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Tale of friendship in Nigeria inspired by author's childhood

October 08, 2006|by JULIE E. GREENE

You'd think as a kid growing up in Nigeria with missionary parents, Tim Burtner's childhood stories would be exciting enough to capture the attention of his children.

But Burtner didn't think his kids would read little stories about him growing up, so he incorporated his own experiences into an adventure novel about four boys in the African country.

Burtner, 53, a self-employed carpenter who lives outside Keedysville, dedicated "Pero" to his children, Britt, 22, and Blaine, 16. They've both read it and Blaine even proofread the manuscript, he says.

The four boys in the story include a white missionary child from the U.S., a Nigerian Muslim, an African Christian and a pagan. The story follows their coming of age and their reunion as adults when three of them try to stop the fourth, who chooses a path toward terrorism and destruction.

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While Burtner's parents' accommodations in Nigeria lacked electricity and therefore hot water, he often stayed at a boarding school that had more modern conveniences.

"Pero," which costs $16.95, is available at Turn the Page Bookstore Caf in Boonsboro, Red Byrd Restaurant in Keedysville, Books 'n Things in Long Meadow Shopping Center, Christian Light on Valley Mall Road, www.amazon.com and www.savageriverpress.com.

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