An Oath of Dogs
Kate Standish has been on Huginn less than a week and she s already pretty sure her new company murdered her boss. But extractions corporations dominate the communities of the forest world, and few are willing to threaten their meal tickets to look too closely at corporate misbehaviour. The little town of mill workers and farmers is more worried about the threat of eco-terrorism and a series of attacks by the bizarre, sentient dogs of this planet, than a death most people would like to believe is an accident. When Standish connects a secret chemical test site to a nearly forgotten disaster in Huginn s history, she reveals a conspiracy that threatens Standish and everyone she s come to care about."

An Oath of Dogs Details

TitleAn Oath of Dogs
Author
FormatMass Market Paperback
ReleaseJul 4th, 2017
PublisherAngry Robot
ISBN0857666673
ISBN-139780857666673
Number of pages432 pages
Rating
GenreScience Fiction, Fantasy, Fiction, Animals, Adult Fiction, Adult, Speculative Fiction, Science Fiction Fantasy

An Oath of Dogs Review

  • Sarah
    June 21, 2017
    Review originally written for my blogI received this as an e-Arc from the publisher as I'm a big fan of Angry Robot and as soon as I saw the cover for this, I just had to read it. It's a sci-fi novel set on the planet Huginn which is earth-like but with very different native flora and fauna. Kate arrives to find her boss dead and so she slowly tries to figure out what happened as she learns more about the society which compromises mill workers and a group of religious people called Believers.Kat Review originally written for my blogI received this as an e-Arc from the publisher as I'm a big fan of Angry Robot and as soon as I saw the cover for this, I just had to read it. It's a sci-fi novel set on the planet Huginn which is earth-like but with very different native flora and fauna. Kate arrives to find her boss dead and so she slowly tries to figure out what happened as she learns more about the society which compromises mill workers and a group of religious people called Believers.Kate's story is also interspersed with entries from the diary of one of the Believers back when they first settled on the planet and these are very fascinating as one aspect of Sci-Fi that I love is the early settler period where they are discovering all the differences from earth and trying to figure out how to make a living on the planet.The characters are all fantastic and I just adore Kate. She has a service dog, Hattie, who is by far one of my favourite characters because I adore dogs. I'm breaking my no-spoilers policy here to mention that Hattie does not die. I spent a lot of the book worrying about that and I would have enjoyed it much more if I'd known that going in, and I also know that some people might not want to read it unless they had that guarantee so don't worry - the dog lives! The other characters are all very interesting too and the Believers in particular are very interesting to read about - especially as you slowly learn more of their history through the diary.I really enjoyed this novel, it's exactly the kind of Sci-Fi that I adore with strange alien biology, stories of settlers trying to make a living and it has an adorable dog in it. I would definitely recommend this novel to those that enjoy Sci-Fi as it's just excellent and I can't wait for it to be released to I can make my friends read it.
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  • Chessa
    May 26, 2017
    I really enjoyed this science fiction mystery! I am a sucker for stories set on alien planets, especially when the flora and fauna are part of the story. Add in a questionably ethical mega-corporation, a religious sect that helped colonize the planet, mysterious and scary feral dogs and MURDER - and you've got yourself a good story. I liked that the perspective changed - seeing both out of biologist Peter Bajowski's eyes and that of newly-emigrated communications manager Kate Standish (who has a I really enjoyed this science fiction mystery! I am a sucker for stories set on alien planets, especially when the flora and fauna are part of the story. Add in a questionably ethical mega-corporation, a religious sect that helped colonize the planet, mysterious and scary feral dogs and MURDER - and you've got yourself a good story. I liked that the perspective changed - seeing both out of biologist Peter Bajowski's eyes and that of newly-emigrated communications manager Kate Standish (who has a therapy dog companion, Hattie) made the story more interesting. But maybe the most interesting were the diary excerpts from the Believer woman who was part of first human convoy to the moon of Huginn. These slowly reveal the creepy story that is in the background of all the action taking place.If you like Sheri S. Tepper, the later books in the Ender series by Orson Scott Card or even the movie Avatar, you should definitely give this book a try.Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.
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  • Clair
    May 18, 2017
    An Oath of Dogs is a wonderfully unusual sci-fi thriller that fuels your imagination. Kate Standish arrives on Hugin and discovers a town threatened by eco-terroism, killer sentient dogs and suspects her old boss has been murdered by the corporation she works for. I loved the world building, the unusual biome filled with fungi and strange alien creatures and the dogs. The book had a good pace throughout to keep the pages turning as you discover more about the planet of Hugin, its inhabitants an An Oath of Dogs is a wonderfully unusual sci-fi thriller that fuels your imagination. Kate Standish arrives on Hugin and discovers a town threatened by eco-terroism, killer sentient dogs and suspects her old boss has been murdered by the corporation she works for. I loved the world building, the unusual biome filled with fungi and strange alien creatures and the dogs. The book had a good pace throughout to keep the pages turning as you discover more about the planet of Hugin, its inhabitants and the corporation Songheuser. Vivid descriptions bring the world to life. Diary excerpts from the first settlers and book passages add an additional layer of history and intrigue. The Songheuser corporation came across as a sterotypical greedy firm with no care for the destruction it causes in order for them to achieve maximum profit. But the book explores questions of how corporation, environment and government interact and what balance is right for the planet and the people on it. How humans impact on the environment and how the strange alien world effects them.The characters are an interesting mix including members of the Believers of the Word Made Flesh (a cult of New Age Mystics who focus around farming), Corporation Staff, and a whole wide range of different personalities. Peter Bajowski, an inquisitive biologist made observations of the alien species which fascinated me. But Kate Standish especially is a brilliantly thought-out character and a relatable heroine. She battles her anxiety with the help of her therapy dog as she unearths the conspiracy giving her a balance of weakness against strengths. I really liked this positive portrayal of someone battling with their mental health. I found myself cheering her on and really cared about what happened to her throughout the book. An enjoyable eco-sci-fi read I'd recommend to any one who enjoys sci-fi, biology and thrillers.I received a free copy via Netgallery in return for an honest review.
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  • Rachel
    July 30, 2017
    An Oath of Dogs and I did not get off to a good start. I thought I’d be able to get through it for Hattie (the dog sidekick), at the very least, but well …To say that I DNFed this book would be kind of inaccurate since I did made it to the end, but I’ve skimmed and skipped so much that it didn’t seem right to say I’ve read it.This book is just *bizarre*. I feel like I’m reading a weird (and bad?) horror mystery. That has dogs. In both a good way and a bad way. I realise this is going to sound li An Oath of Dogs and I did not get off to a good start. I thought I’d be able to get through it for Hattie (the dog sidekick), at the very least, but well …To say that I DNFed this book would be kind of inaccurate since I did made it to the end, but I’ve skimmed and skipped so much that it didn’t seem right to say I’ve read it.This book is just *bizarre*. I feel like I’m reading a weird (and bad?) horror mystery. That has dogs. In both a good way and a bad way. I realise this is going to sound like it makes no sense, but well … it’s hard to explain without spoilers. And I mean, I feel like the world building in this book is as good as non-existent, so it can be tough to get into the world/story when you’re just like ????(Can’t say I’m a fan of any of the characters either, to be honest.)(Except maybe Hattie. Of course.)My favourite (and probably only) thing about this book is the love that Kate has for Hattie. Everything else, sadly is just a bizarre WTF.
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  • E.
    June 5, 2017
    Wendy Wagner's writing is infused with a kindness you really won't find anywhere else (well, maybe if you've seen the Wonder Woman film, you will). You can tell from her writing that she cares about the world and humanity's place in it. Her novel provides readers with a swell science fiction mystery, on a strange new world, along with a wonderful heroine to solve it--a heroine who has a therapy dog. This is another way Wagner's work sings. Her work has heart, and maybe that's what we need most r Wendy Wagner's writing is infused with a kindness you really won't find anywhere else (well, maybe if you've seen the Wonder Woman film, you will). You can tell from her writing that she cares about the world and humanity's place in it. Her novel provides readers with a swell science fiction mystery, on a strange new world, along with a wonderful heroine to solve it--a heroine who has a therapy dog. This is another way Wagner's work sings. Her work has heart, and maybe that's what we need most right now.
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  • enricocioni
    June 4, 2017
    It's the twenty-third century, and Standish has found a new career in a new town. The new town is a moon, Huginn, and the new career consists of working as head of communication for a huge intergalactic corporation. Standish's predecessor, Duncan Chambers, was murdered. Who killed him, and why? Could it have anything to do with the 100-year-old diary Standish found hidden in his house, detailing the tribulations of Huginn's first colonists? And what about Chambers' former lover, Peter Bajowski, It's the twenty-third century, and Standish has found a new career in a new town. The new town is a moon, Huginn, and the new career consists of working as head of communication for a huge intergalactic corporation. Standish's predecessor, Duncan Chambers, was murdered. Who killed him, and why? Could it have anything to do with the 100-year-old diary Standish found hidden in his house, detailing the tribulations of Huginn's first colonists? And what about Chambers' former lover, Peter Bajowski, a biologist who many believe has ties to local eco-terrorists? In order to answer these questions, Standish will have to contend with a toxic work environment, roving packs of telepathic dogs, and space Mennonites.The pacing is perfect--particularly impressive given the book's 400+ pages--and the threat level is consistently adequate--never so low you lose interest, never so high you have to make yourself stop reading for fear of what may happen next. The world-building, too, is excellently balanced. Between the space Mennonites (or, more accurately Believers of the Word Made Flesh), telepathic dogs, and Huginn's weird flora and fauna, the book could have been cloyingly outlandish. Instead, I loved learning more and more about how all these different aspects of the moon's nature and culture fit together--each excerpt from the 100-year-old diary was a treat, each biology-heavy Bajowski chapter a gift.The characters are a nice bunch, and the two main pov characters, in particular, differ from your usual thriller protagonists: Standish herself is a no-nonsense woman with an anxiety disorder, hopelessly devoted to her big white therapy dog, Hattie, and Peter Bajowski is a bisexual Latino man, meek and nerdy but passionate about nature and doing the right thing. The supporting cast is also quite diverse, including a trans woman named Dewey. Of course, as a cis straight-ish white man, it's entirely possible I didn't pick up on problematic aspects in the way some of these characters were represented, but, for what it's worth, I couldn't detect any glaring tropes or stereotypes, and the words the author uses to talk about Standish's mental health felt like the right calibre of authentic and sympathetic. As--less seriously--did Standish's love for her dog, which, even as a crazy cat man, I found terribly endearing, and probably the main thing I'll take away from this book.My main problem with the story is that some threads are left hanging at the end. Normally I don't mind this sort of thing--I like discussing ambiguous endings with other people, and/or using my imagination and deduction skills to figure out my own explanations for the things the author left unsaid. Here, though, I found the persisting mysteries frustrating. Perhaps this is because the plot is otherwise crystal-clear, or because half the book reflects the perspective of a scientist--two things that led me to expect a satisfying explanation to everything, not just some things. Ultimately, though, this may be down to personal preference--I'd imagine many readers would be perfectly happy with the explained-to-unexplained ratio.Overall, An Oath of Dogs is a good, solid sci-fi thriller, set in an interesting world and peopled with sympathetic characters. It probably won't blow your mind, but, should you choose to read it, it'll be a charming companion for the ensuing two or three days of your life.(I was given a free copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Check out more of my reviews at https://strangebookfellowsblog.wordpr...)
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  • Sarah
    July 12, 2017
    3.75*s   An Oath of Dogs is one of those books I like to call ‘sci-fi lite’. This would be a great book to give to a reader wanting to try adult science fiction. This has just enough to feel like it fits in the SF category but so closely follows it’s characters that it’s a relatable. It follows two characters, a woman and man who get embroiled in a murder investigation that quickly spirals into something much bigger, with very intelligent dogs. Kate Standish, who goes by Standish, as she arrives 3.75*s   An Oath of Dogs is one of those books I like to call ‘sci-fi lite’. This would be a great book to give to a reader wanting to try adult science fiction. This has just enough to feel like it fits in the SF category but so closely follows it’s characters that it’s a relatable. It follows two characters, a woman and man who get embroiled in a murder investigation that quickly spirals into something much bigger, with very intelligent dogs. Kate Standish, who goes by Standish, as she arrives on the moon Huginn a forest rich world being logged by large corporation called Songheusser. She is accompanied by her support dog Hattie, who helps Kate with her agoraphobia. Peter Bajowski is a biologist already working on Huginn for Songheusser. He’s also grieving the death of an ex-lover who worked on Huginn, and who conveniently enough was going to be Kate’s supervisor.      The book opens with a hell of a chapter, I’d be impressed if someone wasn’t hooked by that brutal opening. From there we move to Standish as she wakes from cyro, and we’re shown immediately how important Hattie, and dogs, are important to the story. Interspersed between the chapters of Peter and Standish’s shenanigans we’re given quotes from a mysterious man and journal entries from the earliest days of Huginn. These entries and thoughts may not seem important to the plot at first but if you pay attention it can give you HUGE hints at where the story goes. Standish lands to find out her now former boss, Duncan, was reported ‘lost’ and believed to be dead and now she has his job, as well as his house. The reader knows, thanks to that brutal opening chapter, the truth about the man. We get to watch as Standish begins to step into the community, earn friends, and discover that maybe everything isn’t all right with Canaan Lake, her new little town. Not only is Duncan presumed dead but the townspeople are being plagued by a pack of rabid dogs. Dogs that seem intelligent and intent on digging up the dead around the town. They’ve been know to nose around houses and as you see later in the book, go after people.      Initially I didn’t care for Standish or Peter, but they grew on me. Standish is prickly and Peter is a bit of a wet rag. Throughout the story though they grew on me. Standish’s character seemed at times inconsistent but you could see what she was as prickly as she was. She was by no means a perfect woman or character. Peter was the same for me though I thought his character was more consistent through the novel. Once you figure out why he is the way he is, you can understand him. Past our two main characters, we see some great attempts at character depth on others but I’m not sure if I was fully convinced on some of them. I wanted more depth in some of those people, but I do like what we got.       Besides some what felt like inconsistent character behavior (which seemed to smooth out as the book went on) my other problem with the book was just the way it seemed to jump over things, again at the beginning. I felt like maybe things were trimmed or cut that would have filled in gaps or explained missing time. Things like jumps between when Standish is at home then at someone else’s house, staying there, then back at her own home. We can safely assume why and it might mention in passing, but it felt like something was missing in the execution of this. Past the half way mark this seemed to even out. I’m not entirely sure if this is due to the copy I had, how I read it, or the way the book actually is, but it did affect my enjoyment.      Other than that I liked a lot of things about this book. The focus on therapy animals, the neo-Mennonite community and their impact in Canaan Lake, the talk about the biology of the planet and the hints at the way it changed the people. In fact I think the book might be entirely worth a read just for the therapy dog and the unique neo-Mennonite community. Those are things I don't think that I've ever read about in a SF book. They bright a splash of depth and color that I really didn't expect, and honestly why I rated the book so highly. I loved the interplay of that community and the religion with how they settled the moon for Songheusser (not to mention the diary entries) and how that affected the story. I also just got excited everything Hattie was on the page, which was really most the pages.    I'd definitely read it again and really recommend this one for new readers of SF or for someone interested in some really unique and different elements.     Cover Thoughts: Initially I was not impressed with the cover, but once you get up on it and see the details, the line work it really pops. The meticulously hidden details are amazing, I love pieces like this. You don't realize what you're looking at unless you look deep. I highly recommend inspecting this cover closely. I'm not surprised either, browsing the artist's site, JOEY HI-FI, I can see this is something he excels at. The symmetry in it just makes me so happy, look at that bottom edge with the branches and smoke. How can that not make you happy?
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  • Lachinchon
    July 27, 2017
    Maybe I am being harsh. The book is not terrible, and the prose is respectable. It is a murder mystery set on an Earth-like moon (in a galaxy far far away). The structure of the mystery was good and might have rated four stars. There were plenty of plausible suspects with multiple motives, even if, in the end, the butler did it as usual. The world building of an alien ecosystem is where things were not up to snuff. In order for science fiction or fantasy to justify the suspension of disbelief, t Maybe I am being harsh. The book is not terrible, and the prose is respectable. It is a murder mystery set on an Earth-like moon (in a galaxy far far away). The structure of the mystery was good and might have rated four stars. There were plenty of plausible suspects with multiple motives, even if, in the end, the butler did it as usual. The world building of an alien ecosystem is where things were not up to snuff. In order for science fiction or fantasy to justify the suspension of disbelief, the foundation must have a firm footing in reality or a rational explanation of why not. In other words, those parts of the fictional world that need not conceptually differ from the reality we know and experience must be plausible. For example, if two antagonists go mano-a-mano during a spacewalk and one shoots the other with a shotgun (bear with me), there cannot be a deafening explosion; Stanley Kubrick got it right – sound does not propagate in a vacuum. This book takes place two hundred years in the future, and they are still stringing cable wire for email? This is a moon in another galaxy, covered in various plant, animal, fungal and microbial life forms, and there was no advanced research before plopping down a handful of religious expats as colonists? There is an entire colonist city over one hundred years old, and they don’t know what is in their backyard? The entire settlement project is relying on lumber company biologists – in their spare time! – to study the local ecosystem? Colonists are starving, but they haven’t looked up in the arboreal canopy or checked out the nearby lake to see if anything might be suitable for consumption?The theme of corporate greed and destruction of symbiotic ecosystems is not new, even if relevant. James Cameron might sue for plagiarism, because this is Avatar redux. An Oath of Dogs would have been a far better book, and would have more forcefully conveyed its message, if the extraterrestrial setting had been chucked. It very easily and believably could have been set in the Pacific northwest, in the damp forests of Washington State or British Columbia, in the present era. And please don’t get me started on the half-baked lycanthropy and phytoanthropy (if I can coin a term) goofiness. If morphology, both biologic and linguistic, was intended as a theme, as it surely was judging by the chapter-separating epigraphs, it was as subtle as a chainsaw cutting down a gas-filled “horsetail” tree.If I recall correctly, Ms. Wagner admitted that this was her first attempt at full scale world building. Her prose shows she has the skills to get better.
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  • Nick
    July 1, 2017
    An uplifting mix of horrifying colonist disaster, xenobiology and a good old murder mystery wrapped up in great writing, characters and a glorious cover.
  • TJ Berry
    July 23, 2017
    An Oath of Dogs is a fun science fiction murder mystery steeped in the danger of an alien world. Wendy does a great job of making Huginn feel unfamiliar and threatening, while at the same time homey and mundane. Juxtaposing a murder investigation onto this complex and scary world amplifies the power of each. I even found myself silently rooting for characters to be more careful among the local flora and fauna. I was going, "No, don't touch that! Look out!" Which is always a sign that I'm totally An Oath of Dogs is a fun science fiction murder mystery steeped in the danger of an alien world. Wendy does a great job of making Huginn feel unfamiliar and threatening, while at the same time homey and mundane. Juxtaposing a murder investigation onto this complex and scary world amplifies the power of each. I even found myself silently rooting for characters to be more careful among the local flora and fauna. I was going, "No, don't touch that! Look out!" Which is always a sign that I'm totally engrossed in the story.I love that the main character, Standish, is a tough woman with an even tougher past. Her constant companion is her therapy dog, Hattie, who is written with enough personality that she truly felt like a human character all on her own. It's important that we get a chance to see how an animal companion assists someone with mental health challenges. Representation is key.The story also broaches a thoughtful discussion about the intersection of faith and science. My only wish was for more flashbacks to Standish's accident. There were bits and pieces, but I wanted to feel like I'd lived through the terror with her to understand her current emotional reactions. But I bet that story could make a book unto itself.This is a great science fiction read. If Wendy writes a sequel, I'd be glad to hop back on a shuttle to Huginn!
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  • Susan Harlan
    July 4, 2017
    I gave been wondering what to say about this book since I finished it at 9 am this morning. (I started it just before 6 am, when I woke up.) It's difficult to describe without giving things away, so the best I could come up with is:I was reading the book, and then I thought, 'Is she going to do the thing? She wouldn't do the thing! Would she? If she does thing, I will never ever forgive her!'I read a bit more. 'Aha! I KNEW she wouldn't do the thing!'In all seriousness, I greatly enjoyed this boo I gave been wondering what to say about this book since I finished it at 9 am this morning. (I started it just before 6 am, when I woke up.) It's difficult to describe without giving things away, so the best I could come up with is:I was reading the book, and then I thought, 'Is she going to do the thing? She wouldn't do the thing! Would she? If she does thing, I will never ever forgive her!'I read a bit more. 'Aha! I KNEW she wouldn't do the thing!'In all seriousness, I greatly enjoyed this book. While I enjoy everything Wendy N. Wagner writes, this one fits my genre preference a bit better. I finished it with a tear in my eye, and a great desire to hug my dogs until they squirmed away.
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  • Cass Morrison
    July 15, 2017
    Very thought provoking story if you want it to be.Picked this up because I like dogs. But it turned into a story about capitalism, ecoterrorism and religion. Luckily it's quite a short story because you really have to read it in one sitting to get the full effect. The characters are fleshed out enough to make the reader invested in them and the effort in world building was really worth it. The overall solution was well done. Science and Mystery blend in a way that people wish religion on Earth w Very thought provoking story if you want it to be.Picked this up because I like dogs. But it turned into a story about capitalism, ecoterrorism and religion. Luckily it's quite a short story because you really have to read it in one sitting to get the full effect. The characters are fleshed out enough to make the reader invested in them and the effort in world building was really worth it. The overall solution was well done. Science and Mystery blend in a way that people wish religion on Earth worked.
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  • Nicole Jarvis
    May 12, 2017
    What a fascinating, engaging read! I absolutely loved Standish and Hattie, and there were tons of great side characters, from Olive to Dewey. The world-building was fantastic. I was thrown off a bit by how magical some of the answers were when I had expected more straightforward sci-fi, but everything worked really well in the end. This book also has a really cool structure-- the diary and book excerpts were such a fascinating way to add color and foreshadowing to the narrative. Overall, a fasci What a fascinating, engaging read! I absolutely loved Standish and Hattie, and there were tons of great side characters, from Olive to Dewey. The world-building was fantastic. I was thrown off a bit by how magical some of the answers were when I had expected more straightforward sci-fi, but everything worked really well in the end. This book also has a really cool structure-- the diary and book excerpts were such a fascinating way to add color and foreshadowing to the narrative. Overall, a fascinating, epic sci-fi read with awesome world-building, lots of dogs, and interesting characters.
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  • Allison Henle
    July 30, 2017
    The first 90% of this book is AMAZING and then the ending just sort of peters out. I'm not sure whether to hope for a sequel or not...Edited to add: the plot is fascinating and well-paced, the characters are interesting, the mystery is nicely limned by the information the main characters can access. However, the science part never gels, leaving me to label this book as more mystery-fantasy set on a distant moon, than actual science-fiction.
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  • Natalie
    July 8, 2017
    Twice today people asked me "what are you reading?" It was a lot of fun to say it's a sci-fi thing w neo-amish & zombie dogs on a moon in outer space that's a cross between the donner party, alive, and greenpeace. It's a genre mashup sorta book but a good It doesn't pack a big punch like Tristan Egolf's Kornwolf, but that's okay .
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  • Robert
    July 20, 2017
    You can find my review of An Oath of Dogs on my Science Fiction and Fantasy book blog.Verdict: It's an interesting, entertaining novel worth reading. Especially if you like dogs. Or alien frontiers.
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