Sunday, September 25, 2011

Edi's Spotlight: The Revisionists by Thomas Mullen

Introduction

Time travel can be a tricky thing but I like to read about time travel. I was happy when Mulholland Books sent me a review copy of The Revisionists by Thomas Mullen because the blurb promised a different approach to time travel as described in the books I read so far.
The book will be published on September 28th. That means only a few days left. The right time to deliver my review.

I wanted to enjoy the book and I wanted to present you a fair review. But I ended up in writing something which looks more like a reading impression than a review. I know we can't love all books. I hope I found proper words to explain to you why The Revisionists did not work for me.


The Book


The Revisionists (hc , 435 p., September 28th 2011)
[ISBN-13: 978-0316176729]
by Thomas Mullen

"Zed is an agent from the future. A place where all of the world's problems have been solved. No hunger. No war. No despair.
His mission is to keep that way. Even if it means ensuring every cataclysm throughout history runs its course, especially one just on the horizon.
Zed's mission will ensnare the lives of a disgraced former spy named Leo; a young lawyer, Tasha, grieving over the loss of her brother; Sari, the oppressed employee of a foreign diplomat; and countless others. But will he finish his final mission before the present takes precedence over a perfect future? One that may have more cracks than he realizes?
The Revisionists is a literary tale of action and intrigue that puts a fresh spin on today's global crises, asking questions about the nature of history and the future, and our own roles in shaping them." [Back of the book]

My Expectations
I expected a mix of Fringe, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Time Tunnel and a bit of Blade Runner.


What I got

To say it straight away, The Revisionists did not hit my expectations.

Without any doubt Thomas Mullen is a talented writer. The chapter where he describes the former life of Sang Hee, the wife of an South Korean diplomat is one of the most impressive ones I read in the past months. And there have been some more excellent passages. But a book consists of more chapters. And that is the point to explain all the things I missed in The Revisionists.

I could not really connect with the characters. There was a kind of emotional divider between us.
It has something to do with the story itself which oscillated between social drama, thriller, tale with sf components, time travel book, dystopian novel or something else. Most of the time it read like mix of thriller and social drama.

Is it thought provoking when you get a glimpse of a Nineteen Eighty-Four like future? I found the information about the future society insufficient.
Is it thought provoking when millions of people have to die for a better future, as happened (will happen) with the disastrous event called the Great Conflagration? To be honest that sounds like the biblical flood. I wanted to know more about the event and the days before it happened -
Watchmen (new edition 2008) [ISBN-13: 978-1401222666] by Alan Moore delivers an excellent example for that.

I did not expect a detailed mathematical and physical explanation of the time travel itself. But a few more details like in The Time Machine and in Time Tunnel would have given a more time travel like touch.

A great part of the book I felt confused. The stories of the different characters got intermingled and I could not see a real progress for the main story line.
Despite that, I read the whole book always hoping for the light at the end of the tunnel but in vain.
I read several time travel novels within in 2011 - Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, TimeRiders series by Alex Scarrow - and all of them entertained me more than The Revisionists.
I think the label TIME TRAVEL raises wrong expectations which The Revisionists can't deliver.

Maybe my expectations have been totally wrong.

Maybe I'm just too simpleminded for this book.

If you are looking for a real time travel novel then you should read for example Doomsday Book (1992) [ISBN-13: 978-0553562736] by Connie Willis.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Edi's Weekend Wave #1139

--------------------------------------

Hello and welcome to issue #39 of Edi's Weekend Wave.
What shall I say? Beside the low temperatures over night we have had a lovely week weather wise. In Germany we call the period inside a season Altweibersommer. Depending on where you live you may know it as Indian summer or gossamer. The latter is not used often. Anyway I like this period because it is still sunny with mild temperatures. While I still wear my sandals without socks, people around me started to wear coats. But the most crazy thing is, that we can buy now Christmas cookies and cakes! I like gingerbread a lot especially when it is freshly baked. I wait for the day when we can Easter eggs on Christmas eve .... Seems I'm a bit bubbly today. Hope you don't mind. Have a look at what I found worth to post and

ENJOY READING ....

Edi's Guidepost

The Lighthouse
News and information straight from the horse's mouth by Lighthouse keeper ediFanoB

  1. Reading progress
  2. Picks for the rest of 2011 - Update
  3. Frankfurt Book Fair 2011
Books
The latest report from our shelf shop net correspondent Bona
  1. I won a single e
  2. Tall Taller Tallerman
  3. Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Blogosphere
Messages from the depths of the blogosphere by spheronaut Bona Fide
  1. The History Girls
  2. Maps
Movies
Remote control junkie Fide and his zapping highlights
  1. No movie trailer but a music video

Quotes
The member of the house of quotes and a quote himself the Keeper of the minutes ( we call him Kotm) fished for you
  1. German proverbs, sayings and idioms Random quotes

The Lighthouse

I finished one book and read 745 pages. That was satisfying. I'm ahead of my target. I'm not sure where it will end. It depends on how much I will read in the remaining 99 days.

I finished

- Outpost Adam Baker (PB)
A post apocalyptic thriller
I wrote on GOODREADS:
"I do not read post apocalyptic stories often. All in all I enjoyed Outpost. There have been some inconsistencies and I was not really happy with the ending. Anyway potential readers should know that there is a lot of violence and blood."


I'm

- 672 pages in A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin.
Means I read 142 pages last week! Only 287 page left! I sure I will finish the book by end of October. And I know which book I will read afterward: The Wise Man's Fear (994 pages, trade paperback, UK 2011) [ISBN-13: 978-0575081420] by Patrick Rothfuss !!

- 188 pages in The Lion of Cairo by Scott Oden (PB)
History, adventure, fantasy
It is exactly the book reviewed over at My Favorite Books.

- 29 pages in The Hero always wins Robert Eaton (PDF)
Fantasy
a promising start.

On Sunday I will start with Phoenix Rising (pb, 2011) [ISBN-13: 978-0062049766] by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris. I need some steampunk and it is on my picks for the rest of 2011 list.

In August 2011 I posted about my picks for the rest of the year. I think I would be interesting to give you an update what happened with the 25 presented books so far.

I finished following books from the post:
- The Revisionists (September 2011) by Thomas Mullen
- Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey
- King's Envoy (pb, July 2011) [ISBN-13: 978-1936850136] byCas Peace.
- Honour and the Sword (2010) [ISBN-13: 978-0141043739] by A. L. Berridge
- Outpost (2011) [ISBN-13: 978-1444709032] by Adam Baker
- 7th Sigma (hc, 2011) [ISBN-13: 978-0312877156] by Steven Gould

And I'm in two more books:
- A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin
- The Lion of Cairo by Scott Oden

I think the result after five weeks is not the bad. I finished six of the 25 books and I'm in two more books.
And I read some more books which have not been on the list!
I will come back with a second update beginning of November.

Last week my wife and I decided to visit the Frankfurt Book Fair 2011. as we both read mostly books in English, it is a great opportunity to visit all the publishers from UK and US. That means I have to prepare #42 of Edi's Weekend Wave in advance. I will share my impressions the week after


Enjoy your weekend ....


Books

Dear readers, I'm the one to tell you about books - only books? What about novellas and other stuff? My name is Bona. I scour shelves, shops and the net for books. If you call me a book whore I would not gainsay you. But be aware I have my own, sometimes elusive taste.

One e means I received one electronic copy. I took part in a Giveaway over at Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog and I won an electronic copy of

The Arranger (epub, September 2011)

"The year is 2023 and ex-detective Lara Evans is working as a freelance paramedic in a bleak new world. She responds to an emergency call and is nearly killed when a shooter flees the home. Inside she finds the federal employment commissioner wounded, but she’s able to save his life.
The next day Lara leaves for the Gauntlet—a national competition of intense physical and mental challenges with high stakes for her home state. She spots the assailant lurking at the arena and soon after, she lands in deep trouble. Who is the mysterious killer and what is motivating him? Can Lara stop him, stay alive, and win the Gauntlet?" [Source]

The setting sounds interesting enough for me. I'm not sure if this will be a more serious or a more funny read. Time will tell.


Tall, Taller, Tallerman is a kind of wordplay. I'm sure it is not new for author David Tallerman.
In August I posted about his upcoming novel Giant Thief (UK, January 31st 2012) [ISBN-13: 978-0857662118].
In order to refresh your memory I post again the blurb:
"Meet Easie Demasco, rogue, thieving swine and total charmer.

He's a sneak thief and a con man, but even the wicked cannot rest when their land is invaded by an army of mercenaries commanding an unstoppable weapon, magically-enslaved giants. Only, well, he's somehow managed to make off not only with the warlord's treasure, but also the special stone that controls the giants. Which means he now has an entire army on his tail." [Source]
The reason why I talk again about Giant Thief is the cover which has been revealed last week.
The giant in the back looks impressive. His name is Saltlick. I think he does not look like a thief. But what will you do when you are under the control of someone else?
David Tallerman posted in detail about the cover. Read it. I ordered Giant Thief in advance. The good thing is that there will be two more books starring Easie Demasco:
Crown Thief – from the Tales of Easie Damasco - October 2012, worldwide
tbc – from the Tales of Easie Damasco - mid-2013, worldwide
[Source]


A few weeks ago I posted about the upcoming novel Daughter of Smoke and Bones (pb, September 2011] [ISBN-13: 978-0316199025] by Laini Taylor.
I received a mail with additional information from Harry Cymbler who works for Hot Cherry:

"‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’ has been described by Stylist magazine as "Northern Lights and Pan's Labyrinth in one" and by Wall Street Journal as a book to fill the void left by the blockbuster series Harry Potter. And with just over one week to go until the publication of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, here’s the new, exclusive, trailer."

"Daughter of Smoke and Bone tells the story of 17-year-old orphan Karou who draws tales of monsters and demons that delight and enthral those around her. But she has a secret, a secret that ties her to a dusty subterranean chamber where her beloved guardian brokers, a demonic shopkeeper called the Wishmonger, deals in a place that is not here. A place that is Elsewhere. Karou runs errands for him around the world, buying teeth pilfered from the dead – and sometimes the living – to fill his mysterious jars and coffers. Living with one foot in each world, Karou has never really known which one is her true home. Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing. Karou is neither purely good nor wholly evil, but you’ll be rooting for her every step of the way."

Join Daughter of Smoke and Bone:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheSmokeandBoneGroup
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/SmokeAndBone

You see there is some hype around the book. If you want to know more then you should definitely read the Book Smugglers Review. Ana and Thea did a great job! They explain to you while it is worth to read Daughter of Smoke and Bones.


No more today, see you next week ......

Blogosphere

Hey, I'm Bona Fide. I just came back from my last foray through the blogosphere. What can you expect from me? I tell you: Everything from Art to Fart as long as there is any faint connection to books. And here is some honey from the beehive blogosphere...

I read historical fiction. Did you know that a lot of women write historical fiction? Recently I discovered a new blog: The History Girls
They describe themselves as followed:
"The History Girls are a group of best-selling, award-winning writers of historical fiction. Some of us write for young adults, some for fully fledged adults, some for younger readers.
Among us, we cover every period from the Stone Age to World War II. Geographically, our novels will take you from Trondheim to Troy, and the Caribbean to the Wild West, via Venice, Victorian England and Ancient Rome.
Individual, entertaining, sometimes provocative: on this daily blog we'll share our thoughts on writing, research, reviews, and all aspects of our work. We love what we do and we want to talk about it. We hope you'll want to join in!" [Source]
The group consists of nearly 30 authors! That is impressive. I added the blog to my Google Reader. I look forward to read interesting posts and the discovery of new books.


Do you like maps? Did you ever see alternate history steampunk maps? No? The you should visit The Steampunk Tribune.


That's it for today. Come back next week for more ......

Movies

Hey, it's me Fide. I'm a remote control professional. I'm that fast that I can watch two movies at the same time.
But don't worry. All the stuff I present to you will be shown at normal speed.

This week I did not find a trailer. Instead I show you a music video of a German band which my wife and I like a lot: Victor and his Demons performed by Fiddler's Green



That's all for today. See you next time....


Quotes

I 'm the Keeper of the minutes. But I don't mind when you call me Kotm. No, no. I don't explain to you how to pronounce.

Today I present you some random quotes ....


"It's amazing how quickly nature consumes human places after we turn our backs on them. Life is a hungry thing.
Scott Westerfeld, Peeps, 2005


"The higher the buildings, the lower the morals.
Noel Coward, English actor, dramatist, & songwriter (1899 - 1973)


"2 is not equal to 3, not even for large values of 2.
Grabel's Law

Friday, September 23, 2011

Edi's Spotlight: Honour and the Sword by A. L. Berridge

Introduction

As mentioned in other reviews, August 2011 has been an interesting month for me concerning the discovery of authors new to me. Regularly readers know that I like to read historical fiction.
I'm not the only one who think that historical and fantasy have more in common than a lot of people assume.
Today's author A. L. Berridge wrote an informative guest post about this topic. I posted about it.
In case you missed the post I deliver once again the direct link:

A L Berridge is the author of The Chevalier series. That sounds French. And indeed
"The ‘Chevalier' series follows the fictional life and adventures of André de Roland through some of the most tumultuous years in French history. As the series ends, Louis XIV has attained his majority, the Age of the Hero is over, and the Age of Absolutism is about to begin."
For detailed information read The Chevalier Series on the official A.L. Berridge website.

So far the series consist of two novels:
- Honour and the Sword (pb, 2010) [ISBN-13: 978-0141043739] and
- In the Name of the King (pb, 2011) [ISBN-13: 978-0141043746].
A. L. Berridge has been so kind to sent me copies of the first two books. So far I read the first one and thus Honour and the Sword is the subject of this review.


Book Store Information
In general my decision to read a book is mostly based on the cover and the blurb/synopsis delivered on the back cover. You do not get more information when you are in a book store. The world of books is changing which means I also will take in account blurbs and descriptions on GOODREADS and other places.
Here we go:
Honour and the Sword (pb, 2010)
"It is 1636 - the height of the Thirty Years War, one of the bloodiest and most destructive conflicts Europe has ever seen. As the campaigning season begins, the Spanish armies swell out of the Artois region of the Netherlands - flooding into King Louis XIII's France. The sleepy border village of Dax-en-roi stands in their way. Facing the overwhelming might of the Spanish forces, the Chevalier de Roland rallies a valiant defence, but in vain - his household guard no match for the invaders. There is only one survivor as the Roland estate is razed to the ground, one soul who escapes the Spanish brutality: the lone heir to the Roland name, the son, a young boy by the name of André de Roland, the new Sieur of Dax . . .Upon this young nobleman?s shoulders all hope lies. He alone must bear the honour of the Roland name and, with it, the fate of his people."[Source]

My Expectations

My list of historical fiction authors is growing. Most of them write stories set in the past of England. With Honour and the Sword I left England and entered France. The combination of cloak-and-sword and France always leads me to The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. Like a lot of other boys I read and loved it in my youth. With such a "burden" it is not that easy to read a book without prejudice. Of course I expected swashbuckling rapier combat. But I also expected to learn a little bit more about the period of time and most important an entertaining adventure.


Theme

To my surprise the main theme is something completely different compared to the books I read in the past years. This book is about the concept of Honour in the 17th century. Sometimes it is obvious but often you will not recognize it. It is important to know because it puts a different complexion on several of André's decisions and actions.

Honour and the Sword is a great description of the impact of the Thirty Years War on a small community. And it is a great example of the interaction between a single person discovering the own personality and a group of people who are partially strong but in the need of a kind of leader to blossom the full strength.

On the headmost narrative level it is a cloak-and-sword adventure including a lot swashbuckling rapier combat in the tradition of Alexandre Dumas.

In sum Honour and the Sword is a book which is most entertaining adventure with the tempting touch to think about concepts and group dynamics processes.


Setting

I recommend to read the Thirty Years War by A.L. Berridge delivers detailed information.
Of course I give you an rough overview.
The year is 1636. Europe is suffers from the Thirty Years War. The French region Picardie is invaded and occupied by Spanish troops.
There is a colored map of the region over at the official book website and fortunately there is a black and white map in the book too.


Plot

With the Spanish occupation which is done in a bloody and brutal manner, young nobleman André de Roland forfeits family and home. The inhabitants of the Picardie wait in vain for relief. It is up to André and several villagers to organize resistance as a base for further actions against the Spanish occupants.

As there is a second book it is obvious that André and his comrades will kick out the Spanish troops. But that is far beyond to take place in a linear way. Lack of experience, misunderstandings, betrayal, abnormal ambitions, Spanish counter attacks and other unexpected events are the reasons for twists and turns. With every action, thought, dialogue André develops and also some of the other characters, especially his friend Jaques and Anne, the one he loves.


Character(s)

André de Roland is the main character of the book. If you want to know in deep how A. L. Berridge invented and developed the character then you must read André de Roland by A. L. Berridge. I can't do it in that way. It would go beyond the scope of this review. He is a young nobleman and has nothing in common with the noblemen from today. He is definitely neither the heir nor a copy of Alexandre Dumas' d'Artagnan. For me André de Roland is the French answer to Robin Hood.

But there are more characters which you get to know in a different way due to the structure of the novel. The structure supports the easy connection with characters which appear three dimensional.


Style

The narrative style is definitely the crossroads where opinions will differ. It is the the very point where reader will decide if they like the book or not.
A L Berridge chose to deliver the first adventure of André de Roland in form of a collection of letters, interviews, diary and journal extracts, interviews. The whole story is told from the perspective of different characters and that includes friends and foes! And to top it all, you will not find a single line written from André perspective!
The result is on the one hand a matchless view of André de Roland and on the other hand the opportunity to witness the story through the eyes of different and unique people. It does not take long to identify the current narrator without reading the chapter header. A L Berridge inhales every narrating character a unique personality. There is the caring and suffering (with André) Jaques, the tough Stefan and more.

The writing is emotional and stirring with a rhythm which gives you once a while the opportunity to breathe.

The Inevitable

The title of the book - Honour and the Sword - is the shortest summary you can get which includes all you get.
In the tradition of Alxandre Dumas, Honour and the Sword offers with André de Roland the French answer to Robin Hood. Enter a time where honour was something completely different and the rapier the weapon of the nobleman.
Remember the time when you read first Robin Hood and The Three Musketeers. You can't turn back the time but instead you can read Honour and the Sword and feel young again.

If you would like to get more information or my review has not been sufficient for you then I highly recommend to visit The official Honour and the Sword website.

And now the time has come to say au revoir ... André de Roland is waiting for me In the Name of the King ...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Edi's Spotlight: Autumn's Peril by Rosalie Skinner

Introduction

In August 2011 I posted about different ways to discover new authors. I got in contact with two authors: Cas Peace and Rosalie Skinner.

And today I present the review of Exiled:Autumn's Peril (eBook, September 2011) by Rosalie Skinner. This is the first book in The Chronicles of Caleath series. To be honest with in sum eight books it is definitely a series! And Exiled:Autumn's Peril belongs to my growing list of books from small publishers and it is an eBook too.
Author Rosalie Skinner has been so kind to send me an electronic copy.


Book Store Information
In general my decision to read a book is mostly based on the cover and the blurb/synopsis delivered on the back cover. You do not get more information when you are in a book store. The world of books is changing which means I also will take in account blurbs and descriptions on GOODREADS and other places.
Here we go:


Exiled:Autumn's Peril (eBook , September 2011)
[Kindle ASIN: B005JU9840] [Smashwords] [MuseItUp Publishing]
by Rosalie Skinner

Depending on the source you use, you get different levels of information. I decided to go for the information from the official website because there you get a kind of summary.
"Exiled and driven by guilt and vengeance, Caleath, adept in virtual reality games, finds himself on a world where magic rules. Assassins hunt him, ghosts haunt his nights, a sorcerer covets his knowledge and a beautiful hostage complicates his escape.
Washed ashore from the wreck of the Albatross, tortured in mind and body, Caleath uses his dreaded nanobots in order to survive and reluctantly befriends the young Gwilt. Their search for the survey satellite, which could lead Caleath home, unveils the terrifying world of 'a dark soul, black magic and a bloody sword'.
On this perilous journey, an assassin destroys Caleath's healing nanobots, and exiles from his home planet follow his every move. He takes the beautiful Nasith, of the Ferran clan, hostage to keep the assassins at bay, but her presence endangers him more. A sorcerer forces Caleath to aid the Council of Mages when he discovers Caleath carries vital knowledge that could save the Sharyac people from the invading Tarack, a species of giant ants."

My Expectations
After reading the text above and with knowledge of seven more books to follow I expected a great mix of fantasy, science fiction and adventure. And that is what I finally got.


Theme

One of the main themes delivered in her extended description: REVENGE
But that is only half of the truth. The second main theme is TRUSTFULNESS
Both have some companions like discovery, curiosity and not to forget love.

The reader knows from the very beginning that it is revenge what keeps Caleath alive and which is his foremost motif. But it is the realization that counts. And that is where Rosalie Skinner shows strengths. Every step of Caleath on the planet (name unknown) light years from his home in an unknown universe expose something relevant for the mentioned themes above. And that is done in an entertaining way by feeding the reader with small bits of information about everything which is important or will be important in future. The development and the revelation of the themes is like peeling an onion. In the end the themes are like an bottle opener for your emotions.


Setting

I does not take long to identify that Rosalie Skinner took known fantasy topics like put them into a mixer and added her own ideas. The result is a universe with planets somewhere and sometime. Interplanetary travels are possible.
There are worlds with advanced technology and worlds with magic and medieval flair.
The story focus on an unknown planet which is definitely a fantasy world with a medieval touch.
There is magic, communication between animals and human beings, weapons like sword, bow and crossbow. There are several continents inhabited by different cultures. The reader will visit some of them. But there is a serious problem in form of the visit of an uninvited civilization.
The main character Caleath is a very specific being. His body has been modified. There are nanobots in his blood and a kind of hard disc in his head.

The whole world seems to be the realization of a world from the virtual reality game which Caleath played in the past.


Plot

As the first book in The Chronicles of Caleath series Exiled:Autumn's Peril is the anacrusis of Caleath's way to get his revenge. By the end of the book the reader knows who is the target of Caleath's revenge, what has happened in the past, what is going on of the planet without name.

Until the end Rosalie Skinner delivers a high emotional adventure where the main character Caleath desperately tries to change from a reacting to an acting character in order to fulfill his first and foremost goal: Revenge. As he is not the only being on the planet, a lot of people are involved by his actions and/or non actions. Every step he takes, every emotion he shows has an impact on himself and his surrounding. Revenge is based on hate which is a strong emotion. And as soon emotions comes into play every plan gets twists and turns and as there more people with different plans a lot of action takes place. But there is an explanation behind every eruption of violence. Sometimes brooding revenge is the matrix for the genesis of a helix of emotions which lead to modifications and variations of lives and plans.

That may sound a bit vague but in combination with the extended description above you will get an imagination what to expect.


Character(s)

The important characters including Caleath are three-dimensional. Without it would not be possible that they reflect and reverberate all the upcoming emotions.
Rosalie Skinner shows love for Caleath. But she does not hesitate to throw him into dangerous situations and not to mention his feelings.
As in normal life characters do not change immediately. It is great to see that Caleath learning curve based on his reflections and experiences is nothing extraordinary.

There are only a few characters which seem to follow the known black and white scheme. I'm not sure if some of these will change within the next books.


Style

Rosalie Skinner shows her strengths in the transformation of words into emotion. It is inevitable that the reader is emotionally touched and forced to take a stand. It does not matter if one is against Caleath or not. One cannot be neutral.

The story follows an inner hidden rhythm which is like the mix of a damaged saw blade with a roller coaster. It is like you start the engine of a car, then you accelerate, an unexpected curve appears but there is no time to hit the brakes and after the curve you have to cross a track, where you miss the train by with a sudden speedup followed by an ascent which slows you down while it begin to rain and you are sitting in a convertible and someone whispers nice words into your ear and so on and so on. It is amazing. Fortunately there is a kind of stop at the end.

That all is written in a tongue which fits to each character and let you sail from page to page where you meet archaic words like tryst like you see seagulls above your ship.
The writing breathe emotions. Dialogue is sometimes crisp and harsh but always correspond to the situation.


The Inevitable

To say I liked Exiled:Autumn's Peril would be more than an understatement. It was a pulsating and vibrating read which captivated me within minutes.
Caleath or shall I say Sarran is a fascinating character with depth and full of emotions. Throughout the book I wanted to support him, to kick him in the ass, to remind him, to calm him down.
The setting is great mix of fantasy and science fiction, the onion peeling like revelation of Caleath's past, the vivid story telling including a band with from torture to love, from dialogue to fight, granted an extraordinary reading pleasure.

If you look for an emotional character who desperately tries to change from reaction to action limited to one planet with unknown continents and cultures framed in a fantasy and science fiction setting then read Exiled:Autumn's Peril by Rosalie Skinner.

From virtual reality to reality - From hate to revenge:
Exiled:Autumn's Peril is a strong debut with a lot of potential.

I can't wait to read the rest of the series.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Edi's Weekend Wave #1138

Hello and welcome to issue #38 of Edi's Weekend Wave.
A few days off is like a fountain of youth for me and the blog. I can't remember the last time when I wrote and posted three reviews within a week! And beside that I played video games, read a lot, went shopping with my wife and more ... That means I'm mentally refreshed when I will return to work which is good for me and the company. But it only works with switched off company phone and company laptop. I want to emphasize that because I know a lot of people who continue to receive phone calls and mails while they are out of office. I'm not available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. I'm off when I'm off. And now

ENJOY READING ....

Edi's Guidepost

The Lighthouse
News and information straight from the horse's mouth by Lighthouse keeper ediFanoB

  1. Reading progress
Books
The latest report from our shelf shop net correspondent Bona
  1. e+e+e+e
  2. Read what I liked for free!!! Varangian: The Stone of Babylon by Sabine Atkins
Blogosphere
Messages from the depths of the blogosphere by spheronaut Bona Fide
  1. A question and an opportunity to win
  2. Victorian Job Description
  3. From the present into the past to have a view into future
  4. Tintin and Lovecraft
  5. Tor Steampunk Week 2011
Movies
Remote control junkie Fide and his zapping highlights
  1. The Awakening
  2. The Mechanical Grave
Games
The old codger himself (ediFanoB) tortures PC and Consoles
  1. Still playing Oblivion

Quotes
The member of the house of quotes and a quote himself the Keeper of the minutes ( we call him Kotm) fished for you
  1. German proverbs, sayings and idioms Random quotes

The Lighthouse

I read incredible 949 pages last week and finished three books! I'm more than happy. ven I could not read on two days I read 494 pages in five days and finished two books! I hope to read more within the next week. Am I weakening? Only three books parallel!!

I finished

- Honour and the Sword by A L Berridge
I wrote on GOODREADS:
"I gave five stars due to following reasons: - An excellent description of the concept of Honour in 17th century - great description of the impact of the Thirty Years War on a small community - loveable characters you easily can connect with - delivered gamut of emotions - narrative structure above all author A L Berridge Then we have editor Edward Morton, MA, LittD, Cambridge, who collected different sources like the memoirs of a priest, interviews, letters and journals which. The whole story is told from different point of views based on the mentioned sources."


- The Moon Maze Game by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes
I wrote on GOODREADS:
"I would have given 3.4 stars which is not possible. It is definitely science fiction. But a kind of fiction I read twenty years ago. It is entertaining but far too predictable. If you don't know how a dream park works you will have more fun."


Exiled: Autumn's Peril by Rosalie Skinner
"I like books where the main character is not always loveable and where most of the characters are neither black nor white. Mixed with a fascinating background story which is revealed slowly, fantasy and science fiction, supernatural, magic and tech, Autumn's Peril is a great start for a new eight book series. Can't wait to read Summer's Peril."


I'm

- 530 pages in A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin.
Means I read 150 pages last week!

I will start with

-The Lion of Cairo by Scott Oden (PB)
History, adventure, fantasy

- Outpost Adam Baker (PB)
A post apocalyptic thriller

- The Hero always wins Robert Eaton (PDF)
Fantasy

Anyway publishers go into new directions and eBooks will play an important role. Later on I will show you an example.


Enjoy your weekend ....


Books

Dear readers, I'm the one to tell you about books - only books? What about novellas and other stuff? My name is Bona. I scour shelves, shops and the net for books. If you call me a book whore I would not gainsay you. But be aware I have my own, sometimes elusive taste.

What does e+e+e+e mean?
It is quite simple. I wanted to express that I received four eBooks within last week. To be more precise, I received three novels and a short story.

Let me start with the short story:



Chivalry: A Jake Savage Adventure (eShort Story , September 2011)


The next one sounds a bit crazy.
Vonnegut and Douglas Adams rewrite Brave New World and find The Future Perfect [Kindle edition by Kirk Mustard. The title is quite long ..... Anyway a thank you goes to the author for sending me a copy.
And this is the short description:
"The Future Perfect is the hot new satire of the future. A funny, imaginative, provocative look a things to come.
San Francisco TV reviewer Joe Soko called it one of the best satires ever. It's a brilliant portrait of mankind - for anyone, sci-fi fan or not, who loves to laugh at or explore the absurdity, magic and mystery of human existence.
It's been called the next Brave New World, with a touch of Kurt Vonnegut and a hint of Douglas Adams. You won’t be able to put it down. " [Source]
I'm curious what to expect. Sounds like an interesting mix.


The next book is an electronic copy of The Seach for Artemis (2011) by P D Griffith. A thank you goes to publisher Gryff Publishing for sending the copy.
[ISBN 978-0983701705 (Kindle) ] [ISBN 978-0983701712 (eBook) ]
[ISBN 978-0983701736 (Paperback) ]

"Fifteen-year-old Landon Wicker is psychokinetic, but the tragic unleashing of his abilities forces him to run from everything he knows. Alone, terrified and unable to remember the events that compelled him to flee, Landon fights to survive and understand what's happening to him. He finds solace, however, in the company of hundreds of psychokinetics like him when he's brought to the Gymnasium.
Forced into a life where people don't just see - but control - the world around them and teenagers lift city buses with a thought, Landon struggles to accept his new reality and the guilt over his painful secret. But everything changes when a chance encounter with a mysterious girl propels him on a hunt for answers. Uncovering dark truths the Gymnasium would do anything to keep hidden, Landon must choose where his loyalties lie.
Will Landon accept his past - and his future? Will he discover the truth? What's hidden in the Restricted Tower, and who is Artemis?" [Source]
Imagine hundreds of psychokinetics gathered at one place. Hogwarts came up in my mind. But I think this will be different.
There is also a book trailer available.



This is the last book for today and a thank you goes to FSB Associates for sending a copy of Antiquitas Lost: The Last of the Shamalans (October 2011) by Robert Louis Smith.
[ISBN: 978-0615460475 (Paperback) ] [eISBN: 978-0983851202 (kindle version) ]
[eISBN: 978-0983851219 (epub version) ]

"Move over Harry Potter. From American cardiologist Robert Louis Smith comes the unique fantasy novel Antiquitas Lost, peppered with more than seventy eye-popping illustrations by Marvel Comics legend Geof Isherwood. This epic fantasy tale tells the story of a boy named Elliott, a lonesome kid with deformities on his hands and feet who is uprooted from his home after his mother falls gravely ill. When they move to New Orleans so his grandfather can help care for her, Elliott learns that the old man's eighteenth century mansion hides an ancient secret. While checking out some eerie old paintings and strange relics in the basement, Elliott strays through an ancient doorway into a tumultuous parallel world, full of bizarre creatures and warring races. He has stumbled into Pangrelor, the most ancient of all worlds and "mother to all the stars in the sky." As he learns to navigate his new surroundings, he discovers wondrous abilities he never dreamed he possessed, and an abiding connection to the primitive, alien world that will forever change him. But he must proceed carefully. For he soon learns that his actions in the ancient world will impact the upcoming battle for Harwelden, Pangrelor's greatest civilization, and will also resonate all the way back to New Orleans, perhaps deciding whether his own mother lives or dies." [Source]
I always hesitate when a new book is announced as the next big thing. Harry Potter has been a great success. I read all the books and liked them. I think it will be a real challenge to write something as successful. But here is a reason why we sometimes use the phrase never say never. One thing I can say for sure. The official Antiquitas site delivers a lot of information in advance. It seems that Robert Louis Smith put a lot of effort in the creation of the world and the story. I will know more as soon as I have read the book.


Now the time has come for an important of this issue. For the first time ever I have been mentioned in a book trailer !!!


Varangian: The Stone of Babylon (eBook , September 2011)
and don't miss

I'm sure you will understand that I'm a little bit proud. But there is more I have to tell you.

And this is an absolutely exclusive information for you!!

Author Sabine Atkins will give you (and all the people you tell about it) the opportunity to download Varangian: The Stone of Babylon for free!! So how does it work? First of all you need to go to following SITE on Smashwords. If you are a member then login else you have to create an account which is just a question of a couple of minutes. I know people will hesitate. The only thing I can tell you is that I'm a member. You need to be a member in order to write reviews and get books for free by using a coupon code.

And that is what Sabine Atkins offers: A coupon code which lets you buy Varangian: The Stone of Babylon for the promotional price of $0.00 !!!
The Coupon Code: VA58V expires on September 24, 2011

With this code you can download Varangian: The Stone of Babylon in different formats:
- Online Reading (HTML, good for sampling in web browser)
- Online Reading (JavaScript, experimental, buggy)
- Kindle (.mobi for Kindle devices and Kindle apps)
- Epub (Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo, and most e-reading apps including Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, others)
- PDF (good for reading on PC, or for home printing)
- RTF (readable on most word processors)
- LRF (Use only for older model Sony Readers that don't support .epub)
- Palm Doc (PDB) (for Palm reading devices)
- Plain Text (download) (flexible, but lacks much formatting)
- Plain Text (view) (viewable as web page)


Now my dear readers it is up to you take the opportunity to get Varangian: The Stone of Babylon for free.

Sabine Atkins, thank you for your kind offer. I hope a lot of people will read and enjoy Varangian: The Stone of Babylon.


No more today, see you next week ......

Blogosphere

Hey, I'm Bona Fide. I just came back from my last foray through the blogosphere. What can you expect from me? I tell you: Everything from Art to Fart as long as there is any faint connection to books. And here is some honey from the beehive blogosphere...


What would you think about a book when you read following sentences:
"In my new novel, the future is bleak, my characters are flawed, and their quests are intensely personal. Writing this novel could have been depressing, but I set much of the story in an endurance contest called the Gauntlet, which provided some unusual and amusing research moments." [source]

I must say it aroused my interest. So if you would like to know more about the book and the opportunity to win a copy then you should immediately read
"Arranging" a Giveaway and Dark Future Humor over at Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog. Taking part is easy. Just leave a comment. Not sure when the giveaway will end. So hurry up!

The wonderful and comprehensive Victiorian blog The Cat's Meat shop started a new series titled Victorian Job Descriptions. I think it is interesting for everyone who is interested in history and/or Victorian Aera and/or steampunk. Have a look.

Since my youth I like to read articles and to look at pictures which explain and show what people assumed would be our future. I'm sure you know what will come to you next. The awesome people over at WebUrbanist Put together a post which I like a lot.
Don't miss Past as Prologue? How Today Looked 100 Years Ago.

During my time at university I read nearly all the comics starring reporter Tintin. And I liked to read stories by H P Lovecraft. What would the covers of Tintin's adventures look like when you would mingle them with the world of H P Lovecraft? One possible result shows the post Tintin and Lovecraftian horror ... over at The Forbidden Planet International Blog Log.

And they do it again in 2011 !!
Tor.com has declared the week of October 3-7 Steampunk Week, and our authors want in on the fun! To celebrate all things steampunk, authors Lev AC Rosen, Marie Brennan, and George Mann will discuss the popular subgenre and their own steampunk works on September 21st, from 4 – 5 PM EST!
Read the full post over at Tor/Forge's Blog.
That's it for today. Come back next week for more ......

Movies

Hey, it's me Fide. I'm a remote control professional. I'm that fast that I can watch two movies at the same time.
But don't worry. All the stuff I present to you will be shown at normal speed.

Do you like supernatural thrillers? Then you should have a look at the trailer of the upcoming movie (November 2011) THE AWAKENING.
"In post-World War I England in 1921, an author and paranormal sceptic is invited to a countryside boarding school by the head master to investigate rumours of an apparent haunting. But just when she thinks she has debunked the ghost theory, she has a chilling encounter which makes her question all her rational beliefs." [Source]


I find the trailer promising. And I like that there is a female main character. Keep in mind that there was no emancipation in 1921 ....

"A short teaser for THE MECHANICAL GRAVE, a new steampunk horror show. A longer trailer will be coming soon before THE MECHANICAL GRAVE debuts this Fall.
The year is 1895. Steam-powered ships fly through the air. Clockwork robots have replaced servants. And a grisly murder has taken place in the dark night of New York City. Called to the scene of the ritualistic murder, newly appointed police commissioner Teddy Roosevelt discovers Detective Wayne and his police officers power usurped by two special investigators appointed by the White House: Occultist Edgar Allan Poe, a clockwork automaton housing the soul of the literary legend, and Mrs. Emma Entwistle, a dangerous assassin with a unique connection to the otherworld. When they elicit information from the demon Neshrew, a much darker and more dangerous plot of world domination is uncovered." [Source]

I find the teaser intriguing and I hope we do not have to wait too long for a full trailer.

That's all for today. See you next time....


Games

Hey, it's me ediFanoB. Against all odds I play games. Once a while I will talk about games I like.

I still enjoy to play Oblivion. Therefore I did not spend time to look for other games. I count the days until 11.11.11 the launching day of SKYRIM.


That's it for now. See you when I have time ....


Quotes

I 'm the Keeper of the minutes. But I don't mind when you call me Kotm. No, no. I don't explain to you how to pronounce.

Today I present you one more quote from A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin. It is an excellent reason for reading books ...



"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads live only one.
Jojen Reed

Friday, September 16, 2011

Edi's Spotlight: Getting Old Can Kill You by Rita Lakin

After two fantasy book reviews the time has come to surprise you with something completely different. There is a series which I follow since2008 when I discovered the first book. For me it is a kind of science fiction because it is like a view into a possible future.

It seems when you pass the 50 years line you think more often about age than before. How will life be for me when I pass the 70 years line? Will I still read books? Will I still laugh about jokes? Or will I be a rancorous old codger? Fortunately I don't know.

Therefore I like to read how life could be when I'm a 70+. That is the reason why I read the Gladdy Gold series by Rita Lakin. In Summer 2011 she delivered the seventh Gladdy Gold adventure: Getting Old Can Kill You (pb, July 2011) [ISBN-13: 978-0440245605] and I read them all.
"Life isn’t all sunny in Fort Lauderdale’s Lanai Gardens. Returning from a blissful double honeymoon with her sister Evvie, Gladdy Gold announces that she wants her new hubby, Jack, to join her detective agency. But Gladdy’s gals say no dice, and soon Ida, Sophie, and Bella are striking out on their own, enrolling in a class to learn how to be real PIs.

But there’s more than enough trouble for two detective agencies when sultry Joyce Steiner moves in, reopening an old rivalry with Arlene Simon, whose husband ran off with Joyce fifty-five years earlier. When Joyce is found murdered, Arlene becomes the prime suspect, and Gladdy and her girls will have to band together if they’re going to prove that the truth is not just elusive but a real killer." [Source]

It is an on going series which means there is a real character development. Of course it is possible to read each book as a stand alone but in this case you will miss a lot. I wish I will be as spry and funny as Gladdy Gold and her friends.

As all the six books before Getting Old Can Kill You is a funny, emotional and most entertaining read. Deep in the heart these books show how you can age in dignity and respect and stillhaving a lot of fun. You are not for the birds when you get 70 and older!

I still wait for a Gladdy Gold TV series or movies. I assume it would be like a mix of Golden Girls and Miss Marple.

Following video fits perfectly to a quote from the first book:
"I don't like beans. They give me the gas."



You want to know how life can be beyond an age of 70? You look for an entertaining read which let you laugh out loud? You need to be reminded how important it is to have friends? You loved the Golden Girls and you search for something similar with a PI touch? You look for a book you can read together with your partner?

Then there is no way out. Read the Gladdy Gold series. That is seven times most entertaining read. Seven times you will spend unforgettable hours.
But attention:
Be aware that you will laugh out loud more than once.

Don't forget to visit Rita Lakin on her website and on GOODREADS.

ENJOY READING AND LAUGHING !!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Edi's Spotlight: Chivalry: A Jake Savage Adventure by Mark Lord

Introduction

To have a few days off is a great gift for me, my wife and of course for the blog. It gives me the freedom to read and write more than usual. I live in a different time zone than most of my readers. Last night I received a mail from Mark Lord who is a UK based writer and the mastermind of Mark Lord's Praeter Naturam. He offered me a free download of his new short story Chivalry: A Jake Savage Adventure.

I made mixed experience with short stories. But after reading the blurb I could not withstand and downloaded a copy. Then I thought by myself: "Hey, the night is young and you are full of beans. Open the file and read the story." No sooner said than done. It was a satisfying read and I slept well afterward without nightmares.
When I woke up this morning I thought by myself it would be a good idea to review Chivalry: A Jake Savage Adventure now. I changed the review style a bit and this is the result.


Book Store Information
In general my decision to read a book is mostly based on the cover and the blurb/synopsis delivered on the back cover. You do not get more information when you are in a book store. The world of books is changing which means I also will take in account blurbs and descriptions on GOODREADS and other places.
Here we go:

Chivalry: A Jake Savage Adventure (eShort Story , September 2011)
"A single silent knight armoured in black plate defends a narrow bridge in the hills of Auvergne, blocking the path of a band of desperate English soldiers. On the bank defended by the knight is a pavilion where sits a French noble-woman, who taunts the English. Cold, wet and hungry, Jake and his comrades discover that the knight and the lady prove to be more difficult opponents than they imagined. " [Source]
Additionally you should know that this is the first in a series of stories featuring Jake Savage an English archer thrust into the horrors of war during the Hundred Years War in Fourteenth Century France [Info from author].

My Expectations
I expected a short and entertaining story which gives a first impression of the English archer Jake Savage.


The Delivery

Be warned! This is a violent story and not a Sunday afternoon tea time read.
I don't know how familiar you are with Hundred Years War. It was a horrible time full of blood, violence and disease. In the end France lost half of its population.

Mark Lord delivers a story which has nothing to do with an adventure an average reader would expect. I have been surprised too. I'm not addicted to violence and I think the story would not work on the way it does without all the violence. Mark Lord gives a very intense and painstakingly depiction of the horrors of war. The setting is an unexpected one and the supernatural sparkle intensifies the atmosphere a lot. The description of the surrounding is well dosed and fit. The story delivers one more example which you find so often in military history:
Arrogance combined with power does not always win the day.
Jake Savage seems to be a good archer. Compared to his comrades he acts cautious. Beside that he does something which one should not expect from a common soldier: He think and reflects his situation.
The pacing is excellent and Mark Lord does not waste a word too much. The end is a tricky one. It is not an expected one and it delivers not the 100% solution. But it is as satisfying as the story itself.


Thumbs up or down
I hope there will be more Jake Savage stories (a full novel would be great) soon.
Chivalry: A Jake Savage Adventure satisfied my craving for historical fiction with a mystery touch which is taking a greater part within my reading comfort zone of epic fantasy, steampunk and space opera.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Edi's Spotlight: Varangian: The Stone of Babylon by Sabine Atkins

Introduction

On August 20th 2011 I posted about my discovery of with a visit of Varangian: The Stone of Babylon by Sabine Atkins. It did not take long and I came into contact with Sabine Atkins. Regularly readers know that can't get enough books. I explained Sabine Atkins my interest in Varangian: The Stone of Babylon and she sent me an electronic copy. It seems the number of books which I read in electronic format is increasing.
I read the book within three days which is most of the an omen that I like a book. I do not want to bore you any longer with a waterfall of words. Just follow me to my review of Varangian: The Stone of Babylon.

Book Store Information
In general my decision to read a book is mostly based on the cover and the blurb/synopsis delivered on the back cover. You do not get more information when you are in a book store. The world of books is changing which means I also will take in account blurbs and descriptions on GOODREADS and other places.
Here we go:
Varangian: The Stone of Babylon (eBook , September 2011)

"Bound by an ancient oath, Edric is protecting a powerful secret ...
Anglo-Saxon Edric is a Varangian, the member of an elite military force in medieval Constantinople. Being part secret service agent, part imperial security detail, he is privy to all kinds of secrets and intrigues in a strategically significant city embroiled in wars as well as internal political turmoil. But Edric is taken by surprise, when he finds out that his friend, an alchemist from Persia, has given him superpowers and wants him to protect the Stone of Babylon - by any means necessary.
This task sends Edric on a mind-bending journey of epic proportions, full of exciting clashes with warriors and supernatural beings, dangerous alchemy, time travel, fantastical machines, and the acquaintances of strikingly beautiful members of the opposite sex (and not all of them seem to be concerned with his well-being).
A journey that not only will reveal to him the purpose of the Stone of Babylon, but also show him his true strength." [Source]
My Expectations
I must say that after reading the text above and spending time on Varangian: The Stone of Babylon my expectation rose above a certain limit. The blend of history, fantasy, superpowers and time travel is seductive. But I know it is dangerous if you expect too much.


Theme

Deep in the heart Varangian: The Stone of Babylon is a book about sincerity, straightforwardness, principles, fidelity and love. All these themes find their expression in the person of Edric.

That sounds like Varangian: The Stone of Babylon is novel with a heavily philosophical and didactic touch. But I can assure you that most of the mentioned themes find their expression in the action and thoughts of Edric and his interaction with his surrounding. You won't find theorems. On the surface the reader is confronted with the question what one should do with supernatural gifts.

Sabine Atkins shows her talent to cope with thoughtful themes in an entertaining and intoxicating way which undeniably arouse your thirst for historical knowledge.


Setting

The prologue gives a first hint that there are more things between heaven and Earth as mankind can explain. The setting is heavily connected with a part of human history which does not belong to the general knowledge.
I have a knack for history and I must admit I never heard about the Varangian Guard before.
But it is more satisfying read when you know that the Varangian Guard was an elite unit of viking mercenaries and part of the Byzantine Army from 900 to 1400.
I highly recommend to read English Refugees in the Byzantine Armed Forces: The Varangian Guard and Anglo-Saxon Ethnic Consciousness By Nicholas C.J. Pappas in case you want to get more out of the book than pure entertainment.

The Byzantine Empire and especially the town Constantinople plays an important role. Within a few pages Sabine Atkins takes you back in time. You see the big walls, you hear Arabian voices and you smell the for us European exotic scents. You breathe history and you think that is the way the book will go. But with a pinprick in form of an outburst of Edric's supernatural power she gives you a first hint that this is much more than pure historical fiction. The arrival of crusaders on board of Venetian warships set a wheel in motion which gives way to a story that will take you above the abyss of time and leaves you in waiting mode for the next book. You may miss information about time travel. That is a conscious decision. Any word more about it would give away a lot of the story. I confirm there is time travel and it is important for the story.


Plot

One could say that the title of the book - Varangian: The Stone of Babylon - is the most condensed summary of the book. But a stone does not live. All the things inside, around and connected to the stone comes alive in the connection between Edric and the stone. The story starts with a classical prologue which is short and mysterious. Then follows a breathtaking adventure which is best described with a roller coaster ride. The end of Varangian: The Stone of Babylon is a cliffhanger conclusion. That means Edric finished a part of his adventure but there is much more to come.


Character(s)

Edric, the intelligent, powerful, honest, sometimes naive, shy and stubborn man is a very dominating character who gives the people surrounding him (it does not matter to which party they belong) enough room to breathe and to develop their personalities. The intensity of characterization of other persons depends on their importance for Edric and the story. There are some characters where I would like to get more information. But I try to keep in mind that this is the first book in a series.
Edric is far beyond to be a macho. He likes women but loves only a few. He is afraid to be emotionally hurt. When he loves then his love is unconditionally. Edric belongs to the kind of people who wear their heart on their sleeves.


Style

The writing inhabits a certain ease and fits always to the situation. I like the pace and the rhythm a lot which ships you around any possible bumpiness without problems.
Don't be surprised when you breathe heavier when action takes part. Don't forget to wear sunglasses in case nobody should see your tears while reading the heartbreaking scenes. And once a while glows humor.


The Inevitable

Varangian: The Stone of Babylon is an absolutely great blend of history, fantasy, superpowers and time travel which blossoms in an adventurous roller coaster ride of a story starring Edric who is fascinating character because he is intelligent, powerful, honest, sometimes naive, shy and stubborn. He belongs to the kind of characters who are always true to themselves and which you sometimes want to kiss and to slap into the face at the same time.


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