includes:
    • Digital Ebook/PDF
    • Named Thank You Credit
    • Pre-Release - Get a head start on the hunt
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge £12 or more About $15

    The Initiate Package

    You'll recieve a digital edition ebook + a named thank you credit within all versions of the book & the official website.

    Includes:
    • Digital Ebook/PDF
    • Named Thank You Credit
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    0 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £25 or more About $31

    The Traveller Package

    You'll recieve one signed hardcover book + a digital ebook/PDF + a named thank you credit within all versions of the book & the official website.

    Includes:
    • Digital Ebook/PDF
    • Named Thank You Credit
    • Hardcover Book (signed)
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    15 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £42 or more About $53

    The Hunter Package

    You'll recieve two signed hardcover books + a digital ebook/PDF + 3 limited edition A5 hand-finished art cards + a named thank you credit within all versions of the book & the official website.

    Includes:
    • Digital Ebook/PDF
    • Named Thank You Credit
    • Hardcover Book (signed)
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Funding period

- (30 days)