Spycatcher (Spycatcher Series #1)

Spycatcher (Spycatcher Series #1)

3.4 32
by Matthew Dunn

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Will Cochrane is the CIA's and MI6's most prized asset ... and their deadliest weapon. Since childhood, the only world he has ever known is a clandestine realm of elaborate lies and unholy alliances—where trust is rare, betrayal comes cheap, and a violent death is often the penalty for being outplayed by an opponent. Cochrane has never been outplayed ... so

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Will Cochrane is the CIA's and MI6's most prized asset ... and their deadliest weapon. Since childhood, the only world he has ever known is a clandestine realm of elaborate lies and unholy alliances—where trust is rare, betrayal comes cheap, and a violent death is often the penalty for being outplayed by an opponent. Cochrane has never been outplayed ... so far.

Now his controllers have a new game: neutralize one of the world's most wanted terrorists, believed to be a general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards. Cochrane's unpredictability makes him the one agent capable of catching his adversary off guard, and he believes he has the perfect plan. But on a breakneck race through the capitals of Europe and into America's northeast, the spycatcher will discover that his prey knows the game all too well ... and his agenda is more terrifying than anyone could have imagined.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
British author Dunn draws on his real-life experience as an MI6 agent for his strong spy thriller debut. MI6 agent Will Cochrane, code name Spartan, winds up shot after a New York City mission involving an Iranian intelligence source goes bad. After a brief stay in a secret hospital, he takes on a new task—locating the mastermind of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, who's planning a massive terrorist attack. Will tracks down freelance journalist Lana Beseisu, who's now living in Paris and rumored to be the terrorist leader's one-time lover. Will and Lana form an alliance and an instant attraction, though Will knows he has to keep his hands off this beauty until the mission's successful completion. When Will learns that the Iranian terrorist was responsible for the death of his own father, revenge helps fire his search. While some predictable plot twists suggest Dunn is still learning his fictional craft, readers will want to see more of his distinctive hero, "the ultimate killer of killers." (Aug.)
Library Journal
A veteran agent who reports to both M16 and the CIA but feels beholden to neither, Will Cochrane suddenly has a mission: to wipe out Megiddo, a former Iranian Revolutionary Guard and current international terrorist, who is responsible not only for doing in a valuable contact but for killing Will's father many years ago. One cold night a month back, I settled down with this and found the writing intriguingly brusque and elliptical and the cat-and-mouse game a real surprise. Definitely investigate, especially for readers who want not so much techno as an icy-edged psychological thriller. With a 150,000-copy first printing.
John Lawton
“Once in a while an espionage novelist comes along who has the smack of utter authenticity. Few are as daring as Matthew Dunn, fewer still as up-to-date. This isn’t the Cold War, this isn’t even the last ten years, it’s the CIA and MI6 as they are now.”
Lee Child
“Great talent, great imagination, and real been-there done-that authenticity make this one of the year’s best thriller debuts. Highly recommended.”
Noah Boyd
“Not since Fleming charged Bond with the safety of the world has the international secret agent mystique been so anchored with an insider’s reality. The pacing in Matthew Dunn’s Spycatcher is frenetic, and the plotting is meticulous as it continually doubles back on itself.”
Kirkus Reviews

A super elite M16 agent goes after an Iranian terrorist planning a massive attack, possibly in America or Great Britain, in this debut thriller.

Dunn, a former M16 officer, fashions a Nietzschean hero who looks poised to give Lee Child's Jack Reacher a run for his readers. The agent's real name is Will Cochrane, but to the head of M16 and the British Prime Minister (the only two who know of his existence) he is "Spartan," a singular agent whose brutal physical training included a 100-mile trek—barefoot—through the Scottish Highlands in sub-freezing temperatures. Cochrane is a powerful, efficient killing machine, but his menace is leavened by some warm and appealing traits. He brews Scottish leaf tea and plays Segovia LPs on a Garrard turntable, all the time nursing wounds from his father's violent demise, an event that propels him on his first case. Learning from sources that a small unit of Iranian terrorists known as "the Jerusalem force" plans "a huge massacre, the likes of which the world has never seen," Cochrane'sM16 controller and the British PM set Cochrane after the unit's leader, Megiddo. The strategy is to convince Lana Beseisu, a freelance journalist and a former courier for Megiddo, to lure the elusive terrorist into the open where Cochrane will capture him. Beseisu accepts the assignment and soon makes the desired contacts with Megiddo through intermediaries. The man is wily, however, constantly stalling off a direct meeting. A series of solidly described action set pieces ensue across Europe as Lana, a Mata Hari in the war on terrorism, goes after her quarry, and Cochrane waits for his high-noon moment with Megiddo.

After a while, the barriers Dunn throws in the way of his protagonists seem calculated to stretch out the plot, but action fans shouldn't mind. This is twisty, cleverly crafted work.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Spycatcher Series , #1
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File size:
1 MB

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Read an Excerpt


By Matthew Dunn

William Morrow

Copyright © 2011 Matthew Dunn
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780062037671

Chapter One

You're sure that I won't be killed today?" The spy rubbed a hand
against his smooth face and looked down at the wet Central
Park grass beneath him. It was very early in the morning, and beyond
the park the sounds of New York life were distant and mellow. He
frowned and shook his head slightly. A fine, windless rain fell. "This
whole thing seems odd."
Will Cochrane observed the man for a while before speaking.
"Soroush, it is odd. That's why you'll have three expert men close by
to protect you."
Soroush's frown deepened. He looked up at Will's tall and powerful
frame. "Only three? That's all your masters in British Intelligence
could give you?"
Will pushed fingers through his cropped dark hair and then
reached out to touch the Iranian's arm. "Perfectly adequate for what
we need to happen."
The spy chuckled a little. "I thought I was your most valuable asset."
"You are."
Soroush swiveled so that he was fully facing Will. "But good things
always come to an end?"
Will removed his hand and quickly glanced left and right. There
were few other people in their vicinity, and certainly none close to
them. The British Intelligence officer looked back to his companion.
"No, it's not like that. The Iranians called the meeting, not us. If we
don't do this, then we'll never know what they want."
Soroush jammed his hands into his coat pockets. He lowered his
head again.
Will felt a surge of doubt and fear for his agent, but he checked
these emotions and spoke calmly. "I found you all those years ago,
when you were still working for the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence
and Security. I persuaded you to keep working in MOIS and at the
same time spy for the British. I got you out of Iran when it looked as if
your cover could be compromised. And when it turned out that such a
concern was unfounded, I taught you how to continue to spy on your
country from the safety of Europe." He forced a smile. "Throughout
all our time together, I have always protected you, and I will continue
to do so today."
The Iranian said nothing for a moment. He then cleared his throat
and shook his head vigorously. "In my eight years in the U.K., I've
provided you with intelligence that only a very few current or former
members of MOIS would have access to. And I know you have taken
action on much of my intelligence, meaning that the Iranians should
know they have a breach. A studious officer within the security
department of MOIS would be able to narrow down that breach. And
then out of the blue a message is passed to me. A message from MOIS
saying they want to meet me." He looked intently at Will. "Even if
you think I was not compromised in the old days, you have to con
concede there is a strong possibility that I'm now being set up."
Will did not return his gaze. He had already concluded that the
two Iranian intelligence officers who wanted to meet his secret agent
today probably had nefarious intentions toward the man. He had also
concluded that if this were the case, his agent's cover was blown and
Soroush would therefore be of no future use to him. But Will needed
the meeting to take place in order to be sure. And regardless, his man
was going to be protected.
"Why do you think they chose New York for the meeting?"
Soroush's words were hushed and quick.
Will looked around and then back at his agent. The correct answer
to this question, he suspected, was that the Iranians knew that Soroush
was a Western spy and would not agree to meet in a non-Western city.
"You're now an entrepreneur who does a lot of business in the States.
They're trying to minimize inconvenience to you."
Soroush's expression seemed to harden. "I'm not so sure."
Will checked his watch and smiled. "Are you prepared to go
through with this or not?"
Soroush looked blankly at him for a while but then shrugged.
"You know me too well."
"I do."
The two men became silent. The rain hit their faces with increased
Will drew a deep breath and spoke quietly. "When you're on
Gapstow Bridge at the north end of the pond, you won't be able to see me
because I'll be hidden. But if you look directly south across the pond,
you'll be looking at my approximate location. I will be one hundred
and eighty meters from you and will be monitoring you and your
meeting through binoculars."
Soroush turned back toward Will. He angled his head. "And your
"You may see some of them, but they won't look out of place. And
if anything happens, they will react with absolute speed, aggression,
and precision."
"British Special Forces?"
"Yes, but men who've been given further specific covert operations
training by my Service."
The spy nodded. "And straight back to your hotel after the
Will also nodded. "Exactly as we discussed. I'll meet you there for
your debriefing."
Soroush looked pensive. "But if they want me to go with them?"
"Under no circumstances. You have your meeting and then part
company with them." Above all else, Will could not allow his man to
fall under the control of the Iranians. He had far too many secrets in
his head, secrets which, if exposed, could severely damage the West's
ability to counter hostile Iranian activity.
"All right." Soroush seemed happy with Will's response. Soroush
then suddenly took one of Will's hands between two of his own.
"We've been through so much together."
Will looked down at his hand with surprise. He felt a deep pang of
uncertainty but did not show the emotion. Instead he said, "Indeed
we have, my friend."
Soroush smiled, and for a moment Will suspected that the man
could read his thoughts. Soroush gripped his hand, exhaled, and
released his hold. His smile faded. "If anything happens, you'll take
care of my wife and my kids, yes?"
"Nothing will happen." Will sighed. "But if the need ever arose,
of course I'd make sure your family was supported." This above all
else was true.
Soroush smiled and nodded. He pointed a finger at Will and then
gently touched its tip against Will's chest. "I remember the first time
I met you. I remember thinking that I'd never met a man as scary and
ruthless as you. But over the years I've come to realize that there is a
very different side to you, a side you often try to hide, one that is full
of depth and compassion." A look of sadness replaced the smile. "But
I also know that you tread a very solitary path."
Will frowned. "Perhaps you know me too well."
Soroush shook his head. "I would have to live to a very old age to
fully understand you. And I'm not convinced that I'll ever reach such
an age." Soroush waved slightly, then turned abruptly and walked off
in the direction of Central Park's Gapstow Bridge.
Will watched him for a moment, pondering the other man's words.
Then he sighed and pushed aside all thoughts besides those he needed
to focus on the meeting. He reached into his overcoat pocket and pulled
out a cell phone and a Bluetooth earpiece, which he fixed into position.
He pressed one number on the phone handset and spoke. "Soroush is
on his way. He should be at the location in ten minutes."
Then he took off at a run. He darted into a cluster of trees and
brought himself to an abrupt stop before swiveling around and dropping
down to a crouch. He brought his binoculars up to his eyes and
then reached for his phone again.
"Okay, I've got the bridge. What do you see?"
A second passed before three voices came back at him in rapid
"Alpha. Nothing."
"Bravo. Nothing."
"Charlie. Have him. Nearly there."
Will dropped even lower to the ground and scanned left and right
of the bridge. He saw Soroush walking on the East Drive path and a
jogger trotting close behind him. The jogger would be Charlie. The
spy turned onto the Gapstow Bridge, but the jogger didn't follow him.
Will pressed the number three on his cell phone. "I see you."
A voice came back immediately. "I know. I'm going three hundred
meters north and will then set my position. Our man should now be
covered by Bravo."
Will raised a hand and unnecessarily pressed the Bluetooth device
harder against his ear. It seemed longer, but in seven seconds Will
heard another voice.
"Bravo. Yes, I see him. Walking across the thing. No. Now
stationary in the center of the bridge. He's in position and waiting."
Will raised his binoculars and looked. Bravo was right. Will's agent
was standing on Gapstow Bridge. He knew that the foot crossing was
approximately twenty-five meters long, and Soroush had followed his
instructions by stopping in the center of the bridge facing the pond
to the south.
"Where are you, Bravo?" Will continued to scan either side of the
"Where I should be. One hundred meters northwest of the bridge.
This is where I stay put."
"Sixty meters from our man, by Wollman Rink."
Will looked at his watch and exhaled. Everything was in place. His
team had now set a perimeter around his spy by positioning themselves
to the north, the northwest, and the northeast of Central Park's
Gapstow Bridge. From his own position near the southern tip of the
pond, he looked toward Soroush. He could easily see the man's face.
Soroush looked calm and still.
Will eased himself up a little and spoke into the Bluetooth as he
did so. "Okay, one minute and counting."
Will examined Soroush again. The man was leaning on the bridge,
obviously pretending to watch the rain on the water beneath him.
There was a slight smile on his face. Will checked the time again and
then spoke into his phone.
"All right, men. Any moment now."
He forced himself to breathe and ignored the pain in his eyes from
pressing the binoculars too hard against them. He kept scanning the
bridge and its surroundings. "Anything?"
A few seconds passed before each of his team members replied
with the same word: "Nothing."
Within his peripheral vision, he spotted movement and turned
slightly to see an elderly woman walking a dog on an adjacent path.
He instinctively moved back into heavier cover, even though he knew
that the woman could not see him. The dog walker moved past, and
Will continued his surveillance. Soroush was no longer leaning and
was now casually looking in either direction along the bridge.
"Charlie. I'm in position three hundred meters to the northeast of
the pond. I might have something."
Will immediately swung his binoculars toward Charlie's location.
He widened his eyes and focused his mind on the Bluetooth earpiece.
Charlie spoke again, and his words were rapid but controlled.
"Yes, something. Two men."
Will waited, not daring to speak. A screech of bird calls suddenly
rose from the water before him, and he silently cursed the interruption
to his focus. He looked quickly at Soroush, but the man was still
alone on the bridge. Will turned back to look in Charlie's direction.
"They're at a stop." Charlie's voice was slower this time. "Fifty
meters north of me, meaning three hundred and fifty meters from the
Will instantly responded. "Your assessment?"
"It's them." Charlie went quiet for a moment. "I'm sure it's them.
But they're waiting, and that's bad."
Will lowered his binoculars. He felt his pulse rate increase, but he
ignored the natural reaction to the adrenaline release within his body.
He put the binoculars up to his eyes again and this time looked to the
northwest. "Alpha? Bravo?"
Alpha spoke first. "Four hostiles moving across my vision."
Bravo then came onto the phone line. His voice was hushed.
"Another five coming straight at me."
"Damn it." Will thought rapidly. Such a large number of hostiles
suggested that they were a snatch squad, which meant that most likely
they had a driver and vehicle waiting somewhere nearby.
Alpha spoke. "Mine have stopped."
"So have mine," added Bravo.
Will frowned. "Can they see either of you yet?"
"Don't think so."
Will was about to speak, but Bravo beat him to it. "Two of mine are
peeling off and heading southwest. The remaining three are still static."
Will cursed again. "They must have a vehicle ready for them near
Central Park South or Fifth Avenue. The two men heading southwest
around the pond are moving into position to secure the team and the
target's extraction point." He put his binoculars into a coat pocket
and inhaled deeply. "These are my instructions. Alpha and Bravo: Put
warning shots down against your hostiles and then move back to the
west end of the bridge. Under no circumstances must either of you
let them get onto the bridge. Charlie: Eliminate your two men, then
move directly to Soroush. Get him off the bridge and head east with
him out of the park. I'll take care of the two hostiles heading my way."
He checked his watch. "And, gentlemen, we have a maximum of two
minutes to get this done before this place is swarming with local law
enforcement officers. Time starts now."
Will turned in the direction of his two oncoming targets. His route
to them would be under continuous tree cover, and he estimated that
they would be nearly three hundred meters away from him. From his
right overcoat pocket he withdrew a Heckler & Koch Mark 23 hand
gun. He walked quickly ahead, scrutinizing each gap between trees
while at the same time focusing on anything that might come through
his cell phone's earpiece. Within a hundred and forty meters he came
to the westernmost point of the pond and then turned to face north.
His targets would now be very close.
Will heard four or five rapid bangs from across the pond and then
a voice in his ear. "Charlie. Done. I'll be at the bridge in sixty
seconds." Charlie had successfully taken out the two Iranian intelligence


Excerpted from Spycatcher by Matthew Dunn Copyright © 2011 by Matthew Dunn. Excerpted by permission of William Morrow. 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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What People are saying about this

Noah Boyd
“Not since Fleming charged Bond with the safety of the world has the international secret agent mystique been so anchored with an insider’s reality. The pacing in Matthew Dunn’s Spycatcher is frenetic, and the plotting is meticulous as it continually doubles back on itself.”
John Lawton
“Once in a while an espionage novelist comes along who has the smack of utter authenticity. Few are as daring as Matthew Dunn, fewer still as up-to-date. This isn’t the Cold War, this isn’t even the last ten years, it’s the CIA and MI6 as they are now.”
Lee Child
“Great talent, great imagination, and real been-there done-that authenticity make this one of the year’s best thriller debuts. Highly recommended.”

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Spycatcher 3.4 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 32 reviews.
BookSakeBlogspot More than 1 year ago
Spycatcher is your typical spy thriller. Will Cochrane is an MI6 agent with seemingly superhuman powers, sent to take down the Iranian terrorist, Megiddo, who's threatening an attack on either Britain or the United States. Will is basically a rugged James Bond (ironically, both are MI6 agents). At first I felt that the author was trying too hard to mimic Bond in his character, but later realized that Matthew Dunn was a real MI6 agent. After that, my interest shifted from the book to the author because, frankly, the book wasn't all that good. Will Cochrane is constantly withstanding life-threatening injuries and returning to the chase the next day "a little stiff". I realize it's a work of fiction, but I expected it to be more realistic, especially when it's written by a former MI6 agent. Will's impossible resilience also ruined the suspense. I soon realized that he could be decapitated and still show up for work the next day; I certainly never wondered if he would make it out alive. All things considered, Spycatcher is decent if you're looking for mindless action. If you require a bit more realism to satisfy your palate, I'd pass this up. Reviewed by Brittany for Book Sake.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
The latest novel from Matthew Dunn, Spycatcher, has so many details and expertise of scenarios that you automatically begin to see yourself as the main character. Will Cochrane is a super elite MI6 agent code named Spartan, who goes out to seek his father's killer who has plotted to strike against the US or the UK. This plot sends him and his crew on a hunt for Meggido, a mastermind behind many of Iran's terrorist plots to bring down the west. Little does Will know that this mission is perhaps the most perilous mission that he and his crew will face. Will's pick of the finest trained operative's may never see the end of this mission. Does Will have what it takes to bring Meggido down, or will he succumb to his most deadly nemesis to date? Spycatcher is a never ending twist of action, mystery, and never ending action that you will not want to put the book down from the moment you open the cover! I received this book compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review. I have to give this book a 5 out of 5 stars for the storyline that sounds like it came out of experience rather than imagination! A must read for all of the military, mystery, and spy junkies! Thank you Matthew for such an exhilarating ride while reading! Thank you Matthew Dunn for Spycatcher!
harstan More than 1 year ago
In New York, MI6 agent Will "Spartan" Cochrane searches for Iranian Revolutionary Guard international terrorist Megiddo. Spartan's hunt is professional as the agencies know this terrorist has a nasty scheme and personal as this terrorist killed his father over two decades ago. Having been shot, Spartan works the case injured but will not rest until this animal is stopped. He locates the alleged former lover of Megiddo in Paris. Journalist Lana Beseisu agrees to assist Will even as they are attracted to one another. However, Spartan vows to keep his hands off his partner until the mission is completed; then all bets are off. As they get closer to their target, Megiddo proves quite elusive. This is a fun espionage counterterrorist thriller starring a fascinating hero who seems like a combination of Doc Savage and his entire team. Spartan's extreme fitness training enables him to deal with a multitude of wounds though it still seems over the top but in an entertaining way. Fans of cat and mouse spy games will relish the chess match as this is one British field agent who prefers the cold. Harriet Klausner
BentParrot More than 1 year ago
John le Carré, Matthew Dunn is not. I think Spycatcher's author feels so bound be the Official Secrets Act and other laws that prohibit him from divulging operational aspects and duties related to his work in intelligence, that he fell compelled to create a work so outrageous and preposterous that it would be unbelievable. In that, he succeeded. If you like super action heroes, you will love the protagonist, Will Cochrane. By page three hundred, I lost count of the number of times he was shot, stabbed, blown up, strangled, and nearly froze to death. Nevertheless, he always rises to the challenge and dispatches the bad guys post-haste. The plot jump back and forth among cities in the Balkans such as Zagreb and Sarajevo, to Paris, Prague, Zurich, Vienna, New York, Boston, Montreal, and Washington. The only constant is the snow. The climactic battle takes place over one hundred or so pages in the frozen wilderness of upstate New York. There, the body count of Iranian terrorists rises dramatically, until the final confrontation with the Number One evildoer in upper Manhattan, and the race against the clock to thwart his 9-11 type attack.The plot finale can be deduced a quarter way through the book. Yes, it is that amateurish! If you want exciting, nonstop, if incredulous, action, buy the book. But if you are looking for intelligent, thought-provoking fiction about the dark world of spies, counterspies, and intelligence - a la John le Carré - save your money. This book ain't gonna do it.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too many plot spoilers here ruining the book including the ever present harriet klausner who absolutly ruins every book she comes across. Why do these people feel like they have to tell the entire story in their so called reviews? A simple line or two to say if its good or not is enough. Bn pleaseban these plot spoilers and delete their plot spoiling posts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Extremely slow. Limited descriptions of action scenes. Could not finish.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is very long and the reading is tedious. Very little dialog. Descriptions are so detailed that the main thought of the description is lost. Very, very violent. I won't be buying the sequel.
casual2atee More than 1 year ago
Spy-thriller is not my typical genre read but this one caught my eye and I figured I should round out my reader's advisory. Will Cochrane is an MI6 agent who, over the course of the years, has lost his family, any sense of personal identity, and survives only on the adrenaline surge of his work. Suddenly, though, Will comes face to face with not only his family history and the opportunity to avenge his father's death (also a former agent), but also the call to necessarily save the West from a ruthless, elusive terrorist. Dunn's writing is lightening quick, engaging and seemingly well-researched, as his personal experience as an agent for British Secret Intelligence Service would indicate. My only questionable thought during the adventure was, "Just how many times can one man be knifed, shot, and hit in the head and walk about the next day?" Okay, maybe also, "Will they really let you fly that stoned? Maybe it's a first class thing." The next installment, Sentinel, comes out in August and I look forward to picking it up as well.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Since other reviews have mentioned it, the miraculous healing powers of Will are a bit too much. But other than that this is a very good, well written story. Put yourself in 007 mode and enjoy the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this book. Do not usually read spy novels. This one really grabbed me from the start. Look forward to reading the rest of the series I
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
not just a skimmer but a skipper. I read the first 100 pages and skipped to the last 20 pages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
That the poor man is delusional and needs the royalties for therapy before he tries to fly off a cliff what are the royalties of 98 cents? writing for 15 min a day in a journal then not reading it for three months is usually part of depression therapy after meds exercise and diet and talk therapy. there is reality therapy but he missed that page counter
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the intrigue.
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JSSCT More than 1 year ago
A really great read. Very well written. The characters and the atmosphere really ring true. Hard to put down.
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