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Daughter of Rome

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Priscilla and Aquila are the stars of this book. Set in the first century AD, this book starts in Rome with Priscilla as an unwelcome occupant of her brother’s large villa. She is lonely but resilient and begins to make her own friends. An introduction to an influential Roman senator turns things for her. Aquila is making his way as a tent maker and leather craftsman. As a Jewish man, he is not to be swayed by Roman citizen, Priscilla. However, he is taken with her and the story ensues.

I love how the author brings a small piece of Bible history alive with easy-to-relate-to characters.
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DAUGHTER OF ROME is a beautiful story of Priscilla and Aquila, how they met, how they learned to love, forgive and to grow in God’s grace. It’s about their ministry in Ancient Rome and Corinth. How they were forced to leave Rome just when everything was going so well. But God had other plans. Plans to grow their ministry with Paul in Corinth and beyond. It’s a story of how heartbreak and loss can be turned into blessings by God. A story of how God provides for those with a willing heart. There are so many beautiful messages in this book, I highly recommend it. 

Thank you netgalley and the publisher for the ebook to review. All thoughts expressed here are my own.
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When you find an author that shares her talent and gift of writing you don’t want the story to end. “Daughter of Rome,” by Tessa Afshar is the story of Aquila, Priscilla, Paul, Rufus and God’s plan to transform the early church. Priscilla, the daughter of a Roman general meets a Jewish immigrant, Aquila. Their courtship is followed by murder and betrayal. They work to build a community of believers while a runaway boy and a foe complicate their lives.
There are many lessons in the book, one is that we should all be like Priscilla. She never gave up when they were forced from their home. The determination, forgiveness, mercy, love, willing to put aside those who wronged her, to take in those that are lost who do not have a relationship with Jesus. To literally be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Tessa has done it again!!! “Daughter of Rome,” will leave you looking for more. Jesus uses the struggles in our own lives to make something beautiful.
I received this book free from the author and her publisher in order to provide an honest review. 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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Tessa Afsher is a superb writer and has easily become a favourite!
I love how she just brings the characters and the setting to life! Everything develops organically and the reader feels completely immersed, growing, and learning alongside the characters. That last page is deeply wanted and dreaded.
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3.5/5 
I've never read a Biblical Fiction book about the lives of Priscilla and Aquila.                        To be honest, I was a little skeptical about reading it because both Bible charcaters didn't seem ''interesting enough'' to read a book about. 

But as always, I was wrong . Even though there were some things I thought a little unnecessary to include, it did spark my interest in that Bible story, and with no doubt, I will go read it as soon as I'm finished with the book. 

At the beginning of the story, we see young Priscila taking bad choices, living in the midst of a corrupt and pagan society that didn't fear God. Tessa did an amazing job painting the scents and scenery in the story, that for a second I thought I was in Rome. The way she described their traditional dishes, the clothing, the ''glory'' of the Roman empire, enveloping you into their culture, making you another character in the story. I loved that. You had a great sense of where you were, and you could picture every place in your brain and walk the path to the synagogue and the main market in a whiff. 

Aquila wasn't my favorite character at first, but as the story progressed he did start to melt my frozen heart. It's not easy to shove everything you were taught to believe in, what the Torah told you, and start walking the path of Jesus in a divided city filled with pagan gods and immorality. Yet he did it. I like the character growth he had throughout the story. It was very inspiring and it made me realize sometimes we too have prejudices and horrible things in our hearts that make us no better than the ''worst'' sinner. 

Ok, the only aspect I was a little *eek* about was the romance. For my taste, it was a little too much. Too graphic? Yet it was YA. I do understand why the author decided to give that aspect more detail than usual, yet I feel I didn't have to actually read that much to understand it. It is pg-13 but I would not recommend for young teens or even adults that prefer to stay away from overly descriptive romance scenes.

But, I also feel that if you want to read the book anyway (because the story itself is gorgeous) you can definitely skip those pages without missing any vital information. I think they are very easy to spot, but if you would like the exact page numbers, let me know and I'll dm you:)

But, yeah, It was a beautiful story. The side characters were also amazing. I loved Mary so much, I wish I would become that wise and loving in my old age.

You could ''feel''  the love of Jesus in those who were his true followers, and it did challenge me to grow in my faith. To be as selfless, caring, loving, and devote as Priscilla. To be honest, wise, thoughtful, and fearful as Mary. And to put God first in everything and every day of my life.
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First Initial Thoughts

Priscilla is the daughter of a deceased Roman general. She is now under the care of her brother but her brother does not treat her like a sister in a wealthy home. Recently she has been going to the synagogue and is intrigued by the information she learns about God. There she meets a few people and become fast friends. And through those friends, she meets Aquila. I liked Priscilla but felt that she was holding herself back at first. You could tell that she wanted to do more with her life but let her past decisions hold her back. 

Aquila is an older man (in that era 30 is considered old) and owns and operates a leather making business with his uncle, Both of them and their close friends are Christians. Aquila and his friends helped Priscilla learn more about Christ and what he can do for her life. This is also when their relationship started to blossom. 

I also noted that just within the first few chapters there are a lot of characters in this book! It was hard to keep up at first but as the story went on it got a little easier placing everyone. 

Setting

This book takes you many places from Rome to Corinth and the many neighborhoods within those cites. It was interesting to learn all the neighborhoods in Rome. It was interesting to note that the wealthy neighborhoods were more on the outskirts of town where they could occupy more land. The most impoverished parts which were more towards the inner city (where the colosseum and other major sites are located today).

Final Thoughts

Priscilla and Aquila are actual historical figures in history. Through historical records, we know that they met Paul and helped him escape peril. However, we never really knew their backstory as to how they met, got married, etc. I loved that Tessa covered this part. Half of the book I felt was dedicated to them falling in love and adapting to married life. What I really appreciated Tessa writing is about the daily life of being married. When the “honeymoon phase” is over and daily life kicks in. All married couples go through this phase and sometimes lose sight of taking care of each other during busy and difficult times. 

Into the book, Priscilla and Aquila meet and adopt a little boy named Marcus. I absolutely adored him. I felt so sad for him when I learned of his backstory. I even found it more endearing that Priscilla and Aquila wanted to help him heal from his past. No further spoilers! 

Tessa spent a lot of time researching this book and including as much accurate information as she could. She did state in the Author note that in the Bible that after some years after Christ died Emperor Claudius expelled all Jews.  It is unclear if that meant ALL Jews or non-Roman citizen Jews. So she went with Non-Roman Citizen Jews. Real historical figures were included as well in this story including Senator Pudens, the Emperor, Paul, Rufus, and many more. 

What really struck me in this book is the symbolism of forgiveness especially towards woman. I won’t give too much away but I liked that it emphasized that we are more than our transgressions and sins we had in our past. And once we accept Christ in our lives, we are forgiven.
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She had been born a daughter of Rome. But she had become the daughter of the Most High God. Now, home was where he led. Home was the arm of her loved ones, the company of her family, and the world that spread before her,desperate to be conquered by Love.

A biblical historical fiction on Priscilla and Aquila of the New Testament. As a couple they led many to Christ and saved the life of Paul. I have to first say that this was well done. It was true to the scriptures and context of Rome and the birth of Christianity. It showed the difficulty of living as a Christian and the faith that it took to be a Christian.

Priscilla is a daughter of a Roman warrior. She has poise but her half brother after the death of her father has oppressed her in many ways. She is left at the mercy of her brother. When she finds herself in "bad" situation, she is without any choice. Her actions bring her to despair and to the Jewish synagogue where she meets Rufus and his wife. Rufus' father was Simon, the man who famously carried the cross of Jesus. It is this friendship that led her to know God and the love of God. In meeting Aquila a practicing Jewish man who has his own insecurities, they fall in love but their love is tested has Aquila has his own prejudices that he must overcome.

Once these prejudices are dealt with and Aquila is freed from them, he loves Priscilla with his heart. She too must be freed from her past to love freely as well. It is this freedom that eventually leads them to Paul and together they find peace in their circumstances.

As you read their account, you too will be challenged in faith and see faith anew. I highly recommend.

A Special Thank you to Tyndale House Publishers and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest revie
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A well-researched, immersive read about the early church, filled forgiveness and new beginnings. 



Priscillia is a Roman citizen, who from outward appearances seems to live a life of ease, but her life is more difficult than it appears, and she harbors a secret that weighs on her soul. 



Aquila is a leather worker along his uncle, not always a tradesman he forsook much to follow Christ. Jewish by heritage he is taken with Priscilla and her kindness to others.



A compelling and poignant read, that shows the early church and the lives changed by Christ. I loved how this book did an excellent job of showing how Christianity really shook up the culture, making enemies family in Christ. Well researched, this book skillfully navigates life in Rome and Corinth, and how it may have been experienced differently by different members of society. 



I loved how this book shows love in more than just the first blush of romantic love, but also the enduring love, and the love that binds us together in Christ. 



This was a very satisfying read, with many threads finding their home throughout. One of my favorite characters was Marcus, who brought spunk, hope, and wisdom along with him. I also loved how Priscilla and Aquila had many true, supportive friends that became family to them, which I strongly related to as I have some Christian friends that are closer than family because of our shared faith. I also loved seeing Theo again, still hoping he'll get his own story--Pretty please? A well layered read, with excellent character development, strong well focused themes of faith that reached deep. Highly recommend!



I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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This is the most recent of Tessa Afshar's books, her eight one I believe. She chooses less prominent biblical characters to explore stories of, and this book is written around Aquila and Priscilla, the couple who gave shelter to the Apostle Paul at some point. There is so little known about this couple, thus this book takes great liberties with the story. I enjoyed the story though, imagining what this couples' life may have been like, the fears and trials they may have encountered.

     Priscilla is portrayed as a young woman who's father had died, leaving her in the care of her wealthy, though selfish brother who left her to live as a pauper in his illustrious home. She had made friends with Christians Jews and through them met Aquila, who had recently been disinherited by his father because of his belief in Jesus. Her unfailing love and care of those around her -- even those who wished her harm -- is an image of the love of Christ we ought to portray.

     I wish we knew more about Aquila and Priscilla--theirs would be a tale to behold. We know that they were Christians, and would possibly have been persecuted in some manner because of it. We know that they were tent makers. And we know that they were friends of Paul the Apostle, who gave them credit for strengthening the Christians around them. They seem to be strong, devout followers of Jesus. We today miss something by the ease of our lives. We don't have to chose life or Christ, we get both.

     This book was interesting, as it gave a potential glance into the lives of the early Christians. It is a novel of sterner stuff than most, but remains one just the same. The relationship of Aquila and Priscilla is a dominant theme, with the lessons of love and forgiveness towards everyone to be gleaned around it. 



 I received a copy of this book from NETGALLEY, and was not required to write a positive review.
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Biblical fiction is my most favorite genere ever! I'm so glad I came across these wonderful authors that have the ability to bring these characters to life.  I truly appreciate stories like these and I enjoy being transported back to the Biblical times. 
Afshar brings us another delightful story about what life might've been like for Pricilla and Aquila who lived in Rome.  
Pricilla is a lot like me who wears her heart on her sleeve and has compassion for others. I think this is what I loved best about her. . 
Afshar also shows us that God can use anyone to do His work no matter what station you are from life.
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This is Priscilla's story told by a master storyteller...Give yourself the gift of savoring this novel.  You will not be disappointed.  Five stars!
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An interesting look at the New Testament story about Priscilla and Aquilla. As with all of Tessa Afshar's book, this one also brings to life the Biblical times in a fresh and unique way. This may be my new favorite by her. I loved it that much.
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I forget how much I enjoy Tessa’s writing. She does an amazing job of bringing Biblical characters to life. I have read about Priscilla and Aquila in the Bible and seen other books based on their story but haven’t really paid a lot of attention.
Theirs is a powerful love and story. I loved watching their journey to the cross and getting to know Jesus.
I appreciated the shame Priscilla felt because of her past secret and I loved her friend’s response to it. I have been privileged in my life to have other believers embrace me and see me as the new creation Jesus has created me to be, just like Priscilla.
If you like Biblical fiction you are sure to enjoy Tessa’s newest release.

A copy of this book was given to me through Netgalley.com. All opinions are my own.
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The story of Priscilla begins with her in the most unlikely of places. The author starts her life not as an influential member of the early church but as a woman who had made mistakes and was seeking redemption. I loved Priscilla’s character. She was humble, generous and loving. 

Tessa Afshar did a great job showing how we can help our brethren in simple ways—even when we ourselves don’t have a lot. She also shows how the things we do for others which we sometimes undervalue can be treasured in the eyes of the ones on whom they were bestowed.

Know God—The relationship between several characters and their Heavenly Father bloomed on the pages of this book. This happened in various ways and over varied periods of time but they all had one thing in common: the study of God’s Word. While many of the characters were unable to study the Word for themselves, they showed up for the teaching and made themselves available to learn from those who had the knowledge to impart.

Know yourself—we spent a lot of time walking around with the main characters Priscilla and Aquila who were like the two opposing facets of human character. One saw themselves as beneath the esteem of others and the other occasionally looked down on the other person for their supposed shortcomings.

Both characters had to come to the realization that who they are according to the standards of the world was not who they were according to their identity in Christ.

Run your race—Priscilla and Aquila had a series of hard things happen in their lives. But, like us, they had to learn that their trials are easier to bear when we rely on God. They also highlighted the lesson that sometimes when we think God has deserted us, that’s when He has drawn closest to us and is directing our path.

I received an advanced reader’s copy from the publishers through JustRead Tours and NetGalley; a positive review was not required.
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"Daughter of Rome" is a Christian romance set in Rome and Corinth around 50 AD. Not a lot is said about Priscilla and Aquila in the Bible, so she added some informed speculation and pure fiction to fill out the story. She also included their working with Paul during his stay in Corinth. In a way, I felt like the story covered too much time (sometimes skipping forward by months) because the author sometimes slipped into telling instead of showing. As in, things were going well, but time passed and now they're not because these new emotions got in the way and needed to be worked through. But it was still an enjoyable story.

The characters acted realistically, were likable, and grew as people. Historical and cultural details were woven into the story. The Christian element was their evangelism efforts and the need for several characters to truly accept forgiveness for past sins. There were (married) sex scenes, but they were emotionally rather than physically focused when described. Priscilla felt shame about abandoning herself to her husband, and this was an issue they had to deal with. There was no bad language. Overall, I recommend this enjoyable novel.
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Tessa Afshar brings first century Rome, and the story of Priscilla and Aquila to life in her fiction re-telling of their story in Acts 18. 

Her ability to bring the sights and sounds of Rome alive through story is one of the reasons I love biblical fiction,
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Daughter of Rome is an intriguing account of what the lives of Priscilla and Aquila could have been like. I was very interested in seeing the research that the author did to determine what type of environment they likely grew up in based on what we know from Scripture.

Aquila experienced firsthand the consequences of choosing to follow Yeshua. Not willing to deny his faith, he was disowned and lost his earthly inheritance.

Despite having been treated abominably by her brother, Priscilla treated others with kindness and compassion. One of my favorite moments in the story was when Marcus, a young boy Priscilla and Aquila took in, was helping minister to a woman who had come to them in terrible condition. When Priscilla questioned him about where he had learned to take care of someone like that, he replied "Don't you know? I learned from you."

I especially loved the way Priscilla was always caring for those in need, even at great cost to herself. She was constantly taking in "strays" and sharing all she had with them.

Another part I really enjoyed was when Aquila was getting ready for their wedding. He was so sweetly funny as he stressed over details and was so absent-minded!

There were many spiritual lessons learned along the way. Aquila had to learn to set aside his pride several different times. Priscilla learned forgiveness - for herself and for her enemies. Salvation was boldly proclaimed.

If you enjoy Biblical fiction, you are bound to enjoy Daughter of Rome.
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One of my favourite things about biblical fiction is the way it can take characters of whom little is known beyond their names and give them flesh, blood, and historical context. Daughter of Rome does all that and more for Priscilla and Aquila, the husband and wife who are mentioned several times in the New Testament as Paul’s co-workers in Christ Jesus.

When they first meet, both Priscilla and Aquila know what it is to feel unwanted and to feel the weight of shame, albeit for different reasons. Their romance unfolds alongside their growing understanding of what the work of Christ on the cross means for both Jew and Gentile, and although the story isn’t able to cover this topic to its fullest extent, it was good to be reminded what a period of confusion and adjustment this would have been, particularly for Jews who believed that Yeshua was the prophesied Messiah.

Priscilla and Aquila’s personal experiences with grace, forgiveness, and compassion stand them in good stead as they are eventually forced to leave Rome and start over, constantly needing to set aside their own wills and desires and submit to God’s will for their present circumstances—which involves sheltering both runaways and enemies in the course of their ministry in Corinth. I was particularly taken by the plight of the young boy, Marcus, who comes into their care, and another broken young woman who I won’t name for spoiler purposes.

Priscilla and Aquila’s story is one that will resonate with a powerful reminder of what God can work both in and through us when we yield our lives to His mercy and grace.
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In her eighth novel, Biblical fiction author Tessa Afshar gives us a fascinating look at two of the many new Christians Paul spoke of in his letters. Not much is known of Priscilla and Aquila: we know they were a couple, probably married; that Aquila was a Jewish man from a place called Pontus; that they were tentmakers who’d been forced to leave Rome due to an edict from Caesar; they saved Paul’s life at one point; and that they traveled with him from Corinth to Ephesus. It’s not much, but I’ve seen writers do a lot with far less. In Daughter of Rome, Afshar examines some possibilities, including the idea that Priscilla was possibly a Roman citizen, and takes us right to the heart of first century Rome.

But first, readers must get past the prologue. It isn’t a sweet entry into the story. I found it shocking, to be honest, but the realist in me supposes that the situation it contains probably did happen “in those days” as, to use another well-known phrase, there really is “nothing new under the sun.” All I can say is, read this scene and move on. It’s actually important to the story and Afshar refers to it at the end of the book. 

Speaking of the end, I’m not a fan of including excerpts for previous novels at the end of new novels. It gives me a false sense of how long the main story is going to last. Thinking I still had a good number of pages to go, I was stunned to abruptly find myself at the end of Daughter of Rome. I felt that the story wasn’t complete, that there was so much more that could’ve been written. But we don’t know what really happened to Priscilla and Aquila. But maybe the ending is just perfect the way it is, and I just can’t immediately see it. 

One thing I can see, however, is that Tessa Afshar has written a book that is subtly connected to her previous title but truly stands on its own merits. I read Thief of Corinth – I reviewed it – but I don’t remember much about it. In the pages after the ending, the excerpt is from that very title and contains mention of a young man named Theo. And, as I read, I realized that it was the same Theo that’s in this book. Had I been confused about him while reading? Had I felt as though some of his story was missing? Not at all. There was absolutely nothing to say, “You must read and remember Thief of Corinth before you read Daughter of Rome.” I appreciate that, and it means that if you’ve never read a single Tessa Afshar book in your past you can come to her freely and become a new fan of her work. 

Four point five stars – only because I was initially thrown by the ending.

Disclaimer: Although I received a copy of this book courtesy of the author and the publisher, the words and opinions below are my own.
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Have you ever wondered what day-to-day life was like for the early Christian church? What it truly meant to become a follower of The Way in the initial years after Jesus’ resurrection? This is where Biblical fiction, when done well, can seek to take readers into the ancient world alongside the historical figures of old with their customs and etiquette, thereby facilitating a greater understanding of Scripture. Granted, this is no easy task, and although Biblical fiction is one of my favorite genres, there are only a few authors whose work I trust to remain true to God’s Word without adding to or taking away from it. One of these authors is Tessa Afshar. 

Afshar’s latest work, “Daughter of Rome,” explores the lives of Aquila and Priscilla, the enigmatic New Testament couple whom the apostle Paul described as “my fellow workers in Christ Jesus” (Romans 16:3). The Bible mentions them six times, and their faith and influence are apparent, but their backstory and the details of their lives are not given. Implementing historical research and drawing from established facts about this period in time, Afshar ignites renewed interest in this husband and wife gospel team by creating a narrative that imagines what their individual lives may have been like before transitioning into their romance and eventual ministry. The beauty of this lies in demonstrating that they are real people with real flaws; as is evidenced over and over again in the Bible, God chooses to work through people who are broken and imperfect. 

Priscilla and Aquila’s story diverges somewhat from Afshar’s usual style, effecting a deeper and more somber tone that makes the narrative all the more poignant. Gritty, realistic circumstances impress upon readers the harshness of life in ancient Rome. There is abortion, murder, persecution, and betrayal, but all are handled with grace and sensitivity. And as Rufus tells Priscilla, “It is hard to put to words. Trouble itself can be transformed, you see, in the hands of God. Instead of a place of destruction, pain and heartache can lead to hope.” As Priscilla grows in her faith, Aquila learns spiritual maturity. Far too often we, like Aquila, judge others for being what we consider to be inferior; the marriage of Roman Priscilla and Jewish Aquila truly speaks to the unity and unconditional love that Christ brings. As we struggle with our own burdens, we forget that those around us carry encumbrances of their own. Priscilla later testifies: “I can tell you that my own dreams have been crushed more than once. But when I condemned myself, God extended forgiveness to me. When I felt broken, he gave me strength. When I thought the future held nothing but pain, he gave me joy. Those are the actions of love.”  

“Daughter of Rome” does not shy away from the vicissitudes of life, particularly Christian life, and as such it offers encouragement and inspiration. It is a story of second chances, a poignant and at times heartrending narrative, made all the more so because every reader can identify with it in some way. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24). As Aquila wisely counsels, “The only way to peace is by learning to accept, day by day, the circumstances and tests permitted by God. By the repeated laying down of our own will, and the accepting of his as it is presented in the things which happen to us.” The apostle Paul demonstrates this throughout Scripture, and his role in this novel was one of my favorites because of his witty humor. He has a remarkable attitude toward suffering, but there is also evidence of his humanity, again emphasizing that God can use anyone for His glory. The fervor of the early church is something that, in many ways, I think we need to return to; our faith is dynamic, not static, and we should never lose our joy and awe at the priceless gift of salvation offered to each of us. With Christ as our cornerstone, we can become His instruments of love and peace. Priscilla “had been born a daughter of Rome. But she had become a daughter of the Most High God.” Whose child are you?

I received a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, part 255 Guidelines, concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in advertising.
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