The Last Days of Krypton (Superman Series)

( 63 )

Overview

Finally, the epic tale that has never been told: the tragic story of the destruction of Superman's home planet.

Everyone knows how Kal-El—Superman—was sent to Earth before his planet exploded. Now Kevin J. Anderson unfolds the riveting backstory of this iconic superhero. The Last Days of Krypton is a sweeping tale of the politics and betrayals that blinded both heroes and villains to the disaster that would destroy Krypton. Bringing to life this lost world with its famous cities...

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The Last Days of Krypton (Superman Series)

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Overview

Finally, the epic tale that has never been told: the tragic story of the destruction of Superman's home planet.

Everyone knows how Kal-El—Superman—was sent to Earth before his planet exploded. Now Kevin J. Anderson unfolds the riveting backstory of this iconic superhero. The Last Days of Krypton is a sweeping tale of the politics and betrayals that blinded both heroes and villains to the disaster that would destroy Krypton. Bringing to life this lost world with its famous cities and futuristic society, Anderson offers startling new insight into familiar characters, including Superman's parents, Jor-El and Lara; his enemies, including Brainiac; and Krypton's most dangerous villain, General Zod.

Filled with adventure, intrigue, and passion, this thrilling saga adds depth and color to the legend of this classic story and is sure to be the must-have book for comic fans of all ages.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This Superman prequel is action-packed, depicting a lost world in fanatic detail…. Sci-fi of Miltonic ambition." —-Kirkus
Publishers Weekly

Leading up to Superman being jettisoned in a capsule to Earth, Anderson reveals the political and private world of Krypton as it descends into chaos and eventual destruction. Superman's father, Jor-El, strives to restore stability to the decaying planet while also dealing with the power-hungry Zod, who has seized power. Though expertly interlacing the various threads of Krypton's mythology, Anderson's novel as a whole feels more like a poor apocalyptic warning to our society mirrored by events such as a tsunami, a world leader with a propaganda machine and a pre-emptive doctrine, and a foreign assault on a Krypton cultural center. Yet Dufris makes the listening very enjoyable. His steady and nuanced narration really shines in his vocal characterizations. He embodies Jor-El in a way that matches the story's mood and reveals the inner turmoil facing the esteemed scientist thrust into the world of politics. He also deftly delivers the character of Zod, eliciting the arrogance and avarice of the aspiring dictator. Simultaneous release with Harper Entertainment hardcover (Reviews, Aug. 13). (Oct.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
Apocalypse Then. Its prose aptly-on occasion annoyingly-portentous, this Superman prequel is action-packed, depicting a lost world in fanatic detail. In pop myth, Krypton is Atlantis-all the more fascinating for its murky mystery. Anderson (Of Fire and Night, 2006, etc.) has combed decades of Clark Kent lore to craft a chronicle true to the DC Comics legend. The origin tale of Superman's home planet, however, has been sketchy, leaving Anderson a wide-screen canvas to fill. And he's a zesty painter. We get a culture groaningly Roman-crowds cheering races of hrakkas ("brawny short-legged lizards"), before repairing to indolent evenings at levitating ballets and "opera tapestries." The indolence is the rub. Because Krypton is doomed! Jor-El and Zor-El alone know this and, as the planet's scientific geniuses, they're Ayn Rand-ish titans, masterminds scorned by the herd. Most Kryptonians are carb-loaded with self-satisfaction, and like China in the Age of Magellan, the civilization has poutingly turned its back on hi-tech, beyond-its-borders exploration. As Krypton's Rao, its red sun and tutelary god, threatens to go supernova and explode, and as the planet is also threatened at its core by volcanic eruption, these superbrothers mount an against-the-odds mission to stop the crash. From here Anderson sends the plot into overdrive. He's better at conveying the pathos of this damned Eden: "To Zor-El, the impending loss of Argo City, of Krypton, made everything seem more beautiful . . . "Sci-fi of Miltonic ambition.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400155446
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2007
  • Series: Superman Series
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: MP3 - Unabridged CD
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin J. Anderson

William Dufris has been nominated nine times as a finalist for the APA's prestigious Audie Award and has garnered tweny-one Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine, which also named him one of the Best Voices at the End of the Century.

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Read an Excerpt

The Last Days of Krypton


By Kevin Anderson

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Kevin Anderson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061340741

Chapter One

The red sun of Krypton loomed in the sky, an unquiet giant. In its gaseous layers, planet-sized convection cells churned like the bubbles in a hellish slow-motion cauldron. Wispy coronal streamers danced across the gulf of space, disrupting planetary communications.

Jor-El had been waiting a long time for a flare storm like this. In his isolated laboratory he had monitored his solar probes, eagerly making preparations. The moment was at hand.

The visionary scientist had set up his equipment in the large, open research building on his estate. Jor-El had no assistants because no one else on Krypton understood exactly what he was doing; in fact, few others seemed to care. The people of his planet were content. Too content. By contrast, Jor-El rarely let himself feel complacent or satisfied. How could he, when he could easily imagine so many ways to improve the world? He was a true anomaly in the "perfect society."

Working alone, he calibrated beam paths through crystal concentrators, used laser-alignment tools to adjust the angles of intersecting reflector disks, checked and double-checked his gleaming prisms for any flaws. Because his work pushed the envelope of standard and uninspired Kryptonian science, he had been forcedto develop much of the basic apparatus himself.

When he opened the set of louvered alloy panels in the roof of the research building, scarlet light flooded into the laboratory. Soon, the solar flux would reach the level he required. Keen scientific curiosity gave him more incentive than his awe for the red giant, which the priests had named Rao. He monitored the power levels displayed on flatcrystal gauges.

All the while, the sunlight outside blazed noticeably brighter. The flares continued to build.

Though he was young, Jor-El's distinctive thick hair was as white as bleached ivory, which gave him a regal appearance. The classically handsome features of his face looked as if they were modeled directly from the bust of an ancient Kryptonian nobleman, such as his revered ancestor Sor-El. Some might have thought his blue-eyed gaze distant and preoccupied, but in truth, Jor-El saw a great many things that others did not.

He activated his carefully arranged crystal rods, setting up a harmonic melody of wavelengths. On the rooftop, angled sheet-mirrors clashed their reflections into a central concentrating prism. The crystals stole only a precise segment of the spectrum, then diverted the filtered beam into parabolic mirrorpools made of half-transparent quicksilver. As the sunstorm's intensity increased, the quicksilver mirrors began to ripple and bubble.

According to plan, Jor-El quickly withdrew an amber crystal and inserted it into its proper grid point. The slick facets were already hot against his fingertips. The primary beam splintered into a luminous spiderweb that connected the labyrinth of mirrors and crystals.

In moments, if his experiment worked, Jor-El would break open a doorway into another dimension, a parallel universe—maybe even more than one.

The large and lonely estate many kilometers from Kandor suited Jor-El. His research building was as large as a banquet hall. While other Kryptonian families might have used such a space for masques, feasts, or performances, Jor-El's once-celebrated father had built this entire estate as a celebration of discovery, a place where every question could be investigated regardless of the technophobic restrictions imposed by the Kryptonian Council. Jor-El put these facilities to good use.

For an experiment of this magnitude, he had considered calling his brother from Argo City. Although few could match Jor-El's genius, dark-haired Zor-El, despite his occasional temper, had the same burning need to discover what was yet to be known. In a long-standing cordial rivalry, the two sons of Yar-El often tried to outdo each other. After today, provided this experiment succeeded, he and Zor-El would have a whole new universe to investigate.

Jor-El withdrew another crystal from the control grid, rotated it, and reinserted it. As the lights glowed brighter and the colors intensified, he became entirely engrossed in the phenomena.

Sequestered in their stuffy chambers in the capital city, the eleven-member Kryptonian Council had forbidden the development of any sort of spacecraft, effectively eliminating all possibility of exploring the universe. From ancient records, Kryptonians were well aware of other civilizations in the twenty-eight known galaxies, but the restrictive government insisted on keeping their planet separate "for its own protection." That rule had been in place for so many generations that most people accepted it as a matter of course.

In spite of this, the mystery of other stars and planets had always intrigued Jor-El. Not one to break the law, no matter how frivolous the restrictions might seem, he was nonetheless willing to find ways around it. They could not prevent him from traveling in his imagination.

Yes, the Council had disallowed the construction of spacecraft, but according to Jor-El's calculations, there could be an infinite number of parallel universes, countless alternate Kryptons in which each society might be slightly different. Jor-El could therefore travel in a new way—if only he could open the door to those universes. No spacecraft was necessary. Technically, he would not be breaking any rules.

In the center of the spacious lab, he set a pair of two-meter-wide silver rings spinning to establish a containment field for the singularity he hoped to create. He monitored the power levels. He waited.

When the intensified solar energy reached its peak, a shaft of collected light plunged through the ceiling lens into the center of Jor-El's laboratory like a shaft of fire. The multiplied beams gathered into a single convergence point, then ricocheted into the very fabric of space. The focused blast pummeled reality itself and tore open a hole to somewhere else . . . or nowhere at all.

The silver containment rings intersected, spun faster, and held open a pinprick that expanded in an equilibrium of energy and negative energy. As blinding light poured into the small speck of emptiness, the rip grew as wide as his hand, then the length of his forearm, until at last it stabilized, two meters in diameter, extending to the edge of the rings.



Continues...

Excerpted from The Last Days of Krypton by Kevin Anderson Copyright © 2007 by Kevin Anderson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 63 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(38)

4 Star

(14)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(3)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 63 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent

    Another great book by Kevin J Anderson. I love how he takes all that Krypton lore that DC has seeped out over the last 100 years and compiles it all into a thrilling story. Great job! 5 stars.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 11, 2010

    A Much-Need Addition to Superman Canon

    Anderson's "The Last Days of Krypton" adds astonishing depth to an oft-overlooked portion of the vast Superman mythos.

    A life-long fan of Superman, learning more about Kal-El's birthplace and the thrilling exploits of his biological family as Krypton hovered on the precipice of doom was a great treat. The rise and fall of Zod, the love between Jor-El and Lara, the bond of brotherhood between Jor-El and Zor-El.all fantastic adventures that had never been told with such detail.

    I highly recommend this book to other Superman fans and only wish that there were more eBooks featuring DC Comics characters.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    interesting look at Krypton

    Jor-El is the greatest scientist that Krypton has ever known, but few of his discoveries are approved by Commissioner Dru-Zod of the Commission for Technology Acceptance. The Kryptonian Council is insular and fears new technology could be made into a weapon of mass destruction. Thus society stagnates while space travel is forbidden and other creative theories outlawed using the patriotic rationalization that Krypton is perfect. When the alien Donodon lands, he and Jor-El become friends from the onset however an accident happens and the alien dies. The Kryptonian Council blames Jor-El and intends to send him to prison for murder, but Brainiac shrinks the capital city of Kandor taking it with him in a bottle. Zod takes advantage of the power vacuum and the fears of the people to get them to follow his leadership. He uses Jor-El to gain weapons in exchange for scientific research. Jor-El saves the planet from a comet, but his actions make Zod realize the peaceful scientist could be a threat to his plans. --- THE LAST DAYS OF KRYPTON is a journey into an advanced but stultified culture in which political agendas stifle science and technology from advancing. The story line focuses on a hero Jor-El who with his wife Lara and brother Zor-El of Argo City put the people¿s need before their own. Although the action is somewhat limited by the insight into Krypton society especially Zod¿s personal agenda to stifle science from interfering with his plans, fans of Superman will appreciate the interesting look at his biological parents. --- Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    So pleasantly surprised!! Great book!!

    I'm not sure how in this world, or any other, Anderson wrote a story I already knew but still surprised and thrilled me. To say I loved this book would be a huge understatement. I'm not a big Superman but I loved this story and the best thing about it, it that you don't need to know anything about Superman to enjoy the tale. However, if you do know some of the history, it'll be even more enjoyable. Krypton's history was fantastic and immense and I could go on forever. Seriously, a great piece of fiction.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 22, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Last Days!!!

    This novel allows the reader to delve into many characters that have been mere sketches and pieces of a world described but never explored.
    I note Anderson among my favorite authors. And as a Superman fan since I could walk, I couldn't resist picking up this book. Though the story is only indirectly about Superman, the book isn't any less interesting.
    This book is easy to read, occasionally whimsical, and always compelling.
    This book is for both Superman and non-Superman fans.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent Scifi Tale

    Mr. Anderson has wound together a wonderful "science fiction" tale that stands on its own away from the comic book universe. You would not need to be familiar with the Superman story to enjoy this book which addresses politics, greed, human tragedy and many other intriguing themes. The book answers all the questions that many Superman readers have always asked such as:

    * With all of Krypton's great science, why was only Ka-el spared the destruction of the planet?
    * How was Krypton actually destroyed?
    * Who was Zod and what evil deeds did he do?
    * What really happened to Kandor?
    * What is actually the story behind the use of The Phantom Zone?

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone that likes a good science fiction story!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2008

    A reviewer

    Just as he did with 'Captain Nemo', Anderson manages to weave a coherent story out of many loose plot lines. Drawing on elements from both the comic book and movie series, the doomed world of Krypton comes alive, if only to meet its fate.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    Good book!

    If you are a Superman fan and love to read, you will love this book! Best vision of Krypton i have ever seen! I could not put this book down!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2008

    Excellent Science Fiction Tale!

    Mr. Anderson has wound together a wonderful ¿science fiction¿ tale that stands on its own away from the comic book universe. You would not need to be familiar with the Superman story to enjoy this book which addresses politics, greed, human tragedy and many other intriguing themes. The book answers all the questions that many Superman readers have always asked such as: ¿ With all of Krypton¿s great science, why was only Ka-el spared the destruction of the planet? ¿ How was Krypton actually destroyed? ¿ Who was Zod and what evil deeds did he do? ¿ What really happened to Kandor? ¿ What is actually the story behind the use of The Phantom Zone? I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone that likes a good science fiction story!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 24, 2013

    Great novel. Tells the story of Kal'El's (Superman) parents in a

    Great novel. Tells the story of Kal'El's (Superman) parents in an entertaining and absorbing story that is riveting enough to be a canon origin story in the DC Universe. I heard Mr. Anderson read the first chapter in this book before its publishing and was addicted from that moment. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Superman.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 27, 2013

    THIS PREQUIL IS WELL WORTH THE READ IF YOU ARE A SUPERMAN FAN

    Since nineteen forty eight I have been a fan of Superman, starting with the comic book series when I was three years of age. Even though I had not been taught to read at that age, schooling was not as advanced as it is today, I was able to glean the basic idea from the fantastic artwork upon those pages. Whenever a new copy came to the corner drugstore I would purchase a ten cent copy and be lost in another epic adventure. This continued through the seventh grade when I was forced by my stepfather to truly read a novel from cover to cover instead of scanning it for a school book report. Trying only to show me the magic of the written word where I hated reading in itself, my stepfather did not know that he would turn me into a novel a day fanatic. Unfortunately this lead to my leaving the comic books behind and the only stories of Superman I would see were on television or at the movies. Needless to say when novels abut Superman started to come out, I was overjoyed. However with the few books that were on the market none of them covered what Krypton or its people was actually like. "THE LAST DAYS OF KRYPTON" painted that word picture for me and I could image what I had long awaited to hear and see. I believe the Kevin J. Anderson tried to keep his story line close to what one would find in a comic book, to give it the feel one would get for scanning the pages in that format. In that, he did very well and I commend him for that accomplishment. If you wish to acquire a more precise picture that fills in a lot of the unanswered questions, then this is the book for you to read.

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  • Posted August 11, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Kevin J. Anderson in his new book, "The Last Days Of Krypto

    Kevin J. Anderson in his new book, "The Last Days Of Krypton" published by It Books gives us an adventure on Superman's home planet, Krypton, with his father, Jor-El, before Krypton explodes.




    From the back cover: Before the cataclysm that sent the infant Kal-El rocketing toward a remarkable future as Earth's indestructible protector, his home planet Krypton flourished. Before treachery, technology, and nature conspired to doom an unparalleled civilization, the brilliant scientist Jor-El and the beautiful artist and historian Lara met, fell in love, and married. There were great heroes in those halcyon days. And there were just as many villains: the evil android Brainiac, who planned to capture the capital city of Kandor; the diabolical General Zod, who used lies and chaos to seize power and usher in an era of cruelty, repression, and terror.




    And through it all, an inescapable violence loomed ever closer--a catastrophic destiny foretold by Jor-El that would reshape humankind forever....




    When I was a kid I was like a lot of other Superman fans I just could not get enough Krypton stories that mostly featured Jor-El, Superman's father. The writers back then made Krypton such a wonderful place full of great places to visit, advanced science and villains. Now Mr. Anderson has taken all the history of Krypton before it exploded pieced it all together and has given us an epic adventure. He who will become the villainous General Zod is just a Commissioner in this story but he takes over control of Krypton. Opposing him are the El brothers, Jor-El and Zor-El. Immense evil versus incredible good and the fate of Krypton rests on the outcome. We can clearly see that Superman's heroism is genetic as Jor-El fights for his planet and his people. Mr. Anderson has written a thriller as Jor-El's life is in great danger as he takes a stand against Zod. He has also written one of the absolute best stories that I have read this year! There is so much going on that you really will not want to do anything else until you finish this book. Mr. Anderson has given us a highly entertaining story that is very imaginative. I would like more stories from Mr. Anderson please.




    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from It Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2013

    Just amazing

    I loved this book! It was an amazing/different story.

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  • Posted July 30, 2013

    Recommended, even though I've only read half so far....

    Been a Superman fan for 60 years... I bought this book after seeing Man of Steel, and I'm really enjoying it. I just wish I had more time to read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2013

    Gggggggggvvv

    Tgstachcy

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2013

    Last days of kryton

    It took me about 6 days to read it was hard to put down the first time

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2012

    Mars

    I can not believe that the martian manhunter is in this book, even if the appearance is for about page

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  • Posted September 22, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    For the Superman Fan.

    This story is a well crafted documentary rich in the Superman mythos. I recommend it only for Superman fans though as I felt like it just missed the mark.

    This story wove in characters from the Christopher Reeve movies and provided a background for why those characters disliked Superman. It provided a verbal description of Krypton that I think was at odds with the comic book universe as well.

    It just seemed that the descriptions of the vegetation, animals and construction were at variance with the depictions shown in comics over the years where Superman (Kal El) actually journeyed in time back to before Krypton's destruction. This was at times jarring.

    The romance between Jor El and Lara was an important plot point and yet I felt like it was disappointing. The only place where I felt really in the story was when Lara and Jor El said good bye to their son and even that was wanting.

    Nothing could be more poignant than the fact that a mother and father launch their infant son into the cosmos in a desperate attempt to save their son. This is akin to the bible story of Moses and should have been an emotional moment in the story. It was disappointing.

    Lara and Jor El coming together is a romance story in and of itself. Their union and affection should also have been a bright spot in the story and yet too often it felt like it was a side point.

    The story of Zor El and Argo City is one of the better sub plots throughout the book. It also seems to have kept with the comic story line reasonably closely.

    In summary the story offers several sub-plots that enhance the Superman story but, the tale as a whole does not meet expectations.

    Kevin J. Anderson is a good author. I have enjoyed many of his Star Wars novels and other books. I was disappointed by the creative effort in this story.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2012

    Great Rao

    If anyone ever wondered what happened in the last days of Krypton here you go. For any Superman fan

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2012

    Don't Bother

    I expected a sweeping epic, but instead ended up with a poorly written, "beat you over the head that Krypton is doomed" story that employed the word 'burly' far too many times. The inconsistencies regarding the Kryptonian fear of technology, and the paint-roller-like strokes of the main characters and their relationships made this a VERY slow read for me. How naive should this advanced race of beings be??

    The author tries to simultaneously put his own stamp on the end of Krypton, AND cram a load of Kryptonic history and events into this one tale. This book MIGHT be ok for a 13 year old just getting into the Superman mythos, but for an adult fan with full knowledge of the lore, this was just plain terrible. Take my advice and skip this mess. If you don't, you can't say you were'nt warned.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 63 Customer Reviews

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