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Author comes back to Millington-Memphis area, setting for historic thriller Baden Powell’s Beads

Star Staff Reports

Author Paul D. Parsons returns to Memphis—setting for his novel, home of his youth and medical studies—to greet old friends and new this holiday season.

Parsons will sign copies of his historic thriller BADEN POWELL’S BEADS, Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble at Wolfchase Galleria.

Parsons has studied the history of the Zulu beads in South Africa and the man who found them over 100 years ago, Baden-Powell.

“Twice I’ve read his (Baden-Powell’s) biography, about his finding the Zulu beads in South Africa and 30 years later giving them out to the first trained Scoutmasters,” said Parsons. “I just thought the possibilities for a good historic fiction thriller were too rich to pass up.”

As an orthopedic surgeon, now living in middle Tennessee, Parsons used his medical background to develop the lead character.

Set in Memphis, Tennessee, the book tells the story of Dr. David Freeman, who is given a strange wooden bead by a dying patient and soon finds himself pursued by a murderous band of Zulus, thought to be responsible for the gruesome murders of three elderly gentlemen in England. Much of the beads’ history and power remains a mystery—and the Zulus may not be alone in their pursuit.

Homeland Security agents Patrick Dartson and Adnan Fazeph devise a plot to capture the Zulus alive but can they succeed before Freeman and his girlfriend become their next victims?

So Parsons actually based the novel on the true story of Zulu beads recovered in the Boer War.

He uses historically accurate events and religious history to weave a gripping, fast-paced thriller that keeps readers enthralled until the very end.

“I selected Memphis as the setting since I did three years of medical school (UT Medical School) and three years of orthopedic training (Campbell’s Clinic) in downtown Memphis,” said Parsons. “It seemed so natural to place a sought after bead in the hands of an unsuspecting orthopedic resident. I can write about that life.”

As a youth Parsons’ family lived in Millington.

His father, Warren, was a Master Chief in the Navy stationed at NAS Millington. His mom, Martha, was an active member of the Millington United Methodist church as a faithful choir member and “someone who organized events and got things done,” said Parsons.

It was while a student at Millington Central High School that Parsons began to broaden his reading scope. “I got into Ivanhoe, Last of the Mohicans…it was an age where reading truly interested me,” he said. “I think about that because now, all these years later, I’m re-reading Ivanhoe.”

BADEN POWELL’S BEADS is published by Tate Publishing and Enterprises.

Parsons lives in Brentwood, Tennessee, with his wife, two step-daughters, and two dogs. Raised in a military family, he has traveled extensively and lived all over the world.

An avid lifelong reader and book collector, he began writing in earnest after attending a fiction-writing course offered by his alma mater, Dartmouth College, in 2003.

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