Jump into the pages of a graphic novel set in King’s Cross

The Panharmonion Chronicles features loads of real world local settings to explore

A new trilogy of graphic novels, The Panharmonion Chronicles, uses King’s Cross as the setting for a science fiction thriller with a strong female lead character.

Orphaned musician Alex Campbell inherits a local house, but her plans to start a new life there are thrown into chaos by a mysterious artifact, a secret family history and a millennia-old conspiracy.

Author Henry Chebaane came up with the storyline while working as interior designer on the visionary renovation of two historic local hotels. He’s also been a long-term obsessive about the history of King’s Cross, so enlisted veteran British comic artist, Stephen Baskerville – who’s drawn the likes of Spider-Man, Transformers and Judge Dredd – to turn it all into the first graphic novel in his debut trilogy; Part 1: Times of London.

“King’s Cross is tremendously exciting creatively,” Henry tells us. “It’s the conflation of people and cultures here over the years with the Euston Rd thoroughfare and the railway stations. When we were conceptualising and then working on the hotels, I picked up all these nuggets of local history, from stories of the slums, and later the drug dens and brothels, through to the challenges of the modern day. And I thought, why not turn it all into a work of fiction?”

Author Henry Chebaane

The resulting graphic novel gleefully blurs the lines between realities of the real world and what Chebaane calls “speculative fiction”, allowing him to run away with ides for fantastical things that could possibly have gone on in this unique setting. The plot of the book revolves around renovation of a historic property and was written while Henry was transforming a small but historic Argyle Square townhouse into boutique hotel The Gyle.

His work on concept interior designs has taken him from India to Iceland, but it is in King’s Cross, and the various hotels in The Megaro Collection, that you can best seen his fanatical attention to detail and storytelling.

Readers of The Panharmonion Chronicles can visit the real world locations from the story, from local landmarks like the mysterious Lighthouse building, to Henry’s alchemical subterranean cocktail bar Hokus Pokus.

Meanwhile, he’s blurred the lines between fiction and life further, by composing and releasing an LP of electronic music under the name LX8, which also happens to be the artist name of the protagonist musician in the novels.

“A lot of people rush about here with their heads in a mobile phone, dashing into the tube or whatever, so they miss the rich history all around them,” says Henry. “I wanted to mix up the physical spaces with virtual and fictional ones to reveal more about the neighbourhood to all. For example, researching Arglye Square in the British Library, I discovered the site of a former church built for a religious cult in 1844 that took a direct hit during Word War 2, plus a mountain of ash and bones that apparently was once pile up here. There are very few public records about it; a watercolour, a couple of engravings and tales of street urchins sifting through it, but that creates such and interesting mystery. With the hotels ad in my books, rising from these ashes, interesting new things can emerge.”

You can pick up copies of the book at The Megaro Hotel and to pre-order at Gosh.

The Panharmonion Chronicles Part 1: Times of London launches at a special event this Sunday at the London Sci Fi Festival.

Spot the King's Cross locations in these taster layouts from the book

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