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UK Books Received- 09/2010  Next Month / Last Month
In order to provide timely reviews, we prefer to receive Advance Reader Copies of books when possible. Send books to Gayle Surrette c/o SFRevu, 16440 Baden Westwood Road Brandywine, MD 20613

Abaddon Books

Twilight of Kerberos: Engines of the Apocalypse by Mike Wild (Abaddon Books 14 April 2010 / £6.99) - the database says this Abbadon release, Mike Wild's Engines of the Apocalypse was an April release, but it's only just reached us here at SFrevu towers! Not sure what that's all about - but nonetheless, Wild offers up his latest in the Twilight of Kerberos 'action all the way' sword and sorcery franchise.

"Giant dwarven sirens rise from the ground and all across Twilight, magic stops. Blamed for the emergence of these machines, Kali Hooper faces execution until a mysterious stranger offers her a deal. In order to keep her life, Kali is to help find the tyrannical head of the Final Faith, Katherine Makennon. Kali joins old enemies and unexpected allies in an epic quest that pits her against the dark machinations of the Pale Lord and reveals secrets not even she could have guessed at."

Bantam Press

The Tales of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach: v. 1 by Steven Erikson (Bantam Press 19 August 2010 / £16.99) - Steven Erikson's almost unbelievably epic Masterwork series The Malazan Books of the Fallen has been causing the shelves of reader to bow since the first one, Gardens of the Moon appeared ten years ago. Since then Erikson's steady output, both in terms of quality and regularity is a shining example of how to build a career in today's publishing world. He's a writer whose work will still be read for decades. Whilst we wait publication of The Crippled God (due in January next year) Bantam have released The Tales of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, Vol 1 - a sequence of three short novels (perhaps novellas would be a better description) originally published by PS Publishing in limited editions. Blood Follows, The Lees of Laughter's End and The Healthy Dead are here presented together for the first time in a single hardcover volume.

""Blood Follows" - In the port city of Lamentable Moll, a diabolical killer stalks the streets and panic grips the citizens like a fever. As Emancipor Reese's legendary ill luck would have it, his previous employer is the unknown killer's latest victim. But two strangers have come to town, and they have posted in Fishmonger's Round a note, reeking of death-warded magic, requesting the services of a manservant. "The Lees Of Laughter's End" - After their blissful sojourn in Lamentable Moll, the sorcerers Bauchelain and Korbal Broach - along with their manservant, Emancipor Reese - set out on the open seas aboard the sturdy ship Suncurl. Alas, there's more baggage in the hold than meets the beady eyes of the crew, and unseemly terrors awaken. For Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, and Emancipor Reese, it is just one more night on the high seas, on a journey without end. "The Healthy Dead" - The city of Quaint's zeal for goodness can be catastrophic, and no one knows this better than Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, two stalwart champions of all things bad. The homicidal necromancers - and their substance-addled manservant, Emancipor Reese - find themselves ensnared in a scheme to bring goodness into utter ruination. Sometimes you must bring down the name of civilization. "


Finch by Jeff VanderMeer (Corvus 01 August 2010 / £16.99) - Another brilliant acquisition by Corvus - Jeff Vandermeer's beautifully strange Finch receives it's British publication, having previously been available in the US via Underland Press. Nominated for the Nebula Award, Finch is described by Richard K. Morgan as "Fungal Noir. Steampunk Delirium. Paranoid spy thriller... A clear signal, if one were ever needed, that Vandermeer remains one of modern fantasy's most original and fearless pioneers."

"In Finch, mysterious underground inhabitants known as the gray caps have reconquered the failed fantasy state Ambergris and put it under martial law. They have disbanded House Hoegbotton and are controlling the human inhabitants with strange addictive drugs, internment in camps, and random acts of terror. The rebel resistance is scattered, and the gray caps are using human tabor to build two strange towers. Against this backdrop, John Finch, who lives alone with a cat and a lizard, must solve an impossible double murder for his gray cap masters while trying to make contact with the rebels. Nothing is as it seems as Finch and his disintegrating partner Wyte negotiate their way through a landscape of spies, rebels, and deception. Trapped by his job and the city, Finch is about to come face to face with a series of mysteries that will change him and Ambergris forever."


Elves: Once Walked With Gods by James Barclay (Gollancz 19 August 2010 / £12.99) - Product Description: ORCS was an international bestseller. Now acclaimed writer James Barclay tells the story of the Elves.

The Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Omnibus 1: Real Murders, A Bone to Pick, Three Bedrooms One Corpse, The Julius House (Aurora Teagarden Mystery) by Charlaine Harris (Gollancz 19 August 2010 / £18.99) - Product Description: A mystery series from the 1.5 million-selling author of the True Blood novels.

The Japanese Devil Fish Girl and Other Unnatural Attractions by Robert Rankin (Gollancz 09 September 2010 / £14.99) - The mere idea of a Rankin-style Steampunk yarn has a virtually irresistible attraction does it not? He's been around for a good long while now, ladling out his own particular brand of wonderfully silly, yet compulsively readable genre buffoonery. This new one, The Japanese Devil Fish Girl and Other Unnatural Attractions is now published by Gollancz. Robert Rankin is the stuff that cults are made of, for sure. Our correspondent Gavin Pugh gives us his view of this one elsewhere in this issue.

"The pickled Martian's tentacles are fraying at the ends and Professor Coffin's Most Meritorious Unnatural Attraction (the remains of the original alien autopsy, performed by Sir Frederick Treves at the London Hospital) is no longer drawing the crowds. It's 1895; nearly a decade since Mars invaded Earth, chronicled by H.G. Wells in THE WAR OF THE WORLDS. Wrecked Martian spaceships, back-engineered by Charles Babbage and Nikola Tesla, have carried the Queen's Own Electric Fusiliers to the red planet, and Mars is now part of the ever-expanding British Empire. The less-than-scrupulous sideshow proprietor likes Off-worlders' cash, so he needs a sensational new attraction. Word has reached him of the Japanese Devil Fish Girl; nothing quite like her has ever existed before. But Professor Coffin's quest to possess the ultimate showman's exhibit is about to cause considerable friction amongst the folk of other planets. Sufficient, in fact, to spark off Worlds War Two. " (see review)

The Ragged Man: Book Four of The Twilight Reign by Tom Lloyd (Gollancz 19 August 2010 / £12.99) - Product Description: There is a new Saviour in the Land - but the people may come to regret the 'peace' he offers...

The Thief-Taker's Apprentice by Stephen Deas (Gollancz 26 August 2010 / £9.99) - The buoyancy of the YA market remains largely unaffected by the problems seen in other areas of publishing during these tough times and this is benefiting we consumers no end. Many of our most talented and established authors are turning out works for younger readers and some genre publishers are putting together dedicated lists for works such as these. Gollancz do not have a separate imprint for this output as such, but they have published Stephen Deas's two adult fantasy novels, The Adamantine Palace and The King of Crags and now publish the Deas's new YA book The Thief-Taker's Apprentice in hardcover.

"Berren has lived in the city all his life. He has made his way as a thief, paying a little of what he earns to the Fagin like master of their band. But there is a twist to this tale of a thief. One day Berren goes to watch an execution of three thieves. He watches as the thief-taker takes his reward and decides to try and steal the prize. He fails. The young thief is taken. But the thief-taker spots something in Berren. And the boy reminds him of someone as well. Berren becomes his apprentice. And is introduced to a world of shadows, deceit and corruption behind the streets he thought he knew. Full of richly observed life in a teeming fantasy city, a hectic progression of fights, flights and fancies and charting the fall of a boy into the dark world of political plotting and murder this marks the beginning of a new fantasy series for all lovers of fantasy - from fans of Kristin Cashore to Brent Weeks. "

Harper Voyager

The Tongues of Serpents (Temeraire 6) by Naomi Novik (Harper Voyager 02 September 2010 / £17.99) - I loved Naomi Novik's debut novel Temeraire, but found the subsequent follow up works Throne of Jade and Black Powder War suffered rather from the law of diminishing returns. Her latest novel, the sixth in the sequence, The Tongue of Serpents, is now released by Voyager in hardcover and takes Lawrence and Temeraire to the Antipodes where they continue their adventures.

"Convicted of treason despite their heroic defense against Napoleon's invasion of England, Temeraire and Laurence—stripped of rank and standing—have been transported to the prison colony at New South Wales in distant Australia, where, it is hoped, they cannot further corrupt the British Aerial Corps with their dangerous notions of liberty for dragons. Temeraire and Laurence carry with them three dragon eggs intended to help establish a covert in the colony and destined to be handed over to such second-rate, undesirable officers as have been willing to accept so remote an assignment—including one former acquaintance, Captain Rankin, whose cruelty once cost a dragon its life.

Nor is this the greatest difficulty that confronts the exiled dragon and rider: Instead of leaving behind all the political entanglements and corruptions of the war, Laurence and Temeraire have instead sailed into a hornet's nest of fresh complications. For the colony at New South Wales has been thrown into turmoil after the overthrow of the military governor, one William Bligh—better known as Captain Bligh, late of HMS Bounty. Bligh wastes no time in attempting to enlist Temeraire and Laurence to restore him to office, while the upstart masters of the colony are equally determined that the new arrivals should not upset a balance of power precariously tipped in their favor.

Eager to escape this political quagmire, Laurence and Temeraire take on a mission to find a way through the forbidding Blue Mountains and into the interior of Australia. But when one of the dragon eggs is stolen from Temeraire, the surveying expedition becomes a desperate race to recover it in time—a race that leads to a shocking discovery and a dangerous new obstacle in the global war between Britain and Napoleon. "


The Fall by Guillermo del Toro (HarperCollins 16 September 2010 / £14.99) - The second collaboration between Hollywood's flavour-of-the-month director Guillermo Del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) and author Chuck Hogan and a follow-up to their acclaimed hit of last year The Strain. The Fall is out in hardcover, published by HarperCollins - this British release will precede the US edition by a month.

"Humans have been displaced at the top of the food chain, and now understand – to their outright horror – what it is to be not the consumer, but the consumed.

Ephraim Goodweather, director of the New York office of the Centers for Disease control, is one of the few humans who understands what is really happening. Vampires have arrived in New York City, and their condition is contagious. If they cannot be contained, the entire world is at risk of infection. As Eph becomes consumed with the battle against the total corruption of humanity, his ex-wife, Kelly, now a vampire herself, is ever-more determined to claim their son, Zack.

As the Biblical origins of the Ancient ones are gradually revealed, Eph learns that there is a greater, more terrible plan in store for the human race – worse even than annihilation"

Headline Review

Lost by Gregory Maguire (Headline Review 16 August 2010 / £7.99) - First published in the US back in 2001, Headline release the first UK mass market edition of Gregory Maguire's Lost. The author is, of course, best known for his interpretation of the Oz story with Wicked and the accompanying musical which continues to run all over the world.

"Winifred Rudge, a writer struggling to get beyond the runaway success of her mass-market astrology book, travels to London to start her new novel about the ghost of Jack the Ripper. Upon her arrival, she finds that her step-cousin and old friend John Comestor has disappeared, and a ghostly presence seems to have taken over his home. Is the spirit Winnie's great-great-grandfather, who, family legend claims, was Charles Dickens's childhood inspiration for Ebenezer Scrooge? Could it be the ghostly remains of Jack the Ripper? Or a phantasm derived from a more arcane and insidious origin? Winnie begins to investigate and finds herself the unwilling audience for a drama of specters and shades - some from her family's peculiar history and some from her own unvanquished past."

Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich (Headline Review 14 September 2010 / £18.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: One of the most successful and bankable names in the world of fiction she may be, but in over ten years of doing this column, this is first time I've listed anything by Janet Evanovitch! It's therefore great to be able to list Wicked Appetite, the author's latest novel and one which sees her straying very much into Urban Fantasy territory - I wonder if she'll stick around? Published this month in hardcover by Headline.

"Life is pleasantly predictable for Lizzy, until a tall, black-haired, dark eyed man shows up, touches her hand and leaves a burn mark. His name is Gerwulf Grimoire, also known as Wulf. And he wants what Lizzy has: knowledge. Almost simultaneously comes another man, a different man, but this one just as dangerous. His name is Diesel. And he wants several things Lizzy has, only one of them being knowledge.

Unbeknownst to Lizzy, she has the ability to find 'empowered objects'. A collection of stones that represent the seven deadly sins have made their way to Marblehead. If the stones are grouped together, they have the power to unleash hell on earth. Wulf wants them. Diesel wants to stop him. And Lizzy is the key to all of it.

Can Lizzy stay one step ahead of two men who both want her...both body and soul? "


Bearers of the Black Staff (Legends of Shannara) by Terry Brooks (Orbit 02 September 2010 / £18.99) - The first of two new novels in a brand new Shannara sequence by the evergreen Terry Brooks. Bearers of the Black Staff, book one of the Legends of Shannara duology is published in hard cover by Orbit.

"Five hundred years have passed since the devastating demon-led war that almost exterminated humankind. Those who escaped the carnage were led to sanctuary by the boy saviour known as Hawk: the gypsy morph. But now, the unimaginable has come to pass: the cocoon of protective magic surrounding the valley has vanished. When Sider Ament, last surviving Knight of the Word, detects unknown predators stalking the valley, and Trackers from the human village of Glensk Wood, find two of their own gruesomely killed, there can be no doubt: the once safe haven of generations has been laid bare. Together, the young Trackers, the aging Knight, and a daring Elf princess race to spread word of the encroaching danger. But suspicion and hostility among their countrymen threaten to doom their efforts from within, while beyond the breached borders, a ruthless Troll army masses for invasion. Standing firm between the two, the last wielder of the black staff and its awesome magic must find a successor to carry on the fight against the cresting new wave of evil. "

Chaosbound: A Runelords Novel by David Farland (Orbit 02 September 2010 / £8.99) - The eigth volume in David Farland's epic and popular fantasy series, The Runelords. Chaos Bound is an Orbit trade paperback release. Note that Bill Lawhorn reviewed the US release of this title back in our October 09 issue.

"The world of the Runelords is drastically changed. It has been magically combined with a parallel world, causing widespread destruction and chaos. Lands have sunk below the sea and elsewhere mountains have risen from it. Thousands have died, and humankind faces extinction. Borenson and Myrrima must journey to save their realm from total devastation, but the landscape is not all that has been altered. In the change, Borenson has merged with a monstrous creature from another world, Aaath Ulber. Not only is he transformed physically, but his behaviour also begins to evolve - he is becoming a berserker warrior. And as the dark rulers of this new world play a byzantine game of politics, this warrior is now the most significant pawn in that game."

Cold Magic (Delete (Spiritwalker)) by Kate Elliott (Orbit 02 September 2010 / £12.99) - Writing under both her real name of Alis A. Rasmussen and under the pen name of Kate Elliot, here is an author who, with around twenty published novels under her belt, is still right at the top of her game.

Cold Magic is the opener in Elliott's brand new Spiritwalker trilogy and this typically substantial and solid tome looks to be a absolute cracker - a 'fabulous fantasy adventure with a Victorian-era feel' published in trade paperback by Orbit UK. (Also published in the US by Orbit, released a week later.)

"As they approach adulthood, Cat Barahal and her cousin Bee think they understand the society they live in and their place within it. At a select academy they study new airship technologies and the dawning Industrial Revolution, but magical forces still rule. And the cousins are about to discover the full ruthlessness of this rule. Drawn into a labyrinth of politics involving blood and old feuds, Cat is betrayed by her family and forced to marry a powerful Cold Mage. As she is carried away to live a new life, fresh dangers threaten her every move and secrets form a language she cannot read. At least, not yet. But both cousins carry their own hidden gifts and these will shape great changes to come. For in the depths of this treacherous world, the Wild Hunt stirs in darkness and dragons are waking from their sleep."

Mr Shivers by Robert Jackson Bennett (Orbit 02 September 2010 / £6.99) - Robert Jackson Bennett's assured début Mr Shivers is an impressive first novel indeed. Set in the time of The Great Depression, it is a bleak revenge tragedy that drives inexorably forward through a fantastically dark and dusty landscape - think Carnivale meets The Gunslinger. Publisher Orbit clearly (and with good reason) have high hopes for Bennett, releasing it on both sides of the Atlantic first in hard cover and now in this mass market edition. We're re-running Liz de Jager's review of the original release this issue.

"It is the time of the Great Depression. The dustbowl has turned the western skies red and thousands leave their homes seeking a better life. Marcus Connelly seeks not a new life, but a death – a death for the mysterious scarred man who murdered his daughter. And soon he learns that he is not alone. Countless others have lost someone to the scarred man. They band together to track him, but as they get closer, Connelly begins to suspect that the man they are hunting is more than human. As the pursuit becomes increasingly desperate, Connelly must decide just how much he is willing to sacrifice to get his revenge." (see review)

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate) by Gail Carriger (Orbit 02 September 2010 / £7.99) - One of Orbit US's more prominant releases of last year, Gail Carriger's debut Soulless is now published by the UK operation. This particular book has been something of a talking point - combining a well-written, fun and witty genre adventure with great design and marketing, an arrival on the scene right when Steampunk books are cool and a talented, colourful and very visible author who is aware of the need to get "out there" and able to do so without being obtrusive. It's an impressive start to what will doubtless be an impressive career and one with, one hopes, impressive returns for the publisher who got this one right on so many levels. Soulless is an Orbit paperback original and is published simultaneously with the two follow books in the series, Changeless and Blameless.

"Alexia Tarabotti is labouring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette. Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire - and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate. With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Or will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart? SOULLESS is a comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking. "

The Black Prism: Lightbringer Bk. 1 (Lightbringer Trilogy) by Brent Weeks (Orbit 26 August 2010 / £12.99) - With his début series The Night Angel Trilogy being an international bestseller (helped along in large part by the canny way in which it was published by Orbit - three books in three months) author Brent Weeks became a genre superstar almost overnight in 2008. He follows up his deserved early success with The Black Prism the start of a brand new fantasy series (entitled Lightbringer) with an ingenious magic system at its heart. An Orbit hardcover and one of this year's major releases.

"Gavin Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. But Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live: Five years to achieve five impossible goals."

The Crowded Shadows: Moorehawke Trilogy, Book 2 by Celine Kiernan (Orbit 02 September 2010 / £8.99) - Originally published by the O'Brien Press in Ireland, Celine Kiernan's début fantasy series, beginning with The Poisoned Throne was snapped up by Orbit, offering Kiernan the kind of worldwide distribution and market penetration that will be the envy of other first time authors. Essentially a medieval tale of courtly intrigue, its female teenage protagonist, Wynter Moorehawke (for whom the trilogy is named) is the role model for the target demographic - interestingly publishers in other territories are selling this as YA novel. Book two The Crowded SHadows is now released this month in mass market paperback.

"Wynter Moorehawke has fled the dangers of court for bandit-infested forests, seeking exiled prince Alberon. But more than just thieves lurk in these shadows. Every tyrant and zealot who has ever threatened the kingdom is sending emissaries to meet Alberon, whose motivations seem unclear. Razi and Christopher had also set out to track Alberon, and find Wynter as enemies close in. With a savage wolf clan on their heels, they must seek sanctuary with the nomadic Merron. But this leaves them enmeshed in a net of sinister black magics and forbidden ritual. Their safety and the kingdom's future will depend on a web of alliances and hostilities. And Alberon and his war machine sit at its heart."

Piatkus Paperback

Cursed: A Werewolf'sTale by David Wellington (Piatkus Paperback 02 September 2010 / £7.99) - Originally published in the US by Three Rivers Press under the title Frostbite, David Wellington's chilling (no pun intended) werewolf tale hits UK bookstores as Cursed - a Piatkus paperback orignal. Wellington is the author of the Laura Caxton vampire series (13 Bullets, 99 Coffins, Vampire Zero) and the Monster Island trilogy (Monster Island, Monster Nation, and Monster Planet).

"Cheyenne Clark is lost in a desolate forest north of the Arctic Circle. There isn't another human being in five hundred miles—but she is not alone. When she's attacked by a vicious werewolf, she'll learn that dying of exposure far from home isn't the worst thing that could have happened."


Boxer, Beetle by Ned Beauman (Sceptre 05 August 2010 / £12.99) - Product Description: Action and misadventure in a novel about control that is fizzing with ideas.


Century of the Soldier (Monarchies of God) by Paul Kearney (Solaris 02 September 2010 / £7.99) - It's about six years since read I and reviewed Paul Kearney's novel The Mark of Ran and sadly, it was not to my taste. However , Kearney is not an author to be dismissed by one flat book or the views of one pundit. His backlist is an impressive one and his admirers are many. It is great therefore, both for the author and us readers, that Solaris are reissuing Kearney's much admired (particularly by no lesser personage than Steven Erikson) series, Monarchies of God, first published in five volumes between 1995 and 2002. This reissue is a two set omnibus, the first of which, Hawkwood and the Kings, was published last month with the second, Century of the Soldier now also also available in a chunky mass market edition.

"THE TIME OF THE WOLF IS AT HAND... Struck down in his moment of victory, Hebrion's young King Abeleyn lies in a coma, his city in ruins and his fiancée and former lover vying for the throne. Corfe Cear-Inaf, now a colonel, is given a ragtag command of ill-equipped savages and sent on a hopeless mission by a jealous King who expects him to fail. Richard Hawkwood and Lord Murad return bearing news of horror on a savage new continent, with something terrible lurking in the hold. The Church is tearing itself apart, even as the champions of truth fight to bring peace between Ramusian and Merduk; but in the far West, a terrible new threat is rearing its head... The Century of the Soldier collects the final three books in Paul Kearney's explosive The Monarchies of God series, revised and expanded for this edition: The Iron Wars, The Second Empire and Ships From The West. "

The Usurper (King Rolen's Kin) by Rowena Cory Daniells (Solaris 02 September 2010 / £7.99) - A couple of months ago Solaris published The King's Bastard, a nicely chunky fantasy, the first in a new trilogy by Australian author Rowena Cory Daniells and promptly followed it last month with the (somewhat slimmer) second volume in The Chronicles of King Rolen's Kin, The Uncrowned King. The series wraps with The Usurper which is published this month - a Solaris paperback original. This fast roll-out did wonders for Brent Weeks. It will be interesting to see how it does for Ms Daniells.

"Now a slave, Piro finds herself in the Merofynian Palace where, if her real identity is discovered, she will be executed. Meanwhile, Fyn is desperate to help his brother, Bryen, who is now the uncrowned King. Bryen never sought power but now he finds himself at the centre of a dangerous resistance movement as the people of Rolencia flee vicious invaders. How can Byren defeat the invaders, when half his warriors are women and children, and the other half are untrained boys and old men?."


The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell (Tor 03 September 2010 / £16.99) - A much heralded lead title, from Tor UK. The Reapers are the Angels is a literary zombie novel - and I bet you never thought there could be such a thing! Alden Bell's novel is highly anticipated and even months prior to publication was receiving rave reviews. Check out what our own Liz De Jager thought elsewhere in this issue.

" God is a slick god. Temple knows. She knows because of all the crackerjack miracles still to be seen on this ruined globe...

Older than her years and completely alone, Temple is just trying to live one day at a time in a post-apocalyptic world, where the undead roam endlessly, and the remnant of mankind who have survived, at times, seem to retain little humanity themselves. This is the world she was born into. Temple has known nothing else. Her journey takes her to far-flung places, to people struggling to maintain some semblance of civilization – and to those who have created a new world order for themselves.

When she comes across the helpless Maury, she attempts to set one thing right, if she can just get him back to his family in Texas then maybe it will bring redemption for some of the terrible things she's done in her past. Because Temple has had to fight to survive, has done things that she's not proud of and, along the road, she's made enemies.

Now one vengeful man is determined that, in a world gone mad, killing her is the one thing that makes sense..." (see review)

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