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'Prophet of Israel'

Years ago, when teacher Tim Wilkinson was doing research on the story of King Arthur, he noticed a jarring comparison.

"I believe it is based on the Bible," Wilkinson said. "The more research I did, the more I thought that ... now I am totally convinced."

He then began realizing that accounts in the Bible were deeply connected to what many in society think of as exciting stories.

"(Bible stories) contain a lot of things we still consider to be great adventure stories," the Olympic Peninsula Academy history teacher said. "It has superhuman but flawed heroes, huge battles, son versus father wars, betrayal ... and they all have lessons."

The idea inspired him to write a historical novel based on the section of the Bible describing the war between the Philistines and Israel and making Samuel and Sampson's father Manoah as the main characters. This time period, he said, always has been of interest to him.

"It was a very dramatic time of change," Wilkinson said. "The Bronze Age was ending, the Iron Age was beginning and Israel went from a tribal government to a monarchy."

Carrying out his idea, how-ever, was not as easy as coming up with it: Wilkinson began and scrapped drafts of his novel in 2002 and 2004 before finally completing a copy he was happy with earlier this year. The result is "Prophet of Israel," a 336-page tome that he self-published through online publisher Lulu.com.

Wilkinson said while he didn't change facts, he did fill in details that are not necessarily in the Bible itself.

"There's nothing in it that I know to be untrue, but there's a whole lot I made up," Wilkinson said, adding that he is deeply religious. "(Still), I tried to be as faithful to the Bible as possible."

Wilkinson, who said the book is written for adults but appropriate for children as well, is working on a sequel, the second book in what he has planned to be an eight-part series. To fulfill that, he wakes up an hour or two before he has to head to class, sits down at his laptop with a cup of tea and fills pages with his ideas.

"This takes a different part of my brain than teaching, but it is just as great," Wilkinson said. "I love writing and I love history."

"Prophet of Israel" is available at Amazon.com and http://stores.lulu.com/timothywilkinson.

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