Places in The Elixir of Life
Like its predecessor, The Elixir of Life takes place in some of the more famous and interesting places in Christian history. The first place the characters go to (and where there is a wild boat chase) is Bruges, Belgium. In left the image below, you can see both some of the canals as well as the Belfort tower in the distance.
The map above is the Gheerhaert map, drawn in 1562. The map provides a Bird’s Eye view of the city, and figures prominently in the mystery.
Billed as the “Little Venice of the North” and unfairly characterized as “The Dead City,” Bruges features a chapel housing one of several “blood” relics – fragments of cloth said to have preserved for us the actual blood of Christ. Bruges is home to a famous processional led by the priests at the Basilica of the Holy Blood. This chapel is where Jon’s friend, Dr. Harry Bryce, riddles out the mystery of where the elixir has been hidden.
Basilica of the Holy Blood (Heiligbloodbasiliek)
The left image shows the outside of the church, and the middle shows the interior of the upper chapel with its vivid colors. On the right is a view of the austere lower chapel.
Our next stop in the tale is ancient Ephesus, near modern day Selçuk. Along with the numerous sites in Ephesus is the Grotto of the Seven Sleepers, a tale dating to at least the sixth century (and retold in the Qu’ran, of all places, which has undoubtedly led to the site’s survival all this time).
The Grotto of the Seven Sleepers
An interesting side note: this is only one of the suggested sites for the Seven Sleepers. Another occurs in Amman, Jordan. But for our purposes, the site in Ephesus fits better.