Picture book for "The Historian"

Vampire travels across Europe

About – The Historian Picture book blog

with 21 comments

Vampire travels is dedicated to Elizabeth Kostova’s ” The Historian”. I was inspired by the tales of travel across Europe, some of these places we had already visited and couldn’t resist blogging about them.

It will take over 12 months to work through the book and ensure that each location has both good pictures and good background.

If you would like to help please leave a comment with contact details.

In the meantime may you enjoy the journey, may your days be free of fear and may you sleep peacefully at night.

Thank you


ps…you can see most of the images on Pinterest

pps…interested in the Audio book of “The Historian”?

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The Historian



Written by Gillian

January 4, 2011 at 5:01 pm

21 Responses

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  1. Gilly – are you taking all the pix yourself or are you open to others submitting photos to supplement yours?

    Dave Lyons

    September 29, 2011 at 1:48 am

  2. Hello Dave,

    I would welcome any pictures which you can provide. Some of the French pictures are from when we visited Vernet and the monastery but a lot come from pictures under creative commons licences.

    Thank you


    September 29, 2011 at 9:41 am

  3. Hi Gilly – the reason that I asked is because I wondered if you are doing this to capture and record your personal travels ‘through’ the Historian, or if you were simply wanting to create a pictorial of the book?

    Are you familiar with the website VirtualTourist.com? That site is a free-for-all site of people who travel all over the world and record their adventures for the world to share. Vids, photos and text are all used by the contributors.

    When I did a search for photos to see what Emona looked like, I found reference to both your site and that VT site that has photos of that area to give me a better, clearer understanding of what the book was describing. I found both sites fascinating.

    I would like to better understand what exactly you are doing with this website, and what I might be able to do to help you, if anything, since I get my ‘travels’ from my reading, not from my ‘doing’ them,….

    My best to you and yours –

    Dave Lyons

    September 29, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    • Hello Dave,

      Some of the books which I read give me a strong feeling for the countryside and where they are set. Others just seem to skate over the locations.

      For instance, Stephen King’s “The Stand” …was to me a great road trip book with very strong locations.
      Whilst Justin Cronin’s “The Passage” had a good story but was very week on locations.

      For the Historian I had already visited Vernet Les Bains and the monastery. I had taken the train south from Paris to Avignon and then to Narbonne. I wanted to know where Emona and Ragusa were. I wanted to see if some of the books and characters were real…eg Robert Digby.
      So it’s really just a personal log to help me understand the book a little better. If other people can also benefit from the pictures then that is great.
      If you get the chance look at the website using an IPAD…it uses HTML5 ( i think) and the visuals completely change.

      I am always open to any pictures you might think useful but the account I use on wordpress has other websites such as
      So i couldn’t share access.

      However if you have read “The Stand” then I would be happy to set up an account separately to write that picture book.

      Thank you


      October 4, 2011 at 2:52 pm

  4. This is the greatest idea ever! The Historian is my favourite book. I am heading off to Eastern Europe later in the year! Planning on reading it again when I’m in India just beforehand, but if you need any particular pictures let me know!


    March 16, 2012 at 8:41 am

    • Hello and apologies for taking so long to reply. Thank you for your kind words and I am glad that you like the idea. I still have quite a bit to do but fortunately time is becoming a little easier now and maybe by end June I will have finished the blog.


      May 3, 2012 at 7:56 am

      • That’s alright, I’m just discovering myself how hard it is to find time to keep up with a blog. But I do wish you all the best in it, I just reread The Historian as I am off to Eastern Europe in about a month. Very excited!!


        May 6, 2012 at 2:07 pm

  5. Hi Gilly,
    I just finished reading The Historian for the third time, this time in front of my computer putting in place names and looking at Google Maps. I have always loved being able to follow along on an epic journey in a book and love having maps to follow in books such as Tolkien’s maps of Middle Earth. I wish I had known about your blog before starting this time. I was at the end and trying to find out more about Saint-Matthieu’s monastery when I came across it. I will certainly enjoy viewing the pictures and reading the commentary. I think The Historian is one of the best vampire novels of this century and with such a fresh viewpoint. It is always sad to read about Helen dieing only 9 years after reuniting with her family and I am left wondering about who left the last book. I appreciate the time and effort you have taken in creating this blog. I am sure it was a labor of love. Thank you.

    Mac Petty

    May 3, 2012 at 7:35 am

    • Hello Mac,
      Thank you and I am glad that you have enjoyed the blog. It is only half way through though and I still have a lot of places to post pictures for. Hopefully by the end of June it will be finished. I am also thinking of using Pinterest as a way to bring images to the books which I love.
      Have you read Elizabeth Kostova’s next book..the Swan Thieves? It is 100% different, a mystery and a love story..charming and pleasant but to my mind not as absorbing as the Historian.

      I have recently listened to the unabridged audio book for the Historian and found it well worth the time. Some of the voices were a little strange (particularly when Helen is in Istanbul) but the majority were well done.
      Lind regards



      May 3, 2012 at 8:00 am

      • Hi there, I’m in Istanbul right now and was trying to figure out if the library name in the novel was given? Surfing off a phone so tough to browse but if you got the locations in istanbul, would appreciate it much! Michael.


        May 30, 2012 at 1:59 pm

  6. Hello Michael,

    It doesn’t actually have a name. You can see it within Chapter 27.
    “It was now in a library annex that had once been a mandrese, a traditional muslim school.”

    “An exquisite little building”

    It specifically says this is not in the National or main library …and that is all.

    Good luck 🙂


    May 30, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    • Thanks for the quick response!


      May 30, 2012 at 2:19 pm

  7. Hello – I’ve been following your website with interest as I read “The Historian”, and wanted to send you this reference (from wiki) for Chapter 59:


    Your project is an interesting companion to the book – thanks for what you’ve done on it so far!

    Judy R.

    Judy Reed

    July 12, 2012 at 12:23 am

    • Thanks Judy,

      I think that the ancient Bulgarian monasteries are really interesting. This one is actually in Greece and some years ago when we went to Halkidiki I remember hearing a lot about it. Coming from Western Europe we are quite used to a lot of information being on the net…good pictures, background text and so on. But when you start to look at Eastern European sites eg Bulgarian monasteries i do struggle to find good references
      Thank you for your email and I am so glad that you continue to enjoy the blog



      July 12, 2012 at 11:38 am

  8. I have just stumbled across this blog and love your idea! I just finished rereading the book today and want to see all of the wonderful places described. If it is any help, I think the archive mentioned in the epilogue is meant to be the Rosenbach Library in Philadelphia. It contains collections from James Joyce to Maurice Sendak, and happens to have some of Bram Stoker’s papers.


    October 21, 2012 at 1:15 am

    • Thanks Genna, I will look up the Rosenbach and add in the details. Much appreciated.
      Have you thought of trying the unabridged audio book recording? I thought it very worth while.


      October 22, 2012 at 8:50 am

  9. Hello Ms Gillian, I’ve been reading (again) The Historian and I was touched by the wish of search a reference about the french monastery quoted in the story. So, I’ve got a wonderous surprise discovering your blog, and I’d like to send my warms congratulations concerning its marvellous work. Perhaps another one had the same idea, or even realized it, but never so carefully as you. Thanks by the splendid job, and best wishes from Brazil! (and apologizes for my english, its’ just my third language…)


    January 6, 2013 at 3:23 am

    • Thanks Arnaldo,
      I am glad that you enjoyed the articles.


      January 7, 2013 at 11:33 am

  10. Is the blog still active?

    Staci Johnson

    December 23, 2017 at 1:55 am

    • Hello Staci,

      Sadly I have not been back to the South of France and the monastery for many years now. So no – nothing extra to post.


      December 23, 2017 at 8:55 am

  11. Hello… I realise I am coming to this site rather late but just wanted to say thank you! It’s a great site. I would love to have done what you have and hopefully some day I will get to these places. The Historian is one of my favourite books and one I can read over and over again…

    Alison Conlon

    February 12, 2018 at 3:16 pm

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