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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo, Mr Bond!
For any Bond afficionado this novel is a 'must read'. Fleming's descriptive knack with very few words is underestimated. The golf game is a masterpiece of its kind, breaking up the technicalities of the sport with an evocation of beautiful, peaceful England in high summer as a backdrop to the deadly intent of the game being played out against lengthening, afternoon...
Published on 28 July 2008 by Sonia Carey

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Two Sided Coin
Lets face it Bond is a git. Ruthless with everyone, he treats women with disdain & for the most part as `objects'. He at least accepts them as human which he rarely does with foreigners whom he often describes in animalistic terms.
Flemings own views? No idea really but it is quite possible seeing as how that's the way many who lived 50 years ago felt.
So do we...
Published on 31 Oct. 2012 by Amazon Customer


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo, Mr Bond!, 28 July 2008
For any Bond afficionado this novel is a 'must read'. Fleming's descriptive knack with very few words is underestimated. The golf game is a masterpiece of its kind, breaking up the technicalities of the sport with an evocation of beautiful, peaceful England in high summer as a backdrop to the deadly intent of the game being played out against lengthening, afternoon shadows. There is plenty of depth to the plot and the background story of gold, delivered to Bond by Colonel Smithers of the Bank of England, is interesting in itself, particularly when viewed in comparison to today's money markets. The revelation that Goldfinger is not just an obsessive meglomaniac but also in thrall to the Russians is a masterly detail that gives real substance to the cold-war ploy to rob Fort Knox. The gangsters necessary for Goldfinger's purposes are deployed with a light, almost amusing, touch but none of the heroines have much empathetic appeal, not even the fabulously named Pussy Galore. The Masterton sisters are very one-dimensional. Jill is only there, really, to kickstart the second part of the story and, although Fleming tries to make Tilly interesting with her lesbianism, she comes across instead as 'neither flesh nor good, red herring'. In fairness, this is how Bond sees her when he deliberates patronisingly over her mixed up hormones. There are remarks about Japs and Koreans that would never make it into print today, but the joy of Bond is that he is so much a product of the 1940s and '50s, forever politically incorrect. I know many people love the films, but for me the books are incomparably better.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Up to the usual Bond series standard, 1 Mar. 2008
The seventh (1959) instalment in the Bond series is up to the usual high standard (only Diamonds are Forever has disappointed so far), and is another fine adventure story. Goldfinger's focus on mind games rather than physical adventure is more From Russia With Love than Live and Let Die, Moonraker or Dr No, but Goldfinger is a little more fast-paced than From Russia With Love, and simpler in structure. The focus is on Bond all the way. In Casino Royal Fleming manages to make a game of cards very interesting, even for the non-card player. He pulls off a similar trick here with an 18-hole round of golf.

The male chauvinism, of course is in there. When Bond first meets Tilly Masterton, "Their eyes met and exchanged a flurry of masculine/feminine master/slave signals" (pg 149). On page 222 Bond laments "giving the votes to women" and argues that, as a rsult, "feminine qualities were dying out and being transferred to males", making "panises" out of both sexes, who are "not yet comletely homosexual" but are "confused" - what a theory! As in the film, Pussy Galore changes her sexual orientation when she meets Bond. The book, however, delves into the causes of her lesbianism (and, by extension, the cause of lesbianism in general in the Fleming world picture) - it stems from chillhood sexual abuse.

There is also the usual racial superiority - there is some shocking prejudice against the Koreans (of which race Oddjob is a member). At one point, Goldfinger explains to Bond how he supplies his Korean workforce with "street women" from London: "The women are not much to look at, but they are white and that is all the Koreans ask - to submit the white race to the grossest indignaties" (pg 129). Later, Bond has a desire "to put Oddjob and any other Korean firmly in his place, which, in Bond's estimation, was rather lower than apes in the mammalian hierarchy" (pg 181). These are just two examples: there is plenty more of this stuff in the book.

Because these words and thoughts are attributed to both Bond and Goldfinger, you get the impression that the prejudice doe come from Fleming himself rather than just his characters. But you have to remember the period in which these books were written, and not take this stuff too seriously.

The famous 1965 film follows the book quite closely. All the memorable characters and set pieces are there: Bond sniffing out Goldfinger's method of cheating at cards, the rigged game of golf, Bond pinned down on a table with a laser/circular saw threatening to cut him in half (the classic lines from the film - "Do you expect me to talk?" "No, Mr Bond, I expect you to die") are not in the book, sadly), Pussy Galore and her team of lesbians, Oddjob and his bowler hat, and the heist on Fort Knox. However, in the book (and rather less ingeniously than in the film) Goldfinger does intend simply to rob Fort Knox rather than irradiate its gold.

Disappointingly, the last third of the book lacks suspense and drags a little.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Even I am not capable of that, Mr Bond, 12 Sept. 2013
Bond's seventh outing under the pen of Ian Fleming. I have been reading the Bond books in order and have to say that with each novel they just keep getting better.

As with the film Bond is pitted against Auric Goldfinger and his personal assistant Oddjob. So many reviewers here seem to give away the plot twists that make the book different from the film, so I won't go into any plot detail. Suffice to say that there is enough of a difference to allow the reader a few oohs and aahs as they follow Bond on his journey.

Fleming (in more than any of the previous novels) allows us into the thoughts and feelings of Bond on various subjects - or are they Flemings?....

Views on Koreans, Homosexuals and short men are expressed. But any reader should place the book in the context of the time that it was written. Too many people seem to give a book a negative review because it fails to meet todays PC attitudes.

As usual with Fleming excellent descriptions of people and places are included that allows the reader to really get involved. The only reason that I have given the book 4 stars instead of 5 is the whole chapter dedicated to an almost shot by shot narrative of the golf game got a little weary.

As any fans of the film will tell you the most iconic shot is Bond spread-eagled under the laser beam. And the immortal 'Do you expect me to talk Goldfinger....' replied with 'No Mr Bond, I expect you to die!' The book in my opinion far exceeds this dialogue, and is replaced by these words:

Bond:"Then you can go and f*** yourself" Goldfinger: "Even I am not capable of that, Mr Bond")

Pure brilliance.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting to compare with the film, 15 Nov. 2012
By 
hfffoman (Kent) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Goldfinger (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Watching old James Bond films takes you back in time but the books feel even more dated. James Bond's comments about Koreans being apes, and lesbians having mixed up hormones caused by 50 years of emancipation, will take your breath away. Look at this extraordinary conversation between Bond and Goldfinger:

"I was very impressed by that chauffeur of yours. Where did he learn that fantastic combat stuff?

...Have you ever heard of Karate? No? Well that man is one of the three in the world who have achieved the black belt in karate. Karate is a branch of judo..."

The golf match between Bond and Goldfinger contains so much golf detail, it takes more than half an hour of narration, including Bond's agonizing over whether to cheat. I normally find anything to do with golf excruciatingly boring but I have to admit that this detail created a realistic feel.

I found it interesting to see how the tongue in cheek, witty film compares with its source, a book that takes its absurd story seriously. You have to keep reminding yourself that crazy villains trying to take over the world from subterranean superbases were a new idea in Fleming's day. The concept simply didn't exist in the popular imagination as it does now. Fleming's original readers didn't half-laugh, as we do at the films, they were supposed to take the books seriously, to be impressed by the power and technology, appalled at the villainy. The Bond that emerges is more of a real human than the film character. He has fears and insecurities, curses his mistakes and worries about pain and defeat.

I have several of this set. My favourite was On Her Majesty's secret Service. (I reviewed it separately so won't go on about it here except to say that I found David Tenant the best of the readers.) Hugh Bonneville's reading is also good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Book Mr Fleming., 12 Nov. 2012
By 
Glenn Cook (South Cave, near Hull UK) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Goldfinger (Audio CD)
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Note this is a review of the Unabridged Audio Version read by Huge Bonneville

The original book Goldfinger was published in 1959 and was the seventh appearance of Bond. The book is of its time.
Now I had better explain that.

The world and its attitudes were altogether different from the world of today.
Make no mistakes Bond is very much a man of that time with his attitude to Lesbians and Koreans!
The big impression is that Flemings Bond is a Sexist and racist.
Once you get over that startling conclusion you are left with the book/

The reader or should that be listener in this case needs to take that into consideration - the book is a lot different to the abridged nature of the film.

This CD unabridged version is very long at 8 CDs length but it is a very entertaining 8 CDs.
The reader is Hugh Bonneville now perhaps better know for his portrayal of Lord Grantham in the televison series Downtown Abbey.
He is a good and entertaining reader and has done a good job.
He has good pace, characterises well and is an enjoable narrator.

Back to the
The book may be broken down into 3 phases.
Bond meets Goldfinger by accident. Bond is requested to find out how Goldfinger manages to cheat at cards. Bond investigates and in the subsequent game of golf they he turns the tables on Auric Goldfinger.
Later Bond meets Goldfinger who it turns out makes his money moving gold around the world.
he is accepted in Goldfingers world and invited to his house.
Goldfinger has the usual cast of flunkies including Oddjob the dog eating Korean- yes I kid you not!
And Pussy Galore who turns out to be a Lesbian.
But Bond soon cures her of that the old fashioned way! (Yes it is that clichéd)
The set has s an interesting interview with Bonneville and this really explains some of the - well what's the word? - peculiarities of Bond and his views?
that even Bonneville found unexpted.

This is my third in the series and I must admit I am enjoying the ride.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Dr No (Unabridged)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Two Sided Coin, 31 Oct. 2012
By 
Amazon Customer "Boo62" (Ilkeston Derbyshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Goldfinger (Audio CD)
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Lets face it Bond is a git. Ruthless with everyone, he treats women with disdain & for the most part as `objects'. He at least accepts them as human which he rarely does with foreigners whom he often describes in animalistic terms.
Flemings own views? No idea really but it is quite possible seeing as how that's the way many who lived 50 years ago felt.
So do we throw out every non-PC work as being unacceptable? Nope, we make our own minds up about whether to read, watch or listen. This book is not propaganda it's fiction & was simply meant to be read as such.

Bond is in a reflective mood in `Goldfinger'. His latest kill has triggered some ennui & he feels tired of it all. Looking to get away from his job for a day or two he accepts a `private' job for a millionaire who feels he's being cheated at cards & wants Bond to investigate. The cheater is none other than Arch villain Auric Goldfinger himself. Every bit as ruthless as Bond & absolutely potty about Gold. a long game of cat & mouse is played out all the way to a well plotted denouement at the US gold reserves in Fort Knox.
This is nothing like the action packed shoot `em up the film was. Far more intrigue & plotting than outright fisticuffs.
The best moments are to be found in Bonds reflection upon himself & what's going on around him. Once he begins to interact with other characters he becomes the rather unlikeable bigot other reviewers have pointed to.
Flemings strengths are his descriptive powers & eye for detail. He paints a picture of his day with precision & flair. The action when it arrives is taught & without emotion. The scope of his imagination is pretty wide to & allows for some OTT moments. His narration is great but where he falls down is often in voicing his characters who can sound too much of their era.

Hugh Bonneville reads superbly well. The crisp & almost clinical detailing suits his voice & although his accents vary in ability he keeps them low key and they don't intrude. His pacing & diction are excellent and for my money he makes for one of the best readers in this series.

While the unabridged versions are great I do wonder if abridged versions with tighter storylines and some careful editing may not have been an extra option? Costs I suppose & those who would cry `foul' but it would reduce the daunting task of an 8 hour listen.

Still, this represents good value for money & is nicely presented.
PC it ain't & if that is likely to bother you then maybe a look elsewhere would be better. If you can ignore the social mores of it's day that society no longer accepts then this make for an interesting tale in the Bond catalogue. Not the greatest but worth a listen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Goldfinger: Ian Fleming - No Mr. Bond, I expect you to be entertained..., 23 Oct. 2012
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Goldfinger is the seventh appearance in print for Ian Fleming's James Bond. Originally published in 1959 it sees our hero on the trail of the eponymous villain, their first meeting through happenstance, then coincidence, and their final encounter the result of enemy action, as Bond comes to realise there is a lot more to a man that he thinks of at first as a simple card cheat.

This is a tense and highly entertaining thriller from Fleming, quite gripping. It marks a bit of a change in Bond, which finds him philosophically ruminating on life and death in the opening passages, in which he runs over a recent mission in his mind. This is one of the best openings for any of the books since Casino Royale, with Fleming tingeing it with an almost poetical feel as Bond reflects on the things he has had to do. This segues into a fascinating sequence in which Bond is called in by an old acquaintance to investigate a suspected card cheat. A chain of coincidence leads to a chase across France and Switzerland and finally a show down in Fort Knox.

I love this book for so many reasons. Firstly is the characterisation. Bond is no mere hero, he has his doubts and frailties that make him a very human construct. Fleming really manages to get across a lot of Bond's character in this book. Then there's the villain. Goldfinger is not as physically grotesque as previous villains, he seems to be a fairly normal person to look at who just happens to have a monomania for gold and an absolute genius for obtaining it by fair means or foul. It is his character that makes him an ogre, not his appearance. And plenty of time is devoted to exploring the man, making him one of the best realised Bond villains on paper. The second reason I love this is Fleming's flair for setting atmosphere. On the all important chase over a couple of days through Europe you really feel as though you are in the passenger seat of the DB3, you can almost smell the air and taste the food. This carries right through the book, and is one of Fleming's greatest assets as a writer. The third reason is the gripping story. It's more of a detective story than an action packed adventure, with the two men crossing metaphorical swords over card tables and golf courses before getting to the grand finale, where suddenly the action picks up for the last segment of the book for a thrilling climax.

Having said all that, it's not a book without its problems, especially for the modern reader. Some of Fleming's attitudes towards Koreans and lesbians are very much of their time, and today might cause at least a raised eyebrow, if not outright offence. A prime example here is his characterisation of Pussy Galore and her reasons for coming onto Bond's side, which I always find a bit difficult to swallow. Actually, surprisingly for Fleming, her back story is rather cursorily dealt with in what seems like a rushed addendum at the end of the book, and as a result her character is rather weak when compared to all the other well realised people in the book. However the biggest problem for me is the lengthy description of the golf game - it's all very tense and atmospheric, you can almost feel the sweat running down your own neck as Bond concentrates on the game, but Fleming assumes a prior knowledge of the game on the part of the reader, and as such I have no idea of the what he is talking about when he goes into the technical detail in this section. It does drag the book down a little for me. Still, the rest of it is excellent, and allowing for the prevailing attitudes of the day I have to give this 5 stars as it is an enthralling and entertaining read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Goldfinger: Ian Fleming, unabridged reading by Hugh Bonneville - No Mr. Bond, I expect you to be entertained..., 19 Oct. 2012
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Goldfinger (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This review is specific to the unabridged audio reading of Goldfinger by Hugh Bonneville. It contains some plot spoilers.

Goldfinger is the seventh appearance in print for Ian Fleming's James Bond. Originally published in 1959 it sees our hero on the trail of the eponymous villain, their first meeting through happenstance, then coincidence, and their final encounter the result of enemy action, as Bond comes to realise there is a lot more to a man that he thinks of at first as a simple card cheat.

This is a tense and highly entertaining thriller from Fleming, quite gripping. It marks a bit of a change in Bond, which finds him philosophically ruminating on life and death in the opening passages, in which he runs over a recent mission in his mind. This is one of the best openings for any of the books since Casino Royale, with Fleming tingeing it with an almost poetical feel as Bond reflects on the things he has had to do. This segues into a fascinating sequence in which Bond is called in by an old acquaintance to investigate a suspected card cheat. A chain of coincidence leads to a chase across France and Switzerland and finally a show down in Fort Knox.

I love this book for so many reasons. Firstly is the characterisation. Bond is no mere hero, he has his doubts and frailties that make him a very human construct. Fleming really manages to get across a lot of Bond's character in this book. Then there's the villain. Goldfinger is not as physically grotesque as previous villains, he seems to be a fairly normal person to look at who just happens to have a monomania for gold and an absolute genius for obtaining it by fair means or foul. It is his character that makes him an ogre, not his appearance. And plenty of time is devoted to exploring the man, making him one of the best realised Bond villains on paper. The second reason I love this is Fleming's flair for setting atmosphere. On the all important chase over a couple of days through Europe you really feel as though you are in the passenger seat of the DB3, you can almost smell the air and taste the food. This carries right through the book, and is one of Fleming's greatest assets as a writer. The third reason is the gripping story. It's more of a detective story than an action packed adventure, with the two men crossing metaphorical swords over card tables and golf courses before getting to the grand finale, where suddenly the action picks up for the last segment of the book for a thrilling climax.

Having said all that, it's not a book without its problems, especially for the modern reader. Some of Fleming's attitudes towards Koreans and lesbians are very much of their time, and today might cause at least a raised eyebrow, if not outright offence. A prime example here is his characterisation of Pussy Galore and her reasons for coming onto Bond's side, which I always find a bit difficult to swallow. Actually, surprisingly for Fleming, her back story is rather cursorily dealt with in what seems like a rushed addendum at the end of the book, and as a result her character is rather weak when compared to all the other well realised people in the book. However the biggest problem for me is the lengthy description of the golf game - it's all very tense and atmospheric, you can almost feel the sweat running down your own neck as Bond concentrates on the game, but Fleming assumes a prior knowledge of the game on the part of the reader, and as such I have no idea of the what he is talking about when he goes into the technical detail in this section. It does drag the book down a little for me. Still, the rest of it is excellent, and allowing for the prevailing attitudes of the day I have to give this 5 stars as it is an enthralling and entertaining read.

The audio recording from Hugh Bonneville is pretty darned good, getting across the atmosphere and tenseness of the book in a quite thrilling and gripping manner. Bonneville's vocal characterisations for all the characters are pretty distinctive, making it easy to follow. His reading really conveys the tenseness, the drama and the excitement of the piece. It's about 8 hours long on 8 CDs, collected into a spindle case. I have a few of these audio reading in this range, and they look quite handsome all lined up on the shelf. My only gripe with the series is that the two collections of short stories, For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy, have not been included in the series. There is a short interview with Bonneville at the end of the eighth disc regarding his thoughts on the book and its themes. All in all a 5 star production of a 5 star book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent release in the series, 18 Oct. 2012
By 
S. Lindgren - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Goldfinger (Audio CD)
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Goldfinger is probably the best known of all Fleming's Bond stories, and here we have the complete book, unabridged, spread across 8 CDs and read, rather well, by Hugh Bonneville.

It is not my favourite Bond novel -Casino Royale and the oft-forgotten Man with the Golden Gun are my pick, along with the two volumes of short stories- but it's still a good adventure story, with gloriously caricatured figures and sharply observed details. If you are only used to the films, the novels and their comparative lack of gadgets and sometimes slow pacing may come as a shock -personally I prefer that, but to each their own. Just something to be aware of when making a decision whether or not to buy. Likewise, if you have read some of the books and don't care for the books, an audio book version isn't likely to change your mind, other than perhaps helping give a better feel of the atmosphere.

As with the other readings in the series, this is a straight audio book, without any additional frippery, effects, music or other distractions. Hugo Bonneville's pacing is excellent, as you would expect, and he never gets in the way of the text, giving a good feel of the atmosphere Fleming was trying to create. The packaging is solid, but as in the other releases, the discs are held on a single central clip, which is something I dislike: the discs can bend significantly when being extracted, and it hampers swift access. Given the price though, this is not a major objection.

Overall, well worth a purchase if you like Fleming's novels and want an audiobook version of Goldfinger.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The name's Bonneville, Hugh Bonneville, 24 Sept. 2012
By 
R. C. McGinlay (Ilford, Essex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Goldfinger (Audio CD)
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I'm picturing the scene as Hugh Bonneville walks into the recording studio for AudioGO. "Do you expect me to talk?" "No, Mr Bonneville, we expect you to... er, no, hang on a minute... Yes, Mr Bonneville, we do expect you to talk - for 8 hours and 45 minutes!"

The above reference to the movie version of "Goldfinger" might seem inappropriate in a review of the audio book, but actually this is a good place to start if you are more familiar with the films than with Ian Fleming's novels. Many of the same beats are present in both versions, including an opening sequence in which Bond blows up a building and then kills a man (though not with an electric fire), and the agent's three encounters with Auric Goldfinger: cheating at cards, cheating at golf, and masterminding Operation Grand Slam.

The tone, however, is quite different. Here Pussy Galore is explicitly a lesbian - who is, rather patronisingly by today's standards, "cured" by 007's manhood. In his favour, though, the author paints Bond as a complex and conflicted character, attracted yet repulsed by the excesses of wealth, and his reflections on death in the opening chapter are really quite lyrical.

The novel is a compelling read - or listen - though it is rather implausible, especially towards the end. The book has the unique and dubious distinction of being more implausible than the movie version. The latter overcomes the coincidental nature of Bond's initial encounter with the villain (there's no happenstance or coincidence, it's all enemy action) and highlights the impracticality of robbing Fort Knox. That's not a spoiler, by the way - Fort Knox is mentioned on the back cover blurb.

Hugh Bonneville (star of "Downton Abbey" and "Twenty Twelve", though he also had a bit part in "Tomorrow Never Dies", so that's all good) has suitable vocal qualities for this unabridged reading: cultured but with a hard edge. He seems to relish Fleming's meaty prose, really getting his teeth into it, especially Bond's inner musings. It is strange to hear him doing other accents, principally American ones, but you quickly get used to it - and he clearly loves delivering Pussy's Southern drawl!

So that's all good... good as gold, in fact.
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