The Qwillery | category: Video Interview


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

An Interview with Ian Doescher

Tracey / Trinitytwo caught up with Ian Doescher at New York Comic Con last year. Ian is the author of the William Shakespeare's Star Wars® series, which number six volumes. In honor of the Bard, we give you an interview with Ian Doescher.

William Shakespeare's Star Wars®
Quirk Books, July 2, 2013
Hardcover and eBook, 176 pages

Return once more to a galaxy far, far away with this sublime retelling of George Lucas’s epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon. The saga of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. ’Tis a tale told by fretful droids, full of faithful Wookiees and fearstome stormtroopers, signifying...pretty much everything.

Reimagined in glorious iambic pentameter—and complete with twenty gorgeous Elizabethan illustrations--William Shakespeare’s Star Wars will astound and edify Rebels and Imperials alike. Zounds! This is the book you’re looking for.

William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back
     Star Wars® Part the Fifth
Quirk Books, March 18, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 176 pages

The saga that began with the interstellar best seller William Shakespeare’s Star Wars continues with this merry reimagining of George Lucas's enduring classic The Empire Strikes Back.

Many a fortnight have passed since the destruction of the Death Star. Young Luke Skywalker and his friends have taken refuge on the ice planet of Hoth, where the evil Darth Vader has hatched a cold-blooded plan to capture them. Only with the help of a little green Jedi Master—and a swaggering rascal named Lando Calrissian—can our heroes escape the Empire's wrath. And only then will Lord Vader learn how sharper than a tauntaun's tooth it is to have a Jedi child.

What light through Yoda's window breaks? Methinks you'll find out in the pages of The Empire Striketh Back!

William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return
     Star Wars® Part the Sixth
Quirk Books, July 1, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 176 pages

Hot on the heels of the New York Times best seller William Shakespeare’s Star Wars comes the next two installments of the original trilogy: William Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back and William Shakespeare’s The Jed Doth Return. Return to the star-crossed galaxy far, far away as the brooding young hero, a power-mad emperor, and their jesting droids match wits, struggle for power, and soliloquize in elegant and impeccable iambic pentameter.

Illustrated with beautiful black-and-white Elizabethan-style artwork, these two plays offer essential reading for all ages. Something Wookiee this way comes!

William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace
     Star Wars® Part the First
Quirk Books, April 7, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 176 pages

Join us, good gentles, for a merry reimagining of Star Wars: episode 1 as only Shakespeare could have written it. The entire saga starts here, with a thrilling tale featuring a disguised queen, a young hero, and two fearless knights facing a hidden, vengeful enemy.

’Tis a true Shakespearean drama, filled with sword fights, soliloquies, and doomed romance . . . all in glorious iambic pentameter and coupled with twenty gorgeous Elizabethan illustrations. Hold on to your midi-chlorians:
 The play’s the thing, wherein you’ll catch the rise of Anakin!

William Shakespeare’s The Clone Army Attacketh
     Star Wars® Part the Second
Quirk Books, July 7, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 176 pages

In time so long ago begins our play,
In clash-strewn galaxy far, far away.

To Shmi or not to Shmi? Torn between duty to the Jedi, attraction to Padmé, and concern for his beloved mother, yeoman Jedi Anakin Skywalker struggles to be master of his fate. The path he chooses will determine not just his own destiny, but that of the entire Republic. And thereby hangs a tale.

Alack the day! A noble lady in danger. A knight and squire in battle. And a forbidden love that’s written in the stars. Once again, the quill of William Shakespeare meets the galaxy of George Lucas in an insightful reimagining that sets the Star Wars saga on the Elizabethan stage. The characters are familiar, but the masterful meter, insightful soliloquies, and period illustrations will convince you that the Bard himself penned this epic adventure.

William Shakespeare’s Tragedy of the Sith’s Revenge
     Star Wars® Part the Third
Quirk Books, September 8, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 168 pages

The curtain rises once again on that star-crossed galaxy far, faraway—this time, to chronicle a once-heroic knight’s transformation into the darkest of villains. William Shakespeare’s Tragedy of the Sith’s Revenge is the climactic conclusion to the fall of the house of Skywalker, a collaboration between William Shakespeare and George Lucas that’s filled with masterful meter, stirring soliloquies, inside jokes, and intricate Elizabethan illustrations. You’ll fall in love with Star Wars—and Shakespeare—all over again. At the same time!

Review: City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett and Video Interview

City of Blades
Author: Robert Jackson Bennett
Series:  The Divine Cities 2
Publisher:  Broadway Books, January 26, 2016
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 496 pages
List Price:  $15.00 (print); $9.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9780553419719 (print); 9780553419726 (eBook)

A triumphant return to the world of City of Stairs.

A generation ago, the city of Voortyashtan was the stronghold of the god of war and death, the birthplace of fearsome supernatural sentinels who killed and subjugated millions.

Now, the city’s god is dead. The city itself lies in ruins. And to its new military occupiers, the once-powerful capital is a wasteland of sectarian violence and bloody uprisings.

So it makes perfect sense that General Turyin Mulaghesh— foul-mouthed hero of the battle of Bulikov, rumored war criminal, ally of an embattled Prime Minister—has been exiled there to count down the days until she can draw her pension and be forgotten.

At least, it makes the perfect cover story.

The truth is that the general has been pressed into service one last time, dispatched to investigate a discovery with the potential to change the world–or destroy it.

The trouble is that this old soldier isn’t sure she’s still got what it takes to be the hero.

Qwill's Thoughts

City of Blades is the second novel in The Divine Cities series by Robert Jackson Bennett following City of Stairs, which was my favorite novel of 2014.

General Turyin Mulaghesh is forced out of retirement and sent to Voortyashtan. If you've read City of Stairs (and you really really should) you've already met Mulaghesh. Mulaghesh is tasked with finding out what happened to a Saypuri operative who is missing though Mulaghesh's cover story has more to do with pensions than missing persons. Once there Mulaghesh finds that everything is much worse than expected. She encounters her old commander, General Lalith Biswal who is in command of Voortyashtan, and Signe Harkvaldsson, a Dreyling who is overseeing the clearing of the harbor so it can be used again and is the daughter of Sigrud (who played a pivotal role in City of Stairs). A strange substance with potential useful properties has been discovered - thinadeskite - and Mulaghesh wonders about it and whether it is divine.

Mulaghesh is fabulous and difficult. In City of Blades Bennett shares much more of her story and what she has been through that makes her who she is now. She is complex. I really love that Mulaghesh is an older woman who has literal and figurative battle scars, has the skills needed to figure out is going on and will get the job done no matter the cost to herself.

I did not have quite the same degree of wonder as first time I was introduced to the divine, the Blink, and more, but City of Blades does not disappoint in the slightest. The wealth of worldbuilding continues and the mythology of the divine Voortya is fabulous and frightening. The mystery that Mulaghesh has to solve takes many unexpected twists and turns. There is so much going on for Mulaghesh to sort through, but Bennett brings all the pieces together beautifully.

As in book 1 issues are raised about cultural and religious suppression and more, but City of Blades deals with a different divine entity - a war and death goddess and the afterlife that she had promised her followers. This is utterly fascinating.

Bennett's has created characters who are unique yet deeply relatable. There is so much emotion in City of Blades, along with action, outstanding and thoughtful worldbuilding and a great story. City of Blades is superb.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Robert at New York Comic Con 2015:


City of Stairs
The Divine Cities 1
Broadway Books, September 9, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 464 pages

An atmospheric and intrigue-filled novel of dead gods, buried histories, and a mysterious, protean city--from one of America's most acclaimed young SF writers.

The city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions—until its divine protectors were killed. Now Bulikov has become just another colonial outpost of the world's new geopolitical power, but the surreal landscape of the city itself—first shaped, now shattered, by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it—stands as a constant, haunting reminder of its former supremacy.

Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the unassuming young woman is just another junior diplomat sent by Bulikov's oppressors. Unofficially, she is one of her country's most accomplished spies, dispatched to catch a murderer. But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place may not be as dead as they seem—and that Bulikov's cruel reign may not yet be over.

Review here.

The Nightmare Collection by Mario Chiodo

Happy Halloween! Trinitytwo/Tracey interviewed master sculptor Mario Chiodo at NYCC 2015 about The Nightmare Collection which features 14 hand-crafted masks and costumes created exclusively for

Not only is NYCC a venue to see great cosplay and attend cool panels, it is a place to discover amazing artists. Mario Chiodo is the creative genius behind the fabulous Nightmare Collection, an eclectic array of monsters and mythical creatures that aren't just for Halloween. This special collection is available at I had the pleasure of interviewing Mario and he gave me some insight into what it takes to design these fantastical creatures.

The Nightmare Collection includes
Click on a title to go to that mask at They are amazing!

Guest Blog by Dana Cameron, Review of Hellbender and Video Interview - April 2, 2015

Please welcome Dana Cameron to The Qwillery. Hellbender, the 3rd Fangborn novel, was published on March 31, 2015 by 47North.

Fangborn world-building

          One of the hardest things I did when I started writing UF was realizing that I had to break away from the goal that I'd striven for all my career as an archaeologist: to keep strictly to the available data. Mind you, I'd already written six mystery novels and a short story, so you'd think writing more fiction would be a snap. It really wasn't. When Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner asked me to write a werewolf story set at the holidays, I was delighted. Then terror overtook me as I realized that the first part of my process for writing fiction was missing.
          When I went to my office, I found I had no reference books on werewolves. None on vampires either. My other fiction was either rooted in history or in my own background as an archaeologist, and I'd wanted to keep as much to realism as possible, to get the reader behind the scenes of a dig. So how could I possibly write this story? I had novels about vampires and other supernatural creatures by other authors—would I just pick one of them to imitate?
          That's when I had what a major breakthrough. I could just make up my own world. This seems laughable, but it contradicted all my training and previous work. But it was like snapping the restraining bolt off R2D2, and suddenly, you couldn't stop me. A flock of short stories followed that first one, “The Night Things Changed,” and then the novels featuring archaeologist (and Fangborn werewolf), Zoe Miller: Seven Kinds of Hell, Pack of Strays, and now Hellbender.
          I decided to turn all the usual conventions upside-down. The Fangborn were superheroes, working in secret to protect humanity. I decided that I didn't need to chuck the archaeology, in fact, I'd start looking for images or stories about shapeshifters, wolves, snakes, ravens, or eyes in folklore, art, and artifacts. In a few instances, I even incorporate other fiction about the supernatural. In my short story, “The Curious Case of Miss Amelia Vernet,” a Sherlockian pastiche with a Fangborn twist, I use lines from the Sherlock Holmes canon to create the idea that there's more going on at 221B Baker Street than meets the eye. I use historical and archaeological evidence about supernatural creatures (“vampire” burials, especially). By doing this, I am able to create a “history” for the Fangborn. Combining my fictional elements with famous stories, architecture, or objects that the reader might recognize, make the existence of the Fangborn plausible.
          It's also a lot of fun to twist history around to suit me. That's another thing I was not allowed to do as an archaeologist. Speculating with no basis in fact, creating stories just because I liked them, taking things out of context—that's the principal no-no right there. And yet, with just a bit of history, I can create my own worlds. The trick is to keep telling the truth, as accurately as possible, most of the time, so that your fiction fluidly enters the reader's mind.

Fangborn 3
47North, March 31, 2015
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 272 pages

I-Day is near at hand, and soon the Fangborn will reveal themselves to humankind. As a member of this secretive race of werewolves, vampires, and oracles, will archaeologist Zoe Miller be prepared?

Still grappling with the newfound powers she gained after opening Pandora’s box, Zoe shares the responsibility of protecting “Normal” humans. Having long preferred to keep to the shadows, she knows the pending revelation of the Fangborn will set the world on fire. With Fangborn enemies in the Order of Nicomedia forcing their hand, Zoe and her supernatural Family have no choice but to step into the spotlight. But that decision has garnered the attention of the powerful and otherworldly beings known as the Makers. They claim to have created the Fangborn—not as saviors, but as predators. And it seems they have their own plans for Zoe…and for the fate of all the Fangborn.

Filled with stunning twists, Hellbender takes the Fangborn series to a thrilling new dimension.

Qwill's Thoughts

Hellbender is the 3rd novel in the Fangborn series by Dana Cameron. The Fangborn have often planned to reveal themselves to the humans but world events have until now made the timing impossible. Now the Fangborn must reveal themselves before it is done for them in the most damaging way possible by the Order of Nicomedia.

Hellbender starts off immediately at the end of the prior novel, Pack of Strays, during a battle between the Fangborn and the Order. Zoe is once again struggling to control her powers as she gains more and more of them. The story ranges from Japan to Alaska back to Boston (with additional stops along the way).

Cameron introduces a new element to the Fangborn story - the Makers. With them comes quantum mechanics and spooky motion at a distance along with some other fun science. Zoe and her closest "Normal" human and Fangborn companions are trying to figure out who they are. Eventually Zoe takes steps to protect the Fangborn from the Order and the Makers. She has grown tremendously in her power, with a much deeper understanding of what she is capable of doing. She makes some incredibly tough decisions that affect all the Fangborn and her personally. Enemies are made and new allies acquired. Zoe is growing into her role as protector of the Fangborn. Consequently romance takes a back seat to everything going on. Zoe has more important things to deal with at the moment. However, one of things I like most about Zoe is her compassion and internal struggle to be human.

With its mixture of urban fantasy, action/adventure and science theory, Hellbender easily could be called genrebender and mindbender. I think this adds a great deal of depth to Zoe's story and that of the Fangborn without being overwhelming. I hope we've not seen the last of the scientific exploration regarding the genesis of the Fangborn. Additionally, there are several really well done action scenes and the pacing is crisp throughout.

Zoe Miller is a very compelling heroine. With its fine cast of supporting characters, tons of exciting action, and its exploration of the Fangborn origin story, Hellbender is my favorite novel in the Fangborn series.

Dana and I talk about the Fangborn series, among other things, at NYCC 2014:

About Dana Cameron

Photo by James Goodwin
Dana Cameron can't help mixing in a little history into her fiction. Drawing from her expertise in archaeology, Dana's work (including traditional mystery, noir, urban fantasy, historical fiction, and thrillers) has won multiple Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Awards and earned an Edgar Award nomination. Her third Fangborn novel, Hellbender, was published in March 2015 by 47North. Her most recent Fangborn short story is a Sherlockian pastiche, "The Curious Case of Miss Amelia Vernet.” Her story, "The Sun, The Moon, and The Stars," featuring Pam Ravenscroft from Charlaine Harris's acclaimed Sookie Stackhouse mysteries, appears in Dead But Not Forgotten: Stories from the World of Sookie Stackhouse.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~ Twitter @danacmrn


Seven Kinds of Hell
Fangborn 1
47North, March 12, 2013
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 374 pages

Archaeologist Zoe Miller has been running from a haunting secret her whole life. But when her cousin is abducted by a vicious Russian kidnapper, Zoe is left with only one option: to reveal herself.

Unknown to even her closest friends, Zoe is not entirely human. She’s a werewolf and a daughter of the “Fangborn,” a secretive race of werewolves, vampires, and oracles embroiled in an ancient war against evil.

To rescue her cousin, Zoe will be forced to renew family ties and pit her own supernatural abilities against the dark and nefarious foe. The hunt brings Zoe to the edge of her limits, and with the fate of humanity and the Fangborn in the balance, life will be decided by an artifact of world-ending power.

See Qwill's review here.

The Serpent's Tale
A Fangborn Story
47North, September 10, 2013
Kindle eBook, 40 pages

“The Serpent’s Tale” is a Fangborn story set in 13th-century England from the award-winning author of Seven Kinds of Hell.

When the villagers of Godestone report a series of bizarre and troubling events, Sir Hugo, his heavily pregnant wife, Lady Alice, and her distant kinsman Father Gilbert are honor bound to investigate, for they are “born to the Fang,” shape-shifters dedicated to fighting evil in secret.

And the events are worrying indeed—stolen farm implements, a mutilated goat, and now a missing child. Their investigation is further complicated by the arrival of Robert Fynch, who was drawn to the scene by the tales of mysterious happenings in the village. A member of the fanatical Order of Nicomedia, he is bent on tracking down and killing those “born to the Fang,” believing the shape-shifters to be demons, rather than the protectors of humanity they truly are.

Can Lady Alice, Sir Hugo, and Father Gilbert stop a murderer in their village without their true nature being discovered?

Pack of Strays
Fangborn 2
47North, April 15, 2014
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 346 pages

The second exciting novel in the Fangborn series.

Archaeologist Zoe Miller has only recently learned she is Fangborn, a secretive race of werewolves, vampires, and oracles dedicated to protecting humanity. But after she discovered and opened Pandora’s Box, the fabled item has lived up to its myth, and for Zoe and her friends, all hell has broken loose. Now she’s on a double mission: to prevent a politician from revealing the existence of the Fangborn and to foil the diabolical plans of the powerful Order of Nicomedia, a group dedicated to eradicating her kind.

But Zoe is also noticing disturbing changes in herself—new and unique abilities. Her visions are intensifying too, drawing her to faraway places to find more artifacts like the bejeweled bracelet embedded in her wrist.

In a world of dizzying shifts, who can Zoe trust? For while her former lover wants to turn her in, her former adversary seems dedicated to helping her mission succeed…

The second novel in Dana Cameron’s Fangborn series, Pack of Strays takes the fast-paced adventure of Seven Kinds of Hell to a whole new level!

See Qwill's review here.

The Curious Case of Miss Amelia Vernet
A Fangborn Story
47North, October 14, 2014
Kindle eBook, 49 pages

From the award-winning author of Seven Kinds of Hell comes an intriguing new tale that brings the supernatural thrills of the Fangborn world to Sherlock Holmes’s nineteenth-century London.

On the surface, Amelia Vernet appears to be the great detective’s quiet sixteen-year-old cousin. But her innocent exterior conceals an important fact: Amelia is a member of the Fangborn, a secret family of werewolves, vampires, and oracles sworn to protect Ordinary humans, and she uses her Fangborn werewolf gifts to help Holmes solve the curious cases that cross the doorstep of 221B Baker Street.

When the Baker Street Irregulars show up at Holmes’s residence with an unconscious boy in tow and reports of a kidnapping, the detective and Amelia spring into action—but the case quickly proves to be most perplexing indeed. And when they realize their new enemy’s terrible intentions, the pair must fight back with all their wits and strength before their lives—and those of all Fangborn—are destroyed forever.

Fangborn short stories may also be found in

"The Night Things Changed," in Wolfsbane and Mistletoe edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner (Hardcover, Ace Hardcover, October 7, 2008; Trade Paperback, Ace, November 2, 2010 );

"Swing Shift," in Crimes by Moonlight edited by Charlaine Harris (Hardcover, Berkley, April 6, 2010; Trade Paperback , Berkley, April 5, 2011);

"Love Knot," in The Wild Side edited by Mark L. Van Name (Trade Paperback, Baen, August 2, 2011; Mass Market Paperback, Baen, June 26, 2012);

"Pattern Recognition," in Murder and Mayhem in Muskego edited by John & Ruth Jordan (Trade Paperback, Down & Out Books, October 27, 2012)

"Finals," in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine (January/February 2013

"The God's Games" in Games Creatures Play edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner (Hardcover, Ace, April 1, 2014; Trade Paperback, Ace, April 7, 2015)

NYCC: Marc Evan Jackson and the Detroit Creativity Project

To kick off the posting of our many videos from New York Comic Con 2014, we are featuring an interview with Marc Evan Jackson. Marc is an Actor, Improv Comedian, Musician, Voice-Over Actor, and a Co-Founder of the Detroit Creativity Project. This Saturday, Keegan-Michael Key is hosting the 2nd Annual Detroit Party to benefit the Project.

Hosted by Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele)

Featuring: Marc Evan Jackson
(DCP co-founder, 22 Jump Street, Brooklyn 99)

Paget Brewster
(Criminal Minds, Huff, Friends)

Kumail Nanjiani
(Silicon Valley, The Meltdown, Portlandia)

Thomas Middleditch
(Silicon Valley, Splinterhead)

Allee Willis
(Grammy Award-winning songwriter for the “Beverly Hills Cop” soundtrack, & nominated for “Friends” theme song “I’ll Be There for You”, Artist, Author, & Director)

Benmont Tench
(Founding member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers)

And performances by
Sara Watkins
(Watkins Family Hour)

Martin Starr
(Freaks & Geeks, Party Down, Silicon Valley)
with Common Rotation

and more!
Proceeds will provide arts education for Detroit kids.

Tickets may be purchased here. And if you can't attend the Detroit Party,
you may make a donation to the Detroit Creativity Project here.

Marc Evan Jackson
Actor, Improv Comedian, Musician,
Voice-Over Actor, & Co-founder of

Hailing from Amherst, New York, MARC EVAN JACKSON is an enormously interesting person. After graduating with a degree in Philosophy from Calvin College and a couple years sailing aboard schooners in Maine, Marc worked as an on-air host for National Public Radio affiliate stations in Michigan before joining the Second City's resident company in Detroit as Musical Director and Stage Actor before moving to The Second City in Hollywood as Improv Instructor /Director.

Marc voiced the title character in the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Award-winning “Brick Novax’s Diary” and acted in 2013 Sundance Film Festival Official Selection Film, “Toy’s House” along-side Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, & Megan Mullally. Now titled, “The Kings of Summer”, this film was released in 2013. Marc also appeared in the 2014 audience favorite, “22 Jump Street”.

He also plays “Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars” (a sci-fi western set in Mars) in the nationally acclaimed old-time radio show “The Thrilling Adventure Hour” which is a stage production performed monthly at Largo at the Coronet in Hollywood, CA. The Thrilling Adventure Hour is also syndicated in a weekly podcast on iTunes via the Nerdist Network

Film and television credits include: “Parks & Rec”, “Brooklyn Nine Nine”, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”, Broken Lizard’s “The Slammin’ Salmon,” ”Funny or Die Presents” on HBO, “Psych” on the USA Network, “Last Comic Standing” “Key&Peele,” and “Reno 911!” on Comedy Central, “Happy Endings” and “According to Jim” on ABC, “Scare Tactics” on NBC/Universal’s SyFy Channel, and many others.

Marc Evan Jackson was cast as the lead, Jim Dunnigan, in “Suit Up” produced by Fox Digital Studio in association with DIRECTTV. This digital comedy follows a crisis guru, Dunnigan, as he pilots a college athletic department on the brink. Yahoo! Screen launched this eight-episode digital series in September 2012 and CRACKLE in November 2012. Since January 2013, “Suit Up” has been broadcasted on DIRECTV’s Audience Network. The broadcast series included bonus content, such as behind the scenes features and outtakes.

Marc, an actor, improviser, musician, writer and voice-over talent, lives in Los Angeles with his (current) wife Beth, a cat veterinarian.

An Interview with Ian DoescherReview: City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett and Video InterviewThe Nightmare Collection by Mario ChiodoGuest Blog by Dana Cameron, Review of Hellbender and Video Interview - April 2, 2015Review: The Forgotten by Bishop O'Connell, Video Interview and GiveawayInterview with Amber Benson at NYCC 2014 & Giveaway - January 5, 2015NYCC: Marc Evan Jackson and the Detroit Creativity ProjectRWBY - Interview with Miles Luna and Kerry Shawcross from Rooster Teeth (also giveaways) - 11/12/13

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