The Long War (Long Earth Series #2)

( 31 )


The follow-up to Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter?s New
York Times
bestseller, The Long Earth, The Long War follows heroes Joshua and
Lobsang as humankind?s expansion throughout all the Long Earth threatens the future of humanity itself.

War has come to the Long Earth. Humankind has spread across the new worlds opened up by stepping, which Joshua and Lobsang explored a mere...

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The follow-up to Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter’s New
York Times
bestseller, The Long Earth, The Long War follows heroes Joshua and
Lobsang as humankind’s expansion throughout all the Long Earth threatens the future of humanity itself.

War has come to the Long Earth. Humankind has spread across the new worlds opened up by stepping, which Joshua and Lobsang explored a mere decade ago. Now “civilization” flourishes, and fleets of airships link the multiple Earths through exploration, trade, and culture.

Humankind is shaping the Long Earth, but in turn the Long
Earth is shaping humankind. A new America that has christened itself “Valhalla”
has emerged more than a million steps from the original Datum Earth. And like the American revolutionaries of old, the Valhallans resent being controlled from afar by the Datum government.

In the intervening years, the song of the trolls—graceful,
hive-mind humanoids—has suffused the Long Earth. But in the face of humankind’s inexorable advance, they are beginning to fall silent … and gradually disappear.

Joshua, now married and a father, is summoned by Lobsang. It seems that he alone can confront the perfect storm of crises that threatens to plunge all of the Long Earth into war. A war unlike any that has been waged before.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

A full generation has passed since the momentous events described in The Long Earth, and Joshua and Lobsang must now struggle with problems far more numerous and vast than they previously overcame. Bestselling authors Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter combine their legendary talents in an earth-changing new novel. (P.S. The launch volume of this series is now available in mass-market paperback.)

The Barnes & Noble Review

At first blush, a more unlikely pair of collaborators than Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter seems awfully distant, hovering like a mirage out there on some far-fetched, counterfactual literary horizon. Pratchett built his reputation mainly with his Discworld books, comic, slapstick fantasies; Baxter, with his Xeelee cycle, hard-edged, physics-saluting science fiction. Both are British, and both have indeed collaborated in the past with others, but only "like to like": Baxter with Arthur C. Clarke, Pratchett with Neil Gaiman. So this series — projected at first as a duology — might initially strike their separate fan bases as an awkward mismatch of talents.

Luckily, nothing could be farther from the truth. The two books — The Long Earth and The Long War — combine Baxter's and Pratchett's separate strengths into an organic hybrid: humor with real speculative vigor, or speculation laced with witty humor.

Surprisingly enough for a series that tips towards the SF end of the spectrum, the origin of the project lies with Pratchett. In 1986, before Discworld had decisively achieved fame and prominence in his catalogue, Pratchett wrote the seed from which the current project sprouted, a short story about interdimensional travel titled "The High Meggas."

Now, interdimensional travel — or visits to parallel worlds or voyaging across the multiverse — is one of the essential tropes of science fiction. First handled rigorously (and non-magically) in the 1930s, the theme has been developed by such giants of the field, past and present, as Robert Heinlein, Clifford Simak, Keith Laumer, Brian Aldiss, Christopher Priest, Paul Melko, Ian McDonald, Steven Gould, and Neal Stephenson. Michael Moorcock, who brought the word multiverse into common parlance (after its obscure coinage in the philosophy of William James), has created an immense mythos concerning the interrelationships among sheaves of fictional timelines. So when we come to The Long Earth, we bring with us some expectations for new riffs on the theme. And indeed, our authors don't let us down.

The two distinctive hallmarks of Pratchett-Baxter cross- continua travel are 1) all the parallel Earths, as far as humanity can travel, one tedious jump at a time, are bare of humans; and 2) the gadget for leaping off from the ground zero of "Datum Earth" — the Stepper — is so simple it can be made from Radio Shack components, and its blueprints instantly go viral, prompting a mass exodus from our overburdened planet. (This uncontrolled proliferation of dangerous tech finds previous expression in Baxter and Clarke's The Light of Other Days, about the dangers of rogue time-viewers.)

Two other technical flourishes also shape the story: no ferrous metals can be carried across the reality barrier (goodbye guns, computers, cars, etc.), and each Earth — in the polar directions of "East" and "West" — differs slightly across an unfathomable "contingency tree." Travel far enough, and things start to get weird. Oh, one last feature, probably courtesy of Pratchett: jumping across wordlines makes one violently sick in the stomach. Thus we have bold explorers uncontrollably vomiting before they can even utter, "One small step for man?"

From the two simple main ground rules and their codicils, Baxter and Pratchett construct an adventure that constantly surprises. It confers the mind-expanding feeling that Victorian readers must have experienced when encountering Wells's The Time Machine. The Long Earth starts the adventure rolling by following a number of protagonists in a deftly whipsawing, multivector fashion. We have our main hero, Joshua Valienté, a young fellow who can Step without machinery, thanks to the strange circumstances of his birth. Valienté is recruited for a big multiverse expedition by an entity dubbed Lobsang, an artificial intelligence, distributed across various platforms, which also claims to be the reincarnated-in-silicon soul of a lowly Tibetan motorcycle repairman. Then there's Sally Linsay, another "natural Stepper" and daughter of the Stepper's mysteriously vanished inventor, Willis Linsay; policewoman Monica Jansson; and frontiersman Jack Green and his daughter Helen.

Baxter and Pratchett use these various characters and many others to disclose a succession of marvels from their unflagging imaginations. Sentient hominid races known as trolls and elves and kobolds are revealed. The Gap is discovered: a continuum where the planet Earth is entirely vanished, removing any solid doppelgänger Terra and leaving a vacuum to be traversed. Timelines with ancient megafauna are reached. Finally, the unique intelligence known as First Person Singular is encountered, sending the expedition back to Datum Earth with a preliminary map of the riches that await humanity.

Baxter's touch shows up in the brilliant extrapolations and impeccably logical unfolding of the Stepping tech, I think, while Pratchett's hand is omnipresent in the whimsical characters and in many droll observations on culture and society. For instance, I take the invention of "The First Heavenly Church of the Cosmic Confidence Trick" to be a Pratchett bit, a smooth blend of Vonnegut-style tomfoolery with Asimovian analysis that goes down easy. As Lobsang explains, "They consider their religion to reflect the truth about the universe, which is its essential absurdity. True Victims believe that there is one Born Again every minute. And they must be fruitful and multiply, to create more human minds to appreciate the joke."

The Long War opens ten years after the events of the first book. Joshua is married to Helen Green, with a family of his own, content to live as a simple homesteader out in the High Meggers, the (differently spelled) neighborhood at least one million Earths removed from Datum Earth. Lobsang is out of Joshua's life, busy running the Black Corporation, which has a monopoly on many important new technologies, including the nonferrous dirigibles that keep all the iterations of Earth in contact, under a loose affiliation known as the Aegis. Joshua's placid life gets a disruptive jolt with the reappearance of Sally Linsay, as prickly and unpredictable as ever. Sally is worried that the trolls — kindly, peaceful partners to humans — are being slaughtered or maltreated up and down the Long Earth, and she convinces Joshua to try to do something about it, launching him on a new odyssey, with his family along for at least part of the ride.

In addition, we get a passel of intriguing new characters and their quests, such as Captain Maggie Kauffman, who helms the USS Benjamin Franklin dirigible, tasked with enforcing Aegis authority up and down the Long Earth. Her conversion from an officious point of view to another frame of mind becomes a central theme. We also meet Christopher Pagel, an expert on trolls. Moreover, Sister Agnes, the Harley-riding nun who helped raise orphan Joshua (can we discern Pratchett's hand here?) returns in a surprising manner.

Baxter and Pratchett don't merely repeat the feel of the first book. Everything has evolved. Some twenty-five years after Step Day, their frontier is now morphing into "statehood," with all the Realpolitik issues that condition implies. The plot of this volume reflects the extant complex conditions of a widely settled cosmos. The milieu is less Davy Crockett (a figure cited frequently in The Long Earth) and more John C. Frémont, Great Pathfinder turned politician. At one juncture, the authors illustrate these changes with a touching symbol: the markers that Helen Green and her family used on their long trek across the endless forests are now crumbling and abandoned. (Also conducive to more empire building are the anti-nausea medicines that have normalized the Stepping procedure.) Additionally, whereas the first book concerned mainly the cognate USAs, we now experience what China has been doing in its associated dimensions, thanks to riding along with the East Twenty Millions Expedition involving pedagogue Jacques Montecute and his super-bright student Roberta Golding.

The Long War concludes on a very satisfactory note, after its patented amalgam of jesting and jousting, having explored topics such as the nature of consciousness (human and otherwise), cosmology, freedom, and the soul. But the last couple of chapters also form a trembling springboard to further adventures. Whether Terry Pratchett's well-known health issues will permit any extensions remains in doubt. But should this entry terminate the series, readers will still feel blessed.

Like Greg Bear's infinite corridor in his Eon series, Philip José Farmer's overstuffed Riverworld, Larry Niven's Ringworld, or Roger Zelazny's feuding realms of Amber, or any of a dozen other allied venues, Pratchett and Baxter's Long Earth is a quintessential SF construct tailored to offer an infinity of exploration and a bounty of fresh readerly joys.

Author of several acclaimed novels and story collections, including Fractal Paisleys, Little Doors, and Neutrino Drag, Paul Di Filippo was nominated for a Sturgeon Award, a Hugo Award, and a World Fantasy Award — all in a single year. William Gibson has called his work "spooky, haunting, and hilarious." His reviews have appeared in The Washington Post, Science Fiction Weekly, Asimov's Magazine, andThe San Francisco Chronicle.

Reviewer: Paul Di Filippo

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781482991833
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/11/2014
  • Series: Long Earth Series , #2
  • Format: CD
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 5.80 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett is an English novelist known for his frequently comical work in the fantasy genre. He is best known for his popular and long-running Discworld series. His first novel, The Carpet People, was published in 1971, and since publishing his first Discworld novel, The Color of Magic, in 1983, he has written two books a year on average. He was the United Kingdom’s bestselling author of the 1990s and has sold more than 55 million books worldwide. In 2001 he won the Carnegie Medal for his children’s novel The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents. Pratchett was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to literature in 1998 and was knighted in 2009.

Stephen Baxter is a trained engineer with degrees from Cambridge and the University of Southampton. He is the acclaimed author of the Manifold novels and Evolution and has won the British Science Fiction Award, the Locus Award, the Philip K. Dick Award, and the John W. Campbell Award and was nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke Award.

Michael Fenton Stevens is an actor and comedian, as well as a founding member of The Hee Bee Gee Bees, a pop music group. He is known for his work in television and for his voice work on BBC Radio 4.


Welcome to a magical world populated by the usual fantasy fare: elves and ogres, wizards and witches, dwarves and trolls. But wait—is that witch wielding a frying pan rather than a broomstick? Has that wizard just clumsily tumbled off the edge of the world? And what is with the dwarf they call Carrot, who just so happens to stand six-foot six-inches tall? Why, this is not the usual fantasy fare at all—this is Terry Pratchett's delightfully twisted Discworld!

Beloved British writer Pratchett first jump-started his career while working as a journalist for Bucks Free Press during the '60s. As luck would have it, one of his assignments was an interview with Peter Bander van Duren, a representative of a small press called Colin Smythe Limited. Pratchett took advantage of his meeting with Bander van Duren to pitch a weird story about a battle set in the pile of a frayed carpet. Bander van Duren bit, and in 1971 Pratchett's very first novel, The Carpet People, was published, setting the tone for a career characterized by wacky flights of fancy and sly humor.

Pratchett's take on fantasy fiction is quite unlike that of anyone else working in the genre. The kinds of sword-and-dragon tales popularized by fellow Brits like J.R.R. Tolkein and C. S. Lewis have traditionally been characterized by their extreme self-seriousness. However, Pratchett has retooled Middle Earth and Narnia with gleeful goofiness, using his Discworld as a means to poke fun at fantasy. As Pratchett explained to Locus Magazine, "Discworld started as an antidote to bad fantasy, because there was a big explosion of fantasy in the late '70s, an awful lot of it was highly derivative, and people weren't bringing new things to it."

In 1983, Pratchett unveiled Discworld with The Color of Magic. Since then, he has added installments to the absurdly hilarious saga at the average rate of one book per year. Influenced by moderately current affairs, he has often used the series to subtly satirize aspects of the real world; the results have inspired critics to rapturous praise. ("The most breathtaking display of comic invention since PG Wodehouse," raved The Times of London.) He occasionally ventures outside the series with standalone novels like the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy, a sci fi adventure sequence for young readers, or Good Omens, his bestselling collaboration with graphic novelist Neil Gaiman.

Sadly, in 2008 fans received the devastating news that Pratchett had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. He has described his own reaction as "fairly philosophical" and says he plans to continue writing so long as he is able.

Good To Know

Pratchett's bestselling young adult novel Only You Can Save Mankind was adapted for the British stage as a critically acclaimed musical in 2004.

Discworld is not just the subject of a bestselling series of novels. It has also inspired a series of computer games in which players play the role of the hapless wizard Rincewind.

A few fun outtakes from our interview with Pratchett:

"I became a journalist at 17. A few hours later I saw my first dead body, which was somewhat…colourful. That's when I learned you can go on throwing up after you run out of things to throw up."

"The only superstition I have is that I must start a new book on the same day that I finish the last one, even if it's just a few notes in a file. I dread not having work in progress.

"I grow as many of our vegetables as I can, because my granddad was a professional gardener and it's in the blood. Grew really good chilies this year.

"I'm not really good at fun-to-know, human interest stuff. We're not ‘celebrities', whose life itself is a performance. Good or bad or ugly, we are our words. They're what people meet.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Terence David John Pratchett
    2. Hometown:
      Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 28, 1948
    2. Place of Birth:
      Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England
    1. Education:
      Four honorary degrees in literature from the universities of Portsmouth, Bristol, Bath and Warwick

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 31 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2013

    If it would let me leave 3 1/2 stars I would.  To be honest, I w

    If it would let me leave 3 1/2 stars I would.  To be honest, I was severely disappointed in this sequel to The Long Earth.  I remember after finishing the first one that it was all I could think about for weeks. All the possibilities of the idea of there being a long earth was so exciting that the plot flaws of the first book didn't matter. I think that's the problem with this one, though some of the wonder of the Long Earth is still there, this book really is supposed to stand on the plot.  The best parts of this book are those few moments where you get to experience (for more than a paragraph) a new aspect of the the long earth.  I will say I was surprisingly satisfied with the actual long war concept in the book, though I have spoken to many people who were not. Anyway, if you loved the Long Earth, then I would suggest reading the next installment, just know that it is not as grand as the first. Also be aware that this book has significantly less influence of Pratchett and veers more into the drier no-nonsense tone of Baxter. However, I won't hesitate to pick up the next book in this series (if there is one) because I feel like these are two amazing authors who have to have some amazing plan to finish this series. That may be putting too much hope in them, but perhaps we’ll find out next year. 

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2013

    Not as good as The Long Earth

    I agree with previous reviewers. Baxter clearly added some hard science, but it felt like Pratchett's characters got cut. Sorely lacking in the humor present in Long Earth. However, the concept of war in this context was interesting. If only today's wars were so mostly bloodless.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2013

    Cover Artwork was better than the story that had been told

    I am not ashamed to admit that the book's cover caught my eye first, followed by my fond recollections of Terry Pratchett's work with Neil Gaiman (sp) in Good Omens. I learned after several hours of reading that the cover artwork was better than the story that had been told. I had high expectations for this novel, as I have enjoyed other work by Terry Pratchett. I was disappointed by the lack of depth or personality,sympathy or growth among most of the cast of characters. In addition, the plot seemed to "step" in many interesting directions without a solid beginning and without weaving the various narrative threads together into a cohesive story line. This book was intended to be a part of a continuing series (or should have been much longer). However, this should never become an excuse to skimp on plot and character development or to present a hasty and unsatisfying stopping point at the end of the novel. If the story merits more words then make the time and effort to finish the job - consider the works of Tad Williams as an example. This was not the best of SF collaborations. It had an interesting take on the theory of parallel development Earths, and defined a convenient mechanism to travel between worlds and a few good operational constraints. However, I finished The Long War irritated that my time had been wasted by an underdeveloped and unfinished work and saddened by the fact that a good technical SF premise by two established SF authors could result in such mediocre results.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2013

    Not the best sequel

    The Long Earth had me hooked so I had to read this one. Not as well written or imaginative as the first but still an ending to how it all began.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2013

    If you wanted to know the otherside plus joshua and a little bit of lobsang then you will enjoy

    This book gives several different perspectives other than joshuas if you are okay with that. Then this book will be as good as the first one

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2013


    Highly recommend to sci-fi fans

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 4, 2014

    Solid follow up to The Long Earth. Characters are genuine and t

    Solid follow up to The Long Earth. Characters are genuine and the plot follows several threads throughout. There is no concluding resolution, as there will be more book(s) to follow, but it remains interesting to see how the authors extrapolate the science of multiverses into a dramatic, fun read.

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  • Posted March 22, 2014

    Picks up where "The Long Earth" ended, leaving you han

    Picks up where "The Long Earth" ended, leaving you hanging ...which was rather abrupt. This one ended, not abruptly, but, there could be another in the series?  Well I can but hope! I believe there is physical
    evidence for the situation in Yellowstone National park, described at the end of this book to have happened at least once before, in our distant past, and warnings abound, even now, that it could happen again. So, please, Sir Terry, and Mr. Baxter, just one more? Please?
    There were places in this book that I found a bit long, a bit boring, but I'm hoping for a third installment, to really wrap it up!  If you've read this first book in this series and enjoyed your time there, you'll want to read this one. 

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2014

    An amazing sequel to pratchetts rh An amazing An amazing sequel to Terrys The Long Earth

    This is agreat book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2013

    Been waiting for sequel

    Think I will get it from Amozon for Kindle and read it on my laptop. $1.99 vs $14.99 is no brainer

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 1, 2013

    second book in the series

    this one picks up where the first book left off. all the major characters are back as well as a few new ones. the multi dimensions angle is handled quite nicely with some things that I've never seen addressed in other stories of this type. buy this book and enjoy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2013

    Starlines &starChapter Two&star "Bruised & Broken"

    <^>&starf I'm changing the age of Jacen & the "narrator" to 18 instead of 25.&starf I open my eyes. For a minute I wonder if the face I saw leering at me was a delusion because she is supposed to be dead. I hear Jaina splutter my name between dust-filled coughs. "Siralvia, are you okay?" I move......and nearly cry out as pain hits me like a wave, crushing me. When it subsides, I try moving my left leg & I'm promptly crushed by a second wave. "Well, my left leg hurts when i move it but other than that, everything's sunny on my side of the galaxy." I say dryly. Jain laughs softly. I hear her slowly get up. I use the Force to clear the dust. She gets the rubble of me & helps me up. Once I'm sitting in a surprisingly intact durasteel chair, I look at my leg & grimace at what I see. My ankle is twisted at an unnatural angle & I can see a little bit of bone sticking out. There is also a deep gash streching the whole length of my calf. Suddenly reality comes crashing in on me. "Jaina where's Han & Leia?" I exclaim, suddenly worried. She looks shocked. "I dont know." She starts clearing rubble from the spots where they were standing just before the bomb exploded while I concentrate on healing my left leg. When she has cleared it all away, she gasps. I can feel her grief blazing in the Force like a beacon. I have finished healing myself by this time. I get up & limp over. When I follow her line of sight, I also gasp. Han & Leia are lying motionless on the ground. Just then there is a knock. "Come in Master Skywalker." I say. The door opens & I hear him say, "is everything–" he passes a pile of rubble & stops dead in the middle of his sentence. "–alright?" He finishes softly, looking stunned. Jaina & I simultaneously speak one word. One name. We had all assumed she was dead. But now Han, Leia, Jaina & I know better. Because she just tried to kill us. "Alema Rar." We chorus. "I saw her grin at me leeringly just before I passed out." I say. "And I saw her clearly just before the bomb hit the window." Jaina added. Some Two Onebees carried Han & Leia to the closest med facility. THREE STANDARD HOURS LATER "I'm still going with you to look for Ben, Master Skywalker." I say stubbornly. He smiles. "Okay then." "See you tomorrow Master." I say. "Where are you going to stay?" "At Jaina's. We already moved my stuff there." "Okay. See you then." That night, I sneak onto the balcony for some air. Suddenly, I feel Jacen's Force presence. "You shouldn't be here Jacen." I say. He smiles & kisses me, wisely choosing not to argue with with me. I gently pull away & look in his eyes. "If Jaina sees us & finds out Melina is our daughter, we'll lose the support of the Jedi & the support of Tenel Ka & the Hapans. You'd never see Allana again." &starf Read & comment. Next chapter at 'star' res one&starf SA

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2013


    Unreadable. If I missed a prequel, sorry.

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2013

    Highly Recommended

    #2 is just as great as #1

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2013

    Hell yea


    0 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted January 10, 2014

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    Posted December 24, 2013

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    Posted July 12, 2013

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    Posted July 13, 2014

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    Posted July 10, 2013

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