A LOCAL illustrator has helped bring a book about an author's travels through areas formerly within the republic of Yugoslavia to life. 

Nicholas Allan, who lives near Cullompton, will release his new book When Dreams Collide on Friday, June 24.

The book features illustrations from Philip Kerr, who lives in Yarcombe. 

Allan's book documents his pilgramage through the former republic of Yugoslavia, which saw him explore the splintered co-evolution of the lands over the last 10 centuries.

He was guided in his journey by Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, a travel book by Rebecca West, allowing him to compare the area shortly before Covid with it eight decades ago.

Writing about the book on his website, Kerr said: “My little input has resulted in six maps and thirty or so drawings of icons Nick has mentioned in the book whilst he trod the road in these wonderful places like Montenegro and Kosovo and North Macedonia. 

“The cover was a challenge to bring the old and the new of the regions described into one place and give a sense of diverse history and places.

“Colour is paramount in the ‘pick-up-ability’ and a lightness against the vast range of books that can be quite predicable was something that came through the editing process.”

Allan will take part in a book-signing event at Brendon Books in Taunton on the evening of Monday, July 11 to celebrate its publication.

Somerset County Gazette: When Dreams Collide will be released on Friday.When Dreams Collide will be released on Friday.  Ahead of its release, the author said: “When Dreams Collide is about the former Yugoslavia, describing my travels there in the pre-Covid years and contrasting it with those of Rebecca West some 80 years earlier at the advent of the Second World War.

“​I think that I have given a sense of the broader appeal and humanity of a region that is too often characterised by the horrors of the 90s, but that era also has some sad parallels with events today.

“​It is of course where the Catholic, Islamic and Orthodox worlds meet. Other than the Croatian coast, it is little visited.

“​The book touches on such diverse figures as the Emperor Constantine, Vronsky, Gabriele d’Annunzio, Chips Channon, Yul Brynner and Mother Teresa.

“​I think it is readable and even humorous in places​.”

The book has received positive reviews, including from historian William Dalrymple.

In Dalrymple's review, he wrote: “Nick Allan is the best sort of traveller - thoughtful, curious, observant, self-effacing and highly intelligent.

When Dreams Collide is a wonderful odyssey of discovery and self-discovery, by turns poignant and celebratory, and a most memorable debut.”

The book is enhanced with hand-drawn cover art and maps by Philip Kerr and 73 informative photographs. 

You can learn more about When Dreams Collide by visiting nineelmsbooks.co.uk/product/when-dreams-collide/.